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Caravan Checks & Servicing

After a long, cold winter in storage it's time to get the 'van out and prepare it for the coming season. Whether it's a caravan, motorhome or campervan you should check each system to make sure it's in tip top condition.

Clean and Reconnect the Water System

When putting your Caravan in storage at the end of the last season hopefully you remembered to drain the system, disconnect all pipes and left the taps open. This prevents trapped water from freezing, expanding and cracking the pipes. Follow the steps to prepare your system.

  1. Test the system
    Reconnect all pipes, fill the tank with water and run it through. Check for leaks.
  2. Sterilise the system
    Drain the water from the tank and pipes and refill with a solution of Puriclean. Leave this to work for up-to 12 hours before flushing the system with fresh water.
  3. Change the filter
    Remove the old water filter and replace with a fresh one. This should last you through the season.

If at any point you find you have leaks, drain the system and replace any leaky pipes and cracked joints before refilling the system to check it again.

Reconnecting the Battery

When put in storage your battery should have been removed from your 'van and charged for a day every few weeks to keep it healthy. If so your battery should be ready to be reconnected.

Ensure your connection are the right way round when reconnecting your battery
  1. Clean the contacts
    Clean the caravan leads and battery terminals with contact cleaner
  2. Reconnect the battery
    Be sure to get the connections the right way round
  3. Test the system
    Check the system by testing the interior lights and water pump.

Battery won't hold a charge
If your battery has not been charged periodically you may need to leave it charging for several days. It is best to use a battery charger and not your caravan chargin system as this won't charge it for long enough.

If you battery has been allowed to go completely flat it may not hold a charge at all and will need replacing.

Hitch and Brake Checks

Grease the hitch, handbrake and brake override

With proper planning the organised amongst you will have covered the hitch and left your brakes off to prevent them seizing over winter.

  1. Remove the hitch cover
  2. Grease the hitch, hand brake and brake override.

Unfortunately if your brakes have seized you should seek professional help. We recommend Caravan Service Ltd

Wheel & Tyres

If you have a caravan you may have removed the road wheels to store them out of sunlight and fitted Winter Wheels for added security. Before refitting check the tyre tread and condition. The same checks apply to motorhomes.

Check tyre treads and side walls as well as pressure
  1. Check Tread Depth
    Check the tread depth is at least 1.6mm across the central 75% of the section all round the tyre.
  2. Splits and Cracks
    Check side walls and treads for splits and cracks. Remember to check between the treads.
  3. Refit the Wheels
    Jack up the 'van, remove the winter wheels and refit the road wheels. Tighten wheel nuts to manufacturers settings and recheck them after 20 - 40 miles.
  4. Check Tyre Pressures
    Check the pressures in each tyre and inflate if needed.

If you’re unsure of any checks you can always take the wheels to your local garage or tyre centre to check for you. Tyre pressure can usually be found in your caravan's handbook.

Checking the Road Lights

Most problems with caravan road lights are caused by a bad earth in the 12N plug (the black one). The first thing to do is a visual check of the plug.

Check the plug and lead are in good repair before replacing bulbs
  1. Check the Plug
    Inspect the plug for cracks in the housing and pins that are not broken or corroded.
  2. Check the bulbs
    Connect the caravan to the car and get someone to help you check each light is working
  3. Lenses and Markers
    Go round your 'van and check for cracks and missing screws in lenses and marker lights.

When connected to your car if you get flickering when you have 2 lights on at the same time (e.g. side lights and indicators) this is a sign of earthing problems in the plug. Simply replacing the 12N plug is usually the easiest solution.

Motorhome Light Checks
The same checks for bulbs and broken lenses should be carried out on motorhomes and campervans.

Gas System Checks

Caravan and Motorhome gas systems should be checked yearly by a qualified engineer as part of your regular service schedule.

When preparing for the season you should also check the rubber hose in your gas bottle box for splits or cracks and change it every 2 years regardless of condition as they degrade over time.

Recommended Services

If you would like to have more your ‘van more comprehensively checked or want a professional service done, and live in the Manchester, Cheshire, Lancashire area, we recommend 1st Call Caravans. They offer a full annual inspection and test of your caravan or motorhomes with all work fully guaranteed.

A full caravan service includes;

  1. Bodywork and Interior
  2. Water System Check
  3. Gas System and Appliance Check
  4. Electrical System
  5. Chassis and Running Gear

For a full breakdown of the services offered by 1st Call Caravans follow the link for Caravan Servicing.

For details of caravan servicing in your area call 01252 318251 for approved workshops.

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