Get your caravan ready for spring
Get your caravan ready for your first spring trip
Getting your caravan out of its winter hibernation and ready for your first spring trip can see the whole family raring to go. But a caravan that has been standing for some time can pick up some issues that you would need to check up on. It is also important thing to do a full check on the whole caravan and not only the things that could have slipped into disrepair over the winter.
To help you prepare for the upcoming sun filed summer seasons, we have highlighted some the most important checks to make before you hit the road for that long overdue braai and beer around the campfire.
Check for any damp
After spending the winter stored up in your garage or in your yard, there is a strong possibility that there will be some form of moisture inside as well as a musty smell.
It is normally easy to fix just by airing out your caravan, but if there is evidence of moisture, it is advisable to give it a thorough check. It could be that there is a more serious problem with damp and this could lead to wood rot. If it is just general condensation and the usual moisture you should be good to go. A dehumidifier can also solve the problem quickly.
When doing a damp check, remember also to make sure that all of the seals around the windows and doors have not perished if your caravan has been standing uncovered. This could be another source of moisture entering your caravan. Finding and replacing cracked seals could also save you a ton of frustration if you happen to get caught in the rain.
Check the tyres
Tyre tread and tyre pressure are two essential checks to make here. You can check your tread depth with a tread gauge that you can get at any motor part retailer.
As you would with a car tyre, you need to check for signs of wear and tear, cracking on the tyre walls and the likes. If you are unsure about anything, your local tyre shop will be able to assist you with an assessment.
Your bearings can take quite a bit of punishment even when standing still. Carrying the load on one area for long periods of time is not how they were designed to function. This could endanger your and other road users safety. Moving the caravan forwards and backwards during its stored period is recommended. If that is not done, perhaps have a pro look at it before heading out on your trip.
There is also quite a debate about rotating and balancing caravan tyres. Some maintain that it need not be done while other say it is essential. Why take a chance I say. Have them checked before the trip, better safe than sorry
Prepare the water system
You would probably have drained the water tanks and pipe system before locking up for the winter so you would need to check that all is functioning as it should.
After filling the tanks, run the system to check the pressure, follow the pipes for any leaks and check the heating of the water if you have a dedicated water heater.
Even if your tank was dry during the off season, it is still very important to sterilize the water in the tank. The slightest bit of moisture in the system can effect the quality of your water.
Check out your water filters as a last stop in the water system. They also have the ability to clog and store bacteria. So take the time to replace the filters for a fresher tasting and safer water supply.
Reconnect the power
A good storage practice is to disconnect the battery during the off period.
Before hooking up the battery for the first time for your first spring trip, check out the cables and and contact points of the electrical system. make sure no corrosion has taken place and that there are no loose connections. You can then charge the battery and connect it. Run your lights and pumps to see if everything is working like it should be.
A good tip is to keep your battery charged through the winter as this will keep it in proper working order and reduce the chance of having to replace it before your first camp. This will help you get your caravan ready for spring
Safety and security
South Africa is a beautiful country but we all know what elements could be hiding around the next corner. So your safety is high priority.
Check that all of your locks and alarms are in working order. Have a look at the exterior of your caravan to check for any weak points that can be used to gain access. If you are planning to leave your caravan for a while and drive to some attractions, a hitch lock is advisable. This will make sure the caravan cannot be hitched when you away.
For safety equipment, you will need to check the fire extinguisher, smoke detectors, first aid kit and the likes. It is also a good idea to make a note of the local emergency numbers in the area that you would be visiting.
We tend to make a lot of fires here in sunny South Africa so a fire blanket is essential.
Making sure that your road lights are working properly is essential to your safety and for other road users.
Before connecting up your jack, inspect the wires and pins for any corrosion or lose wires and fittings. Once that is done you can connect your plug and be careful to check that it fits snugly and securely.
Once it’s connected, have a look to see if all bulbs are working and that they are bright enough for daytime travel. When a caravan stands in the sun during storage it tends to dull the lenses which makes it extremely difficult to see. Also check your lenses for any signs of cracks that could let in water if it rains. We all know that water and electricity do not mix at all.
Give it a good spring clean.
There is nothing more welcoming than a clean caravan after a day out when you are camping. Why not give your caravan a good scrub and polish to make it spic and span? This also gives you the extra opportunity to be able to spot any other problems. You will find a few that you have missed.
Get a professional service
It would never hurt to go the extra mile to have your caravan checked out by a professional. They know exactly what to look for if the caravan has been standing for a while. It will give you extra peace of mind that you will arrive safely at your first destination of the season. Then you can just sit back and relax at the fire, with a beer or glass of wine of course.
Of course your would never have to store your caravan if you were renting it out on our caravan hire platform for a pretty penny, just saying :). If your caravan is in use while making you some money it may not be so difficult to get your caravan ready for spring.