It’s a fact when travelling around Australia to face huge distances between towns and some pretty rough terrain. So before you head off on a long road trip it’s really important to have your caravan serviced by a professional caravan repair centre.
For your own peace of mind when you’re travelling on the road, it’s good to be able to do a basic caravan check yourself and fix any minor repairs. Getting to know the working parts of your caravan and knowing what to look for will give you confidence, especially if you’re planning on heading off the beaten track.
DIY Caravan Check
There are some basic DIY caravan checks and maintenance tasks you can do yourself:
Caravan Tyre Pressure
Checking the tyre pressure of your caravan is a simple DIY check that you should be able to do yourself. Caravan tyres that are inflated incorrectly can be dangerous. If they are inflated too high caravan instability and dangerous sway can result. Too little inflation and the sidewalls will have too much give, which can also lead to instability.
To determine whether your tyres are inflated correctly, tyre pressure should be checked when the tyres are cold and also when they are warm (after about 30 minutes of driving). The difference in pressure rating between cold and warm tyres should be between 5psi – 6psi. If the difference falls outside this, you need to adjust your tyre pressure.
The correct pressure rating will be listed on your tyres, but also make sure that this matches with the recommended pressure on the compliance plate on your caravan.
Checking Caravan Lights
It’s important to get into the habit of regularly checking that your caravan’s lights are working. If something is not working, it could be as simple as a new globe. Make sure to always carry spare bulbs with you. Alternatively, the problem could be the connections. Pull out the plug and wipe away any dirt or grime.
If you’re a real DIYer, you may carry a multimeter with you, so you can check if there is a break in the circuit and find out exactly where the problem is. Equipped with wire and a soldering iron, you can repair the broken wire yourself.
Do not attempt to fix big electrical problems yourself. It is always best to get a qualified professional to do any complicated repairs to your caravan electrics. Never try to repair or modify 240 volt electrical systems on your caravan. These must be done by a qualified electrician.
You won’t be cooking with gas if you run out of gas! A gas leak is also very dangerous. Part of a basic DIY check of your caravan should involve cleaning and checking your gas lines for any leaks. If you suspect a gas leak, it needs to be attended to immediately. A simple method is to spray hoses or connections with soapy water. If bubbles appear, you have a leak. Make sure to perform the spray test twice, to make sure.
If you are unsure of what to do, it is always recommended to call on a licensed person to check gas cylinders and fix any leaks.
Checking Caravan Chassis
When you get a caravan, its a good idea to familiarise yourself with the stuff that’s underneath. A simple, but basic DIY caravan check is to look for signs of rust or cracking in the chassis. Checking the chassis for rust and wear is a part of a regular caravan service, but when you’re on the road (particularly doing long distances) things can go wrong. Knowing what to look for puts you in control.
Caravan Wheel Nuts
If wheel nuts are too tight, it can lead to stripping the thread. If they aren’t tight enough, the wheel can come loose! To make sure you are tightening the wheel nuts to the correct tension, you will need to invest in a torque wrench.
DIY Check Before You Leave
Being prepared is always better than not! So the best thing to avoid bigger problems on the road is to get your caravan serviced before you go and also have a before you leave DIY checklist for your caravan and camper trailer .
Regular Caravan Service
While familiarising yourself with your caravan, being able to do a basic DIY caravan check and taking care of basic caravan maintenance in the off season is important, it should never replace having your caravan serviced regularly by a qualified mechanic and having all electrical and gas connections checked by a licensed technician.
When you get a service, the chassis and all the major moving parts of your caravan will be checked and serviced so they are in perfect working order. Any good caravan mechanic will recommend that your caravan is serviced every 10,000kms. Find out what’s included in a caravan servicing checklist and servicing costs.
When you book a caravan service at Emu Caravan Repairs, we’ll undertake a thorough check of all major components to make sure your van is safe for your next trip. We also install new air conditioning and heating systems, as well as 12 volt solar systems as part of our caravan repairs and modifications service.