Caravan Maintenance Tips
Maintaining a caravan is easy with these simple tips. Caravans are not usually used all year round. That doesn’t mean regular maintenance should be ignored Seals, electrics, tyres and plumbing are among the many things that can and do cause problems if not properly maintained.
We go over some of the most important steps for maintaining a caravan and make sure it’s ready to hit the road for your next adventure.
Tyres and brakes:
Keeping the correct tyre pressure is hugely important. Check the pressure regularly as a tyre with weight on it will deflate slowly over time. To avoid flat spots, they’ll need to be rotated every few weeks. Alternatively, keeping a caravan raised on stands helps to prevent the above. Make sure that you follow the recommended pressure as per the owner’s manual when inflating tyres. Wheel nuts can come loose over time so make sure to check them too.
Test the caravan’s handbrake regularly. These are prone to rust and corrosion. Check for signs of perishing and cracks. It should engage and release smoothly and properly – apply and release three times consecutively to be sure.
Rust and Mould:
This category in maintaining a caravan is a big one – both in comfort and health. Bacteria in vents and materials can cause allergies like hay fever. Dirt and grime can build up faster than most people realise. Make sure to clear out vents and door and window seals as often as possible. Damage to rubber seals can lead to water leaks and pests entering. Simply use a soft brush or scraper with a little soapy water.
When not in use for long periods of time, make sure your fridge is unplugged with the doors left open to allow venting.
Check under the caravan too. Exposed metal work from stone chips should be sealed with touchup paint as rust can easily take hole. Make sure to be extra fussy if you’ve been travelling on or near sandy, coastal locations. Remember, paint isn’t just for looks, it also protects metalwork.
Water and Plumbing:
There’s almost nothing worse than finding stale water when you set off for another caravan adventure. When performing maintenance on a caravan, the water tanks are a must. Allow them to drain properly and flush with clean water. This will remove any old water in the plumbing too. Avoid using harsh detergents in drinking water tanks, you could be tasting it for weeks!
Gas lines are extremely important in maintaining a caravan. Check for any leaks by splashing soapy water on connections. If bubbles form, you have leaks and a professional should be consulted.
Modern caravan batteries are pretty high-tech. Never let your battery’s charge dip below 50% as ‘battery memory’ can prevent it from ever reaching 100% charge again. To maintain a caravan’s battery, use a battery tender when not in use. These plug into the mains and keep the battery charged. They are available from most hardware stores.
Always check your lights before going away. Lights are an important step in maintaining a caravan. Safety comes into play too. When hooked up to a towing vehicle, have a friend check the turn signals, brake lights and reverse lights. Check the interior lights, outlets and appliances too. It’s not much fun arriving hungry in the dark to an unfamiliar caravan park.
Not every caravan owner has access to a large covered and locked carport or garage. But there are alternatives. Weather, especially in Australia, can be pretty punishing – to people and caravans alike. Sun exposure can perish and crack rubber seals, allowing in rain and, in turn mould. Sun can also fade paint and fray electrical wiring sheaths and damage interior materials. Purchasing a caravan cover is a simple solution. Naturally, they can be big and cumbersome but offer protection from the elements.
Avoid leaving any valuables inside and install an alarm system. Never give thieves the chance to ruin your holiday. A security screen door is another excellent option, especially as a deterrent. A wheel lock clamp that secures the tow latch is also recommended. Furthermore, GPS tracking is becoming a lot cheaper as technology develops. These are about the size of a matchbox and can monitor a caravan’s location via a smartphone.
This is a simple one. Air out your caravan from time to time. Maintaining a caravan also includes the air inside. If you’ve locked all the doors and windows and put a cover over, remember to let your caravan breathe. This just means opening up the doors and windows for a few hours every couple of weeks. Fresh air reduces mould and prevents bad smells.
The bottom line:
Maintaining a caravan shouldn’t be a chore. You’ll thank yourself for taking these steps the next time you get out on the open road and explore one of Australia’s many amazing locations. Remember, a stitch in time saves nine.
Actually getting into a caravan could be your first step. Check out our caravan loan calculator to get started.