If you are intending to head north for the winter, ensure your caravan / camper and tow vehicle are ready:
- Are your tyres up to the task
A favourite warning of ours. Your caravan tyres should be replaced once over 6 years, regardless of wear.
But what about your tow vehicle. Many reserve their tug mainly for trips away. This means your car tyres may have plenty of tread left but are also over 6 years. After this age they can become hardened and start to show cracks etc. Thus they can susceptible to blowout or skidding in the wet. Refer to our info on tyres at:
- Check your gas appliances are in good working order
Have you checked your gas bottles for being in date and connections for any leaks. Are all appliances turning on and working as expected – These include stovetop burners, oven, fridge, hot water and any inbuilt BBQ.
- Are all lights and connections to vehicle operating correctly
An obvious piece of advice however it is frustrating to be hitched up ready to go and the indicators or brake lights do not come on as they should. Many pop in to us on the way to quickly fix a problem but we may not be able to do help due to other demands or there is a more serious failure. Before heading off you are welcome not pop into our site and do a free self test on the tow vehicle using the testing boards we have set up.
- If your van has been sitting for some time are your brakes operating correctly.
During those months off it can be easy to knock the setting on the brake controller. Again, we may not be available to fix a problem quickly and take you for a test drive if popping in on the way out of town. Ideally it would be best to do a simple test drive around the block well before hand. This may not always be practical but a good test would be to hook up the connections (No need to fully hitch up) and check that the controller is activated as expected and the lights are all working.
- Is your battery charged up
Caravan batteries should be trickle fed constantly, either from a solar panel or electrical connection if under cover. A very flat battery may not recover or would need quite some time connected to a quality charger to reach full charge.
- Are you within your weight restrictions
Authorities are now regularly checking caravanners and becoming less tolerant (ie no longer issuing warnings) on breaches. Make sure you do not exceed your tow vehicle’s GVM and ball weight limits (Refer to your vehicle manual) and the caravan is within its ATM and GVM (as indicated on its compliance plate). You can go to a public weigh bridge (one is directly opposite us in Colchester Rd Kilsyth) or use the self serve weigh bridges now available (eg BP on Eastlink outbound)
For general information on good preparation checkout a range of topics on our blog site: