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.
How much gas can I carry on a ferry?
We would always recommend you check with your crossing operator as ferry companies reserve the right to amend their policies.
Do I need an adaptor to use a Continental electric hook-up point?
You may do. Though much of the network of campsites throughout mainland Europe has adapted the same plug as the UK there are some older legacy hook-up bollards using a domestic Continental plug, the sort with two round pins.
How can I find the profile size on my trailer’s tyres?
You should be able to see the tyre size on the side of the tyre. If yours says 175/80 R 13C on the sidewall this means it is 175mm wide, radial in design (R), has a 13in rim diameter and is a commercial tyre (C).
What is the best type of security devices for my tourer?
Always check with your insurer as it may have a specific list of approved security devices, however if it just specifies a wheel clamp and some other device such as a barrier post or a hitchlock for a trailer, we suggest you look at the Sold Secure tested products catalogue.
Do caravan wheels have inner tubes?
No, for many years now most caravans have been equipped with tubeless radial tyres.
Can I use a wind generator when camping?
In principle you can but there are some caveats.
I’m struggling to add coordinates into my satnav. How do I work out what’s east and west or plus or minus (+ or -)?
Assuming you’re travelling in the northern hemisphere and the numbers are in decimal (rather than degrees, minutes and seconds), all coordinates east and west (longitude) are measured from the Prime Meridian.
What are the UK speed limits for a motorhome?
A motorhome or, more correctly, a ‘motorised caravan’ has the same speed limits as a car with one exception.
Is it normal for a modern engine to consume oil? As far as I can tell, it doesn’t leak.
There will always be a small loss of oil in any engine. Under modern emission regulations this should be burnt off through the combustion chambers.
The tyre size and pressure plate on my motorhome doesn’t match the details on the tyre sidewalls. Is this OK?
This can happen when the tyres have been changed from the original van specification during conversion or by a previous owner.
Do you allow dogs on your campsites?
Yes we do and there’s no charge on our Club Sites but we do have a few simple rules, which you can find here.
Can the AL-KO Diamond wheel lock be retro-fitted to any caravan?
With certain limitations, yes. The caravan will need to have a post-2001 AL-KO axle with the correct style of alloy wheels (for which AL-KO has made a lock yolk) and the caravan needs to have a dedicated receiver fitted.
Can I get internal tyre pressure sensors for my motorhome, the valve-cap type seems so vulnerable to theft?
Most of the valve-cap kits come with some means of theft prevention, whether a grub-screw or a secondary lock nut.
My awning zips are a bit stiff, can they be lubricated?
Products such as Aquatex from Isabella are sold as a waterproofing product but also act as a light lubricant for zips without harming surrounding materials.
Can I carry bikes on the towbar and tow a trailer too?
There are systems that allow you to fit a cycle carrier but still leave the towball free to allow the coupling of a trailer, Maxxraxx and Witter are two manufacturers of these.
Does my caravan (or motorhome habitation) service cover the fridge?
In routine servicing the fridge, whether two or three-way, will be checked for general function and basic safe operation.
Is it worth using a caravan or motorhome cover?
The simple answer is yes, a good quality cover will protect a tourer when in storage.
Is there an easy way of finding an Approved Workshop for my caravan or motorhome service?
The Approved Workshop’s website has a search function and you can also download an app.
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.
TERRY OWEN looks at the way caravan and motorhome payloads are calculated and how this has changed over the years
IAIN GEDDES talks through the types of electricity cables available for camping
BARRY NORRIS gives some tips on keeping your water safe to drink on the campsite
IAIN GEDDES discovers charging a battery while on tour needn’t be challenging