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Preparing your caravan or motorhome for spring

Carlton Boyce / 01 March 2016 ( 19 April 2017 )

Tips for getting your caravan or motorhome out of hibernation and ready for use, including basic checks to ensure your caravan is safe.

Caravan in a field in spring
Whether or not you get a professional to service your caravan or motorhome, there are some checks that you should do to satisfy yourself that it is safe

The sun is shining, the trees are in blossom, and the birds are singing. This means that spring is well and truly here, so it must be time to get your caravan or motorhome out of hibernation and ready for use!

The annual service

Now is the ideal time to get your caravan serviced, but as everyone else is thinking exactly the same thing you might need to book well in advance.

Please make sure that anyone who works on your caravan’s gas system is Gas Safe (previously CORGI) registered; this is one area where it isn’t worth taking a chance.

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The drinking water system

It is essential that your drinking water system is clean and safe, something that too many caravanners take for granted, with predictably gruesome results...

It’s not hard if you take a systematic approach and work your way methodically through this list:

  • Close all the drain valves if you’ve left them open over the winter.

  • Add a proper cleaning fluid or tablet to the drinking water tank and/or Aquaroll and top up with tap water. If you use something like Milton fluid, it can corrode the metal fittings if it isn’t flushed through properly.

  • Check that all your taps are turned off and positioned over the sink or shower.

  • Turn on your hot water heater and water pump.

  • Open the hot water tap that is furthest from the hot water heater, leaving the rest closed.
  • The open tap will probably splutter and spit for a while as the water heats up and works its way through the pipes.

  • When the water is flowing nicely, turn that tap off and work your way back towards the heater, opening and closing the hot water taps until all are flowing freely.

  • Now do the same with the cold water system, working your way back from the furthest point.

  • Now that the system is full, leave the fluid in place for the required length of time (see the instructions that came with it). After that, you’ll need to flush it through with clean tap water. You’ll probably need to do this two or three times to get rid of every last trace of the cleaning solution.

  • Check for leaks.

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Simple DIY checks

Whether or not you get a professional to service your caravan or motorhome, there are some checks that you should do to satisfy yourself that it is safe. These include:

  • Check the tyres for cuts and bulges and make sure that the tread depth is at least 2mm across the full width of the tyre.

  • You’ll also need to check that the tyres are inflated to the correct pressure and that the wheel nuts are tight.

  • Ensure that your gas tank is full and that the rubber hoses aren’t split, perished or chaffed.

  • Make sure that the handbrake works and is capable of holding the caravan on a slope.

  • Check that all the lights work.

  • Make sure that your leisure battery is accepting and holding a charge.

  • Your fire extinguisher should be in date and showing that it is properly pressurized. A dry powder one is cheap but a 2-litre AFFF (foam) extinguisher will be more effective, even if it does cost a bit more. You’ll need a fire blanket too, for smothering cooking fat fires.

Our guide to buying a caravan

Spick and span

Now is also a good time to give your caravan a good wash and polish, inside and out. 

Keeping it clean and protected will help maintain its resale value and will also give you the chance to spot minor damage and leaks before they turn into a bigger issue.

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.