Data Sheet

#13 Winter care for your caravan

#13 #13 Winter care for your caravan
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2: Looking after your bodywork

Looking after your bodywork

Preparing the exterior of your caravan prior to winter will certainly pay dividends the following spring. Irrespective of whether you intend to use a cover or overwintering wax coating to help protect your ‘van, a thorough cleaning is essential. Thorough cleaning of the body also provides the opportunity to inspect the bodywork for any kind of damage as the winter season is a good time to get it fixed when workshops are less busy.

Always use proprietary caravan cleaning agents that are designed to be kind to the various materials used in caravan construction. Beware the use of pressure washers. These are often powerful and can direct spray under trim and damage bodywork and seals. Pay particular attention to removing any signs of green or black mould, if left to grow over winter it may create conditions where the aluminium or plastic surface is permanently marked if left to grow over winter.

Also, take a personal-safety-first approach to cleaning your caravan. Be careful about stretching and using ladders, especially when it comes to cleaning the roof, which might not appreciate your weight on it!

Of course, there are other external aspects to consider:

  • Tyres – these do not like standing around on the same piece of tread for long periods
  • Check your car-to-caravan connector

    Check your car-to-caravan connector

    Consider turning the wheels, say every six to eight weeks and raise the pressure to help alleviate any problems, but don’t forget to drop the pressures down when you go on the road. More information is available in Data Sheet 15 – Tyres and tyre care. Ideally shield the tyres from sunlight to help prevent degradation of the rubber but avoid using plastic bags that seal the wheel and bearings and may cause condensation in the hub. Winter wheels (special clamps instead of wheels) can be used, but they do not meet the required criteria for some caravan insurance policies, so check first.
  • Fit any security devices carefully

    Fit any security devices carefully

    Security – remember to fit hitchlocks, wheelclamps and the like, especially if required by your insurer. If nothing else, these act as a visual deterrent – for more information see the Club’s Data Sheet 14 Keeping your caravan, motorhome or trailer secure.
  • On older caravans, exterior light fittings can benefit from the removal of the lens, a quick clean of the seals and lens (inside and out) and the checking of any electrical connections, before replacement.
  • Check your 13-pin or 12N and 12S (7-pin) car-to-caravan connectors for any signs of wear or damage. The electrical
    A jockey wheel cover gives protection from the elements

    A jockey wheel cover gives protection from the elements

    contacts should be cleaned and wiped over with petroleum jelly or sprayed with a water dispersant such as WD-40 (after checking it will not affect the plastic).
  • Ideally, store your caravan with all corner steadies down and the handbrake off, to prevent it sticking. Use wheel chocks if necessary.
  • Apply grease to any moving mechanical parts or linkages, such as corner steadies’ rotating screws and the spare wheel carrier.
  • Finally, if you have been on the road late
    Choose your storage facility with care

    Choose your storage facility with care

    in the year during icy conditions then it will be worthwhile washing and brushing down the chassis to clear off corrosive road salt.