With the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions on travel due to be lifted only just around the corner, it's important to know what needs to be checked on your caravan before taking to the road and why...
Most responsible caravaners will have their caravan serviced at least once a year. Usually before a big trip. But what differences are there when your caravan hasn't been used for an extended period of time such as now, while we're not being allowed to use our homes away from home?
For most of us, it usually consists of checking the tyre pressures, making sure the batteries are full, topping up the water tanks and giving the van a wash. Then test the fridge works, fill the gas bottles and go.
Well here's a few things you might like to have checked just to make sure you're actually ready to go.
Tyres: Tyres can develop issues by just sitting there doing nothing. That's right. You can have problems from lack of use that can cause far more detrimental problems than just excessive tyre wear.
You need to look for UV degredation to the rubber. Often this can be seen as small cracks or splits that occur and are often found in the side walls.
Also look for bulges in the side walls. This can occur from the load of your van being sitting in one place and a weakness in the structure of the sidewall begins to develop creating a small "balloon" in the sidewall.
Both of these issues can go un-noticed but will cause you a significant amount of damage and lost travel time if they result in a blow out. Not to mention the potential risk of injury or even death due to accident, or, you may even get injured trying to repair a flat tyre on the side of the road. So check them properly before you travel.
Gas: LPG can be a very dangerous product when it comes to caravans. Every year there are hundreds if not thousands of LPG related fires in caravans. Most of these fires could be easily avoided if correct periodical maintenance is conducted. It's one thing to check your gas cylinders, but what about the connections, the regulator and the changeover valves?
As part of your pre trip inspection, you should be looking at the condition of the pigtails. These are the small hoses that connect your gas cylinders to the gas regulator. If they're made of solid copper tube, then you don't have to much to look for, but if you have the more popular flexible pigtails with stainless steel braid, then this is what you need to check.
The braid can develop snapped threads that can perforate the pigtails' inner rubber hose liner and create a leak. Well that can be a potential disaster.
You should also consider the valve that sits at the top of your regulator to direct the gas from one cylinder or the other. Known as a changeover valve.These can develop corrosion internally and then begin to leak.
Lights & Reflectors: Just sitting around, the sun can deteriorate your light lenses and ruber bases causing fading, cracking and potential for leaks, electrical issues or stopping the correct colour of light being ommited from the lamp. Reflectors can fade and change colour from original requirements.
According to ADR 13/00 and roadworthy requirements, all lights/lamps and reflectors should only omit the colour light as prescribed in the ADR. Therefore, a faded red lamp that is starting to omit white light for example, would need to be replaced to only omit red light.
For example, this lens is faded and omitting white light from the amber portion of the lens and needs to be changed to comply with roadworthy requirements.
And this is what this lens should look like when in good condition.
Even if you don't travel at night. Your lights still require to comply with the relevant state roadworthy legislation.
There are many other things such as roof sealant, awning fittings, and almost any other item made of plastic need to be checked and inspected to be sure they have not broken down and failed over time. Even if you have'nt been using your caravan these things can still go wrong.
So before you hit the road after the lockdown, make sure you take a closer look at what you need to keep your family and other road users safe.
Our Van RV have a team of trained professionals who can assist you with all your servicing needs if you don't want to take care of it yourself.
You can either call for service in Melbourne on 1300 068 700 or follow this link to see what we do for servicing your caravan and to make an appoinement. See https://bit.ly/3fB99uV