Everything except fine wine degrades without use and caravans, camper trailers and motorhomes are no different.
The best example is tyres. Left in the sun, often under-inflated, and sometimes on gravel surfaces, they can grow old before their time, which is a recommended lifespan of five years from the date of manufacture, which by law is stamped on the wall of every tyre sold in Australia.
This is a problem for many of us who only travel infrequently, meaning that the RV is left unattended for many months at a time in all climatic conditions.
This is a problem for many of us who only travel infrequently, meaning that the RV is left unattended for many months at a time in all climate conditions.
In days past, you ‘laid-up’ your caravan by jacking it up, placing wooden blocks under its leaf springs and beam axle(s) and A-frame, but only old-schoolers do that these days in the age of independent trailing arm suspension systems.
A simpler idea is to ensure that the tyres rest on an even, flat surface (concrete block or composite flooring), then inflate them to their maximum permitted pressure (also displayed on the tyre wall). Finally, cover those exposed to the sun to prevent UV degradation.
It’s also a good idea to cover your coupling with a weatherproof cover (a $1 plastic bucket works well) and to close the window blinds to prevent the sun fading curtains or upholstery.
Caravan batteries, like those of most modern cars, run flat when stored, thanks to the constant trickle of power required to run everything from LEDs to satellite tracking systems and digital clocks.
Lithium Ion battery systems are particularly vulnerable to this, as while they will deliver full power down to as little as 25-30 per cent charge, they can be damaged if left to run flat.
Most quality systems have fail-safe cut-off that activates when the charge level drops to a predetermined amount, but it’s safer top keep a constant charge going into your van, either via a 240v power source or via a rooftop or a portable solar panel.
Corner jacks and hitches should also be lubricated before storage, either with a rust-proofing spay like WD-40 or CRC or even better, one of the dry silicone-based sprays. The latter also works well on door catches, aluminium folding chairs, tables and he like, as it doesn’t come off on your clothes.
Drain your water tanks and empty your cassette toilet too if your caravan won’t be used for a month or more.
Water can go ‘stale’ and take on some of the flavour of its storage tank or whatever residue is in it from dodgy water supplies on your last trip.
It’s ideal to leave the drainage cap off to ensure the tank dries out, but this could invite ants in, so I prefer to drain the tanks, wait an hour or two then fit the drainage cap again.
Clean, turn off and leave the fridge and freezer doors ajar to prevent any growth of mould when you next set off.
Make sure you refill and turn off your gas bottles. Nothing's worse than running out on the first night back on the road!
Then finally, give your caravan’s exterior fibreglass panels a good polish. I’s something makers recommend you do every two years and it helps road grime fall off and lessens the impact of sap, bird strike or other stains when stored.
Original Editorial: Caravan Camping Sales
Written By: Michael Browning