As the winter months are getting into full swing, you start to see a long list come together of things that you need to remember to do to prepare yourself for the cold weather. We often hear of different ways that are recommended to keep your vehicle in top condition over the Christmas period, but very rarely how to take care of your caravan.
Caravan Care Tips
Caravans are a significant investment for both you and your family; they bring lots of great summer holiday memories and family fun. When winter approaches, it is likely that you will pack up your caravan for the year and stick to staying cosy in your home. It is essential that you prepare your caravan for these long, cold months to ensure that it is still in pristine condition for when you want to make use out of it again the following summer. We have devised a list of our top ten tips on how to prepare your caravan for winter.
A common issue is that after sitting out in the cold for a number of months closed, windows become tricky to prise open. Sometimes it takes a considerable amount of pressure to open windows, which could result in tearing or damage to their seals. To avoid this problem, it is recommended to add a form of window seal lubricant in advance to stop the cold weather drying out the seals and them ripping.
2. Water Systems
Replacing water pipes can be an expensive and tiresome job, so during winter, it is important to avoid contributing to split pipes. When cold weather approaches, make sure that you empty all of your caravan’s water pipes. Water that is left in piped over winter can freeze up and expand which will split your pipes.
Leaving any form of living space untouched for a long period runs the risk of infestation, whether this is from bugs or worst case, mice. It is vital to thoroughly clean your caravan before you plan to leave it over winter, remove all food and traces of crumbs. It may seem like a dull task but any small amount of food can attract visitors, so it is worth spending some time avoiding this as much as possible.
Unlike your car, it is unlikely that your caravan is going to be moved from one spot at all throughout winter, which can affect your tyres. The constant change in temperature outside can cause a strain on the one particular spot that the tyre that is taking the vehicles weights, resulting in damage. It is recommended to move your vehicle every so often to avoid the risk of cracked tyres; this doesn’t necessarily need to be a long drive, just enough to spread the pressure around the whole circumference of the wheel.
You wouldn’t leave your car left unattended full of Christmas presents in case of someone breaks in, so why run the same risk with your caravan?
Caravans are a prime target for thieves because unlike a car, stealing a caravan will gain you both a vehicle plus all of the existing furniture and objects inside. Of course, it is impossible to remove everything from inside, but possessions such as TV’s, Radios and Microwaves are recommended to be removed and stored in your home. It would also be a good idea to fit anti-theft devices to deter thieves.
Keep air ventilations uncovered over winter to stop damp and condensation resulting in mould. Furniture such as sofas and cushions should be removed, as they are the prime targets for growing mould. This is because condensation sinks in like a sponge and stops air from circulating. It is also recommended to leave bowls around the caravan to absorb condensation.
Leaving a caravan unused for a long period, like any other vehicle can cause the battery to go flat. The advantage of a caravan battery is that it can be disconnected and charged at home if needed. However, if you didn’t want to have to worry about your battery over winter, you could fully charge it before winter and then turn it off and disconnect it until you wanted to use it again.
8. Body Work
To maintain a good bodywork on your caravan, it is recommended to give the exterior a clean and wax before putting it away for winter. It also gives you a chance to see whether there is any damage or scratches to the paintwork, which if left over winter, could result in rust.
9. Caravan Cover
An essential for leaving your caravan over winter is to purchase a cover. You want to look for a cover that is breathable and weather-proof and allows air to circulate, again to avoid mould growth. You can get premium covers tailor-made to the make and model of your caravan from Specialised Covers.
10. Gas Cylinders
It is likely that you will have a gas oven in your caravan, so to be able to safely leave it unattended over winter you will need to remove the gas cylinders. Make sure that the valves on the cylinder are completely closed tightly and are stored away in a safe, ventilated gas locker.
Caravans are a big investment, which means that you want it to last for a long time. This can easily be possible through regular maintenance and upkeep using the correct methods and products. Similar to any other vehicle, the key to a long life is preparation for any conditions that it will have to go through and winter is the main cause of issues. You want to make sure that your caravan is kept in good condition, but is also safe to be left unused and unattended over a long period. If you were unsure about certain methods and the best ways to look after your caravan, it would be useful to ask your instructor during your caravan driver training.