The Technical Team at the Club holds a wealth of information and much of it is distilled in these pages.
If you’re looking for the right tyre for your motorhome or need to find a gas cylinder to use on the Continent, the chances are you will find the answer here.
Team members Ian Hewlett and Iain Geddes have both been active campers and caravanners since childhood. Now they regularly test cars and are involved in the Club’s annual Tow Car Awards. They also try out tents, trailer tents, caravans and motorhomes for the magazine’s On Test section and in their own time enjoy their own camping holidays.
Whether your question is about matching a tow car and caravan, how to use an electric hook-up or finding spares to repair your tent, you are likely to find the answer in these pages. But if not, you can ask the team by clicking below.
Can you replace fluorescent tube lights for LEDs in the same housing?
In principal you can but it is not a direct swap. The fluorescent tubes require a circuit to get them started and this is not required for the LED replacements.
How often should I re-proof an item such as a coat or rucksack?
There’s no hard and fast rule about this. Most treatments sit on a surface and change the surface tension, making it hydrophobic – water doesn’t want to stay on it.
Do I need to use a lighting board when I’m carrying bikes on the back of my car?
If any of the bikes interfere with the clear view of the lights or registration plate at the back of the vehicle then you must rectify this and a lighting board is the ideal low-cost solution.
I had a bit of a scare going down hill as my brakes faded. Can you get up-rated pads?
Many vehicles have an aftermarket option for enhanced or heavy-duty brake friction pads.
Why do motorhomes seem to rattle so much on the road?
To an extent this can be model specific and some are a little worse than others, but a major factor is what you carry and how you load it.
I know I can’t tow a caravan in the right-hand lane of a motorway with three or more lanes, but what about a light trailer?
The rules in the Highway Code regarding trailers in the outside lane are motorway specific.
Where can you buy caravan tyres?
Most caravans and larger trailers are not necessarily fitted with dedicated trailer tyres, though such things exist.
Is it possible to use a gas appliance, such as a heater, in a motorhome when you’re driving along?
Technology such as Truma’s crash sensor allows the use of a gas appliance while in motion as it is capable of shutting down the system of the unlikely event of a crash.
Can I use a tarp (tarpaulin) to extend my small tent?
As a campsite operator, in principal the Club has no issue with this and tarps make great shelters to add to a tent.
Can I use a Club Site to top up my motorhome’s water tank?
For Club members we go a little further than just topping up water, but there’s a fee involved.
I’ve come back to camping but why is it so hard to tune a television now?
This is probably because of something called the digital cliff. Put simply, if the aerial is not pointing in exactly the right direction then you won’t get any reception.
Can I double the battery capacity by adding another in parallel?
In theory, adding an equal capacity battery or cell in parallel will double the effective Ah rating of the battery while keeping the correct voltage output for your 12V equipment.
How long can a caravan be if it’s to be towed by a car legally?
A caravan is technically a trailer in legal terms and any vehicle (including light commercial vehicles and large 4x4s) up to 3,500kg is entitled to tow a trailer with a body length up to 7m.
What are the power limitations of a dedicated tent electric hook-up?
The electric hook-up bollard will have a limit managed by a circuit breaker and this will be up to 16A (but could be a lot less).
How should I get rid of my grey water?
Grey water is waste water that’s been use for such things as washing up. Disposal is dependent on the site you’re staying at.
Can fitting a solar panel invalidate a caravan or motorhome’s warranty?
It could, so this is something you’d need to discuss with your supplier and installer.
Can non-members stay on our Club Sites, Certificated Sites and Temporary Holiday Sites?
Non-members are welcome on most Club Sites but they will have to pay a non-member fee.
Can you add off-road testing to the tow car awards?
Off-road testing is something we have discussed and the Tow Car Awards judging team would like to do this.
What’s best when I’m touring the UK, terrestrial or satellite television?
Probably a satellite system because all you need (besides the correct equipment) is a clear line of sight to the sky.
Is there a limit on the amount of gas I can carry on a ferry?
Yes, there will be a limit to the amount of gas you can take and this will be contained within the booking information provided by your crossing operator.
I have a new car with a factory towbar but it was supplied without the feed for the fridge. Is this correct?
This is quite common with cars from mainland Europe as Continental caravans are generally wired slightly differently from UK ones, often without a leisure battery.
Do I really need to use every guyline?
Tents and awnings should have sufficient guying points to secure them in all but the worst storms.
Should my motorhome’s fuel tank be empty or full when in storage?
It’s always wise to check the handbook for the base vehicle’s guidance but the normal advice is to store with the fuel tank full to minimise condensation.
What are winter wheels?
The items known as ‘winter wheels’ are not really wheels at all. They’re simply a steel fabricated structure fitted in the place of road wheels.
How do I find out if my campervan can go into London?
London’s Low Emission Zone (LEZ) has been in place for some years now and impacts most motorhomes, depending on the year of registration and gross weight (maximum authorised mass).
Why aren’t hydrostatic head figures given for cotton tents?
Hydrostatic head testing relies on a column of water that applies a load to a textile.
Can tinted glass interfere with a satnav’s reception?
Normal dark glass tint shouldn’t affect the weak signal from a global positioning satellite (GPS).
Does an electric hook-up lead have to be orange?
It’s not a requirement to have an orange lead. However it’s sensible to have one that’s easily visible against the ground to help minimise any trip hazard.
My on-board electric heater is struggling to get my campervan warm. Is it faulty?
Not necessarily. In winter the electrical system with a maximum 2kW output may struggle to give sufficient output to warm the tourer properly.
I’m struggling to find the correct tyre pressures for my car when towing.
All modern cars should have a tyre pressure guide printed on them, sometimes inside the fuel filler cap or within a door closure.
Which insurance covers a trailer when it’s being towed?
All the third party risks are passed to the towing vehicle when any trailer is coupled up to it.
Do I need a driving licence to ride an electric bike?
If you mean an ‘electrically-assisted pedal cycle’, which has strict constraints on its maximum speed and power then no, the rules are the same as for a self-powered bicycle.
Do I need winter tyres in mainland Europe?
The answer varies from country to country and in some countries even by region. Winter tyres (marked with a snowflake motif) are preferred in colder areas but mud and snow tyres (marked M+S) are an acceptable alternative and the minimum tread depth varies too.
Is it possible to prevent waste, or grey, water from freezing?
If you’re camping in the UK and want to prevent the contents of a Wastemaster or similar piece of kit from freezing then you can add some salt to it.
How do you dry out a rain-soaked folding camper?
The textile cover should repel a lot of water because of its durable water repellent coating but from experience we know some always remains in the folds.
Can I get replacement LED lamps for the reading lights in my campervan?
Yes, there’s now a huge range available. However you’ll need to be careful of the stability of the voltage of your campervan as some LED bulbs designed for domestic use do not perform well with the variable voltage of a leisure battery.
Which is best for a solar panel, free standing or on the roof?
There are pros and cons. Freestanding can be aligned to the direction of the sun and moved through the day to get a maximised charge and it is easily kept clean.
Can I use my caravan steady legs to take the weight off the axle?
No, they’re corner steadies and though you need a good load on them to stop the trailer from rocking they’re not designed to carry the whole weight of the tourer, the bulk of the load needs to remain with the axle.
How old can a ‘new’ tyre be?
This is quite variable. If you have a common car tyre size then when you buy a new replacement it may have been moulded a matter of weeks before purchase.
What’s a bulk tank on a motorhome?
Typically this will be a fitted tank for the storage of a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).
I was looking at the driving licence Data Sheet and I don’t have a B licence. It says simply vehicles A and E. Please can you explain?
I guess you have an older UK licence that’s all green, not the credit-card-sized pink version.
My 13-pin plug became misaligned. Is it possible to keep it in place?
Maypole has produced the MP1280B or green cap that is not only a good quality storage park for a caravan or trailer’s 13-pin plug, but also keeps it properly aligned and can be used as an aid to realigning one that is out of position.
Does the Club have a policy for charging electric or plug-in hybrid cars on Club Site hook-ups?
At this time we have no specific policy. If you have a serviced pitch with an electric hook-up then you can use this as you see fit.
Does a motorhome need a special MOT test?
No, a motorhome – technically more correctly known as a motor caravan – has the same MOT test as a car, a class 4 test.
How do I leave a campsite review?
Our general page about campsite reviews is here or you can click on the Reviews tab on an individual site’s web page, followed by the Review button.
I have a short wheelbase campervan. Would this need a motorhome satnav?
Probably not, because the footprint of your van is not significantly larger than a large car.
How do I find my caravan or trailer’s noseweight?
Both the towing vehicle and the trailer have a limit at the coupling device. A typical caravan for example will be 100kg but a typical front-wheel drive car may only be able to take 75kg.
Can I use an external gas bottle at a Club Site or meet?
We allow external gas bottles on Club Sites and at meets, but we have some simple rules governing their use.
Can I use ordinary pump petrol in camping petrol stoves and lamps?
Though you can buy fuel specifically designed for these stoves, premium unleaded petrol is fit for this purpose.
I have an on-board fresh water tank. Should this be emptied before I move off site?
It’s not necessarily a good thing to haul a large quantity of water around.
IAN HEWLETT tells of his experiences when using solar panels
Love the smell of the campsite? CANDY EVANS has some tips on keeping your tent suitably sweet to match
IAN HEWLETT investigates some of the ways to check your car and caravan (or trailer) are not overweight
IAN HEWLETT finds out whether all cars will charge a leisure battery and run the fridge while towing