Servicing Your Caravan

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Servicing Your Caravan

Every caravan should be regularly serviced - whether it’s brand new or getting into its old age, you can easily tell the difference between a caravan which has been looked after, and one that hasn’t. Servicing doesn’t need to be particularly time consuming or expensive but gives you an opportunity to make sure everything onboard is up together and working correctly. We are going to take a look at some of the easy ways to employ an effective servicing schedule, and some of the most important factors to consider when taking on the service yourself.

 

DIY or Service Centre?

 

One of the first questions you will have to answer is who is going to do the service. Of course, we don’t mean asking the son-in-law to come and lend a hand, but instead, are you going to take your caravan to a service centre?

Servicing a caravan yourself is obviously a cheaper option, and if you ask us at Autoleisure we believe it is a great opportunity for you to ‘get to know’ your caravan. A full service will have you looking at all aspects of your caravan, inside and out. Now of course this doesn’t sound too appealing to some people – especially when you mention the caravan waste side of servicing. We totally understand the appeal of getting a professional service centre to do the job!

But assuming you fancy yourself a go at completing the service yourself, lets take a look at what you’ll be up against.

Cleaning

Before You Begin

 

Before you start the service, it is important to consider a few things. One of the most important things being the state of warranty. If you caravan is no more than a few years old, it will mostly likely still have a warranty. If this is the case, we would recommend getting your caravan professionally serviced in order to preserve the warranty – or at the very least you must recognise that if you complete the service yourself you will risk voiding the warranty you have!

Aside from this it is good to have at least some DIY knowledge, or experience. There aren’t too many difficult servicing elements, so if you’re a complete newbie you’ll most likely get along just fine… but just in case, don’t say we didn’t warn you!

 

Hitch/Coupling Head

 

Starting at the front of the caravan, take a look at your caravan coupling head. The coupling head is what transfers the load from your caravan to your vehicle, and the pulling force from your vehicle to the caravan. There is a lot of weight transferred through the coupling head, but due to this they are often built very well – so a good service every now and then should mean they will last for years!

During the service you should clean dirt and debris from the head itself and remove any old grease. Check the lock and release mechanism is working correctly, and is free – if it is stiff, try lubricating the moving areas. You may also have a stabiliser such as the Winterhoff WS 3000kg Stabiliser on your coupling head. These should also be serviced, clean the friction pads and remove any grease or grime. If there is still sufficient depth left on the pads they can be reused rather than being replaced.

 

Gas, Battery, & Water Systems

 

Servicing the gas, battery and water systems onboard your caravan is vital for both the safety and useability of your caravan. Keeping these systems in good condition isn’t too difficult when they are checked regularly - you might just find yourself topping up the battery every now and then, or cleaning out the water tanks. However, if left unkept you could have a much bigger job on your hands, not to mention your caravan being unsafe for use.

Gas systems are something that should be kept in top condition in all caravans, faults in them can present serious risk to health. For a full service it is recommended you seek out a professional testing company. They will complete pressure testing of your gas system and a full inspection. But between full services you should check gas hoses and lines for signs of wear or damage – replacing when necessary.

Batteries are usually the main power supply when you’re away camping, keeping them topped up and charged will help extend their lifespan and maintain a high level of performance. Trickle charging your caravan batteries when they are not in use for a long time keeps them charged and is a good habit to get into. Old, worn out batteries may struggle to keep their charge, so checking their voltage will help identify batteries which are coming to the end of their life.

Charger

Water system issues can become a pain if they are noticed when you’re away. So, checking them over once in a while allows you the opportunity to replace any parts which are worn. A water system service should also involve the cleaning and flushing of the caravans water systems to remove any dirt from the water tanks. Dedicated water cleaning solutions are great for getting to any of the system which you can’t reach. Your waste water tanks and system might also benefit from a clean-up and inspection – not the most flattering job, but certainly better than a broken system!

 

Brakes & Bearings

 

The brakes and bearings of your caravan are probably what springs to mind when someone mentions the word ‘service’, and that’s because they are hugely important. Without your caravan bearings you’re going nowhere, but without your brakes once you get going, you’ll never stop!

Servicing the brakes of your caravan is a rather straightforward job, you need to be checking for wear on the brake pads or shoe and replace them if necessary. If your brake pads or shoe needs replacing it is a good idea to free up the brake callipers or brake drum components as well.

The wheel bearings of your caravan should be serviced annually. Bearings should be greased and sealed correctly. If there are any signs of wear to the bearings, they should be replaced – bearings can wear very quickly once they begin to deteriorate.

Bearings

To conclude, regularly servicing your caravan is a great way to prolong its lifespan and maximise its performance during all of your outings. While you are servicing your caravan make sure you have a look around you at all of the components and areas of your caravan – you might notice areas of your caravan which need particular attention and identifying these parts as early as possible is always most beneficial.

Of course, not all the servicing on your caravan has to be done at the same time. For example, you could service one area of your caravan weeks before another, as long as you manage to get round to every part within a reasonable period of time you wont notice a difference.