Monday, 26 March 2012

New year, new season!

It's almost April now and Spring is well and truly in the air. It's usually this time of year that proud owners bring their pride and joy out of winter hibernation. Make sure your caravan is ready for the new season after it's well deserved rest over winter...

It's most likely that your caravan has been locked up over winter so before doing anything, open the windows, doors and rooflights to let the Spring air circulate! It's probably best to take the seat cushions and any bedding out (unless you already did as part of winterisation) to let them air. Take this opportunity to ensure that your pride and joy has survived the winter - taking care to check the interior for signs of water ingress.

Try to connect your caravan up to the mains electric (if it has mains electricity) and/or place the leisure battery on a mains charger to top it up to 14 volts. Once these steps have been completed, check that all of the interior electrical fittings work. You can also take this opportunity to check the gas by connecting up a gas bottle. Bear in mind that the gas may take a few seconds to work its way through the gas pipes.

Most importantly, check the chassis and running gear. If you placed the caravan on axle stands and/or jacked it up off the ground, remove the axle stands and jacks and let the caravan sit on its wheels. Check the tyres first. Check that they are in good condition (paying particular attention to the sidewalls) and inflate them to the correct pressure. If the tyres are more than five years old, replace them before taking to the road. Check the corner steadies and jockey wheel and lubricate them as necessary. Also take a moment to check the brakes - give a tug on the handbrake to ensure that the brake cable hasn't stretched or snapped. The brakes should be applied on the third ratchet of the handbrake otherwise adjust them (see Caravan servicing page).

Leading on from this, it's advisory to book a service at your local caravan dealer. For around £150 they'll check that everything is working on your caravan and they'll maintain parts of it that you may otherwise not think to maintain. If you're a competent DIY'er then maybe you'll feel confident to perform a service yourself - see the caravan servicing page for more details.

Finally, give your caravan a good clean - it is after all Spring cleaning season! Clean inside and out to ensure that your caravan is looking beautiful and clean ready for your first trip out!

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