As the end of the caravanning season is upon us, now's the time we all start to think about putting the van into hibernation until the Spring.
Here are some tips and tricks to help you prolong the interior and exterior of your caravan. These tips have been gathered from sources that include avid caravanners and industry experts but everyone has their own preferred methods of storage and preparation. With this guide we aim to share the wealth of experience of hundreds. Prevention is better than the cure.
Think about a service
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Check the general condition of your caravan[/caption]
Now could be a good time to get your caravan serviced. The garages tend not to be too busy at this time of year and if you get any niggles sorted out now, there won't be any nasty surprises in store for you when you're ready to hit the road in 2015.
You don't want to leave anything of value in your caravan when it's resting up for the winter, there's no point making things easy for potential thieves. Take the TV, DVD player and any other removable valuables out and store them inside your house
Have a good clean
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Clean the caravan[/caption]
Now is the time for a Spring clean. Yes we know it's Autumn but you get the drift... Give the caravan a good old sprucing up inside and out. Vacuum and sweep all your floors to remove traces of any food crumbs that might attract critters. Also, make sure the cupboards and fridge are empty and leave the doors ajar to prevent a build up of odours. Most fridges have a catch for this reason.
- Top Tip: Put tea bags in your cupboards and fridge. This prevents smells from building up and will keep things smelling fresh for up to one year! Give it a go
Clean the bathroom, kitchen and fridge with either bicarb of soda or an anti-bacterial spray. This should help prevent the build up of any mould while the van is out of use.
Thoroughly clean the outside of the van. This will give you a chance to cast your eye over the whole of the exterior to see if there are any areas requiring attention. When cleaning, make sure to use agents specifically formulated for use on caravans. These are designed to be kind to the various metals used in the construction of your caravan and won't cause any damage. And be careful! Don't make silly stretches from ladders or stand on the roof. We don't want you laid up over the winter too!
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Damp and Condensation
Damp and condensation can be a real problem over the winter storage months. If damp does build up it can wreak havoc on the inside of your van. There are precautions you can take:
Drain the water system by opening taps and removing the drain plug on the outside of your caravan. Don't forget to replace the plug when it's drained down but you can leave the taps open. Drain the toilet's water tank too.
- Top Tip: Nearly everyone overlooks the fridge condensation holding tank. It can hold up to 3/4 of a litre of water, so it's no small amount. You can get to it by removing the lower of the two external grilles, it's easily spotted just below the exit point of the drain pipe.
Remove any soft furnishings, bedding, cushions etc. that it is practical to remove and store them indoors. If you can't do this, move them away from the walls where moisture can cause the most issues and put them in the middle of the van.
If you can, open the doors and windows from time to time to allow the air to circulate.
If you use a caravan cover, make sure it is waterPROOF and
breathable, thus allowing the air to circulate. If you cover your caravan with a cover that isn't both waterproof and breathable, you'll do more harm than good. Waterproof, breathable covers keep moisture out and allow any existing moisture to breathe away from your caravan. Please, if you do cover your van, make sure it's a tailored cover. Non-tailored covers have the potential to move about in a breeze and cause damage to your paintwork.
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Oil any moving parts, such as the handbrake, before laying your van up for the winter. If you can, leave the handbrake off to prevent the drums from sticking. Be sure to use wheel chocks if you do though.
It's not really great for your tyres to leave the van standing in one place all winer. Turning the wheels every six weeks or so will help, or you can remove the wheels altogether and use axle stands to prolong the life of your tyres and suspension.
Where to store your caravan
- Top Tip: Put olive oil on your toilet seat rubbers. It will keep them lubricated and stop them from sticking in the position you left the lid prior to storage
You can choose to store your caravan on your own property, or at a dedicated caravan storage facility for a small weekly fee. Having the van on your own property is certainly more convenient and cheaper but it could be an eyesore to you and your neighbours. A cover can help to disguise it a little or help it to blend in with it's surroundings. You'll want to fit a wheel lock and hitch lock too.
Please check the owner's manual that came with your caravan for any notes on storage specific to your van and check with your insurer if you're not sure which storage options they will or won't cover.