With travelling abroad off the agenda for most people this year, families are instead looking to enjoy a staycation right here in the UK. As well as rented accommodation such as apartments, cottages and hotels, one of the best ways to enjoy the abundance of amazing locations across the nation is in your caravan or motorhome.
Of course, with this comes plenty of upkeep and essential checks which are needed to be carried out on your caravan before you can hit the open road and enjoy your jollies. To make sure that you and your family are safe and sound on your staycation, we’ve put together a handy motorhome and caravan checklist.
Essential caravan checks
First of all, start with the four most important caravan checks; the brakes, lights, towbar and tyres.
Caravans and motorhomes are stationary for long periods, so it’s important that you check the handbrake and that the unit’s brake shoes have not seized to the drums. You should also check that there is no sticking from the brakes and the wheels run freely when the unit is in motion, while it’s a good idea to have your unit’s brakes serviced at least once a year.
Just as they do on your car, the lights of a caravan let other drivers know when you’re braking or indicating to make a turn. Before setting off on your journey, thoroughly check that the brake lights and each indicator light works.
Your towbar is the very thing that connects your car to your caravan, therefore it must be completely secure. Thoroughly check the connection and inspect the towbar for any signs of cracks, rust and loosened bolts, regular maintenance of your towbar should prevent any of these problems from occurring.
Wheels and tyres
A thorough check of your wheels and tyres is absolutely essential. You should ensure that, as with your car’s tyres, the unit’s tyres have the legal tread depth of 1.6mm. It’s also recommended that you perform a visual inspection of the tyres for any signs of bulges, cracks, cuts or nails.
If the caravan or motorhome has been stationary for an extended period, the tyres may also have developed flat spots, in which case they’ll need to be replaced. As with any long journey, you should check that your unit’s tyre pressures are inline with the recommended levels in the handbook.
Additional caravan checks
These following checks are also recommended before heading out on your staycation, and by no means less important. Tick them off and you’ll be all set to take to the road safe in the knowledge that your caravan or motorhome is in perfect working condition.
The towbar should sit level with your car and needs to be straight for it to be fully secure; you can check that the towbar is not dipping or raised with the help of a spirit level.
The coupling is the section the hitch meets the tow ball on your vehicle. You should clean the coupling before setting off on your journey, as well as checking the pads for any signs of contamination, friction or wear and the nuts and bolts on your tow ball.
Being able to see down both sides of your caravan while driving is essential for road safety. You should be able to see four metres either side of the caravan or motorhome and 20 metres behind, if you’re unable to, you’ll need to invest in extension mirrors to avoid a potential hefty £1,000 fine.
Though this one seems like a bit of no brainer, it’s still worth mentioning… You should make sure that your caravan’s number plate matches that of the towing car.
Electrics, gas and water
Make sure that gas cylinders are turned off, drain the toilet flush tank and empty the water from the system, disconnecting and stowing away the pump. Additionally, you’ll need to isolate the mains electricity, set the travel catch and voltage on your fridge and disconnect and put away your mains and TV cables.
Last on our caravanning checklist, you should make sure that your documentation is in check. This includes insurance and a valid MOT as well as up-to-date breakdown cover - just in case. Don’t forget, you can take care of your vehicle check and breakdown cover right here at Green Flag.
For more information on motoring both at home and abroad, as well as product reviews and how to’s, check out our blog page.