Time For Caravan Maintenance
As the cooler weather sets in, many people, particularly in southern Australia, will store their caravans for several months before heading back out on the road. Now is the perfect time to attend to some winter basic caravan maintenance. Thoroughly clean inside and outside your caravan and attend to some basic tasks before storing your van.
How To Get Rid Of Damp & Mould
If you’ve been caravan and camping for a long time, you’ll know that water damage, water leaks and mould can be difficult and expensive problems to fix in your caravan or camper trailer. Canvas awnings that get wet and are not dried before storing will start to deteriorate and grow mould. Water leaks and condensation allowed to persist inside your caravan will lead to the growth of unhealthy moulds, the deterioration of your caravan frame, and unpleasant living conditions.
It’s important to always use preventative measures when you are using your caravan, to stop the conditions that lead to the growth of mould. This includes:
- Not storing wet items in your caravan.
- Keeping your caravan well ventilated at all times.
- Where possible, cooking outside and always putting lids on cooking pots to avoid too much steam.
- Keeping shower doors closed and always opening the window after every shower to release steam.
- Keeping an eye out for signs of water around windows and doors.
- Dealing with any cracked seals and leaks immediately.
- Wiping up water spills and leaks, and keeping all areas of your caravan dry.
Removing Mould From Canvas
If you canvas awning gets mould:
1.let the canvas dry before you treat it.
2. Use a stiff brush to brush the effected area
3. Spray the surface to neutralise the spores. Use either a solution of vinegar and water, or a few drops of oil of cloves in water.
It is worth doing a patch test first on an area of your canvas which is out of sight. Try to avoid stronger mould treatments as these may damage the waterproof seal on your canvas awning.
Caravan Maintenance – Inside Your Caravan
It’s important when you are storing your caravan for some time to empty it of everything. Although it may seem convenient to keep essential bedding and dry food stuffs ready for your next trip, in the absence of regular heating, these items will end up damaged by any moisture or mould that develops.
Take out mattresses, as well as any upholstery cushions and seat covers and store them.
Check around doors and window seals for water leaks. If you have a pop up caravan, check the canvas and the seals on the roof. Test for leaks by hosing your caravan from the outside.
Soak up any moisture over winter, by placing bowls of salt in cupboards and place in your caravan that are liable to get damp. Leave all cupboard doors open to encourage air flow.
Caravan Maintenance – Equipment & Outside Your Van
Now’s the perfect time to do your annual caravan maintenance, as well as check and care for your equipment.
Water & Gas Fittings
Before your store your caravan, make sure that no water remains in the water pipes. Open all the taps and drain any remaining water. If you have a toilet, empty and drain the toilet tank and leave it open.
Check all gas and water hoses for leaks. Make sure that all gas hoses are tightly fitting. Disconnect the gas bottle and store it in a cool dry place.
Canvas and Awning
Make sure any canvas and canvas awnings are clean and dry before storing. Never use bleach on canvas as this can cause deterioration.
The best way to dry an awning is simply by airing. Never apply heat directly to your awning. Once a year apply a waterproof spray.
When you store your caravan for long periods, it is a good idea to remove the 12 volt battery and store it somewhere dry. Check on the charge now and then and charge it if it’s running low.
Now is the time to clean and remove all grime and any rust from struts and moving parts. Apply silicone spray to windows and hinges to keep them moving freely.
Caravan Body Repair & Maintenance
Keep the outside of your van looking bright and new by touching up any damaged areas. Lightly sand any rust and paint over with an approved paint. Wash the outside of your caravan thoroughly with car wash or general purpose cleaner. A bit of car wax will also have your caravan gleaming.
Booking A Caravan Service
The off season is one of the best times to get your caravan serviced and to get your caravan service centre to give your caravan a thorough overhaul, service major parts and check for any unexpected faults.
Caravan servicing should be done every 10,000 kms, particularly for maintaining safe brakes and bearings. Part of a caravan service involves greasing, which will help prevent the development of rust during wet weather.
Now is the time to talk to your caravan service centre about any upgrades you are thinking about and have all your caravan electrics checked, as well as checking the chassis, springs and tyres.
Storing Your Caravan
Now that your caravan is clean and has been serviced, it’s time to safely store your van. Both the sun and rain can cause damage to your caravan, so if possible, store your caravan under cover.
If you must store it outside, get a waterproof cover to protect it. Caravan covers can be purchased, but if this is not an option, any waterproof cover that is not too heavy will be adequate. Make sure the cover is securely anchored to prevent the wind from getting underneath. It is also wise when storing your caravan for several months under a non breathable cover, to occasionally check it for moisture build up.
When a caravan is stored for long periods without moving, tyres can develop flat spots. To even out weight distribution invest in a pair of Camec tyre savers. Tyre savers can also be bolted to the floor and work as a ‘stop’. If you store your caravan on bitumen, tyre savers also act as a barrier, preventing your tyres from deteriorating.
With a bit of general maintenance at the end of each caravan and camping season, you’ll be ready to hit the road with minimal hassle when the warmer weather arrives. You’ll be glad you did the maintenance and servicing at the right end of the season.
More Caravan Maintenance and Advice
Emu Caravan Repairs offers expert and reliable caravan servicing in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs. To book your next caravan service or to get advice on any caravan maintenance job, or modification, such as caravan electrics, contact us. We are open six days a week.