“Bearing down” is one of the worst messages a caravaner can receive.
You have seen it all before; on the side of the road it has become an all too familiar sight. There is a jack under one side of a caravan and a wheel on the ground; the driver is looking really unhappy. The kids are playing by the road side, and there is someone on the phone trying to organise a tow truck or a mechanic to come to their assistance. Let’s agree – not a great start (or finish) to the holiday.
Arguably one of the most overlooked areas of operating a caravan – the “wheel bearing service”.
With no speedometer / odometer to measure the distance your caravan has covered we recommend that it becomes a time based service. It’s also a good opportunity to check the brakes, any associated wiring and to take a good look “underneath” to make sure all is in readiness. At Harding’s such a check consists of a 40 point comprehensive inspection of the suspension, chassis for fatigue, A-Frame coupling integrity, 12V lights, Breakaway Brake system (if fitted) etc.
The picture shows a “typical” pair of wheel bearings being greased by one of our qualified mechanics. Note the bright blue colour – we ONLY use a quality, high temperature bearing grease, AFTER the bearing has been completely cleaned and inspected. Without getting too technical, bearings can begin to fail even when the van is standing still. One or two of the small rollers that you see is constantly supporting the weight of your ENTIRE van and over time this can cause the special hardening on both the roller and the cups (not pictured) to break down – thus our recommendation for servicing at least every 24 to 36 months or every 10,000 kms (if you track your towing kilometres).
We ALWAYS recommend that the seal that keeps the grease in be replaced and that any type of hub cap or wheel cover be removed – why you ask? Well it’s a good idea that you check the bearing temperature every time you cover, say, 200 to 300 kilometres – how you ask? It’s as simple as placing the back of your hand on the end of the hub cap – if it’s too hot to keep your hand there, then it’s time for some checking to be done…