After a long winter sleep, the caravan needs some extra attention. What do you check before the camping season starts? Use the handy checklist below!
You may have already used the caravan a few times, but before the big trip starts, it is good to check a few points. This increases the chance of a carefree holiday trip.
Preparing the caravan for summer
Almost vacation! Now only to prepare the caravan for summer. Make your profit with the handy checklist below.
Check if the heating is still working
No, of course I also hope you don't need it this summer. However, it is wise to check whether it is still working properly. Especially if you stay in the Netherlands, the heating is sometimes necessary. Even in warm countries the evenings can sometimes be chilly. Especially check the ignition. A small dirt or spider can already be problematic. The heating will then not turn on. Just clean the system (or have it cleaned) and you will be warm all summer long.
Check tire pressure
The pressure of the tires is extremely important in a caravan. With a car it is less precise in that regard. If you do not keep a close eye on this with your caravan, you can experience life-threatening situations. What do you pay attention to?
- Too little air reduces the carrying capacity.
- Too much air reduces comfort.
- 4,5 Bar is perfect for average caravan tires.
- Change tires after a maximum of 10 years.
Especially after standing still for a longer period of time in or outside the parking facility, the tension has often decreased somewhat.
You will also find the correct pressure in the instruction manual of your caravan. Sometimes it is also mentioned on the tires. Measure the pressure at a gas station. If necessary, you can pump them up right here. If the gas station does not have enough bar, drive past a caravan company.
Also check tires and wheels for any cracks.
Check the toilet system
Especially when the winter was cold, the toilet system can be damaged. This is because it is made of plastic and prone to cracking. In addition, the pump is fairly sensitive to malfunctions. Checking is quick and easy. Fill the system with water and you will immediately see whether everything works as it should. At the same time, thoroughly clean the toilet.
Check the overrun damper
Apply the handbrake to the caravan. Now push in the slider by hand. Then immediately pull it out again. If this is very heavy, the overrun brake works well.
Check the gas supply
Regular maintenance is necessary. You may have already done this for the winter, but what do you check just before the summer?
- Is there no leakage?
- How much gas is left in the gas bottle? Enough for the whole summer holiday?
This way you avoid frustrations. When you are cooking and the gas bottle is unexpectedly empty, you are absolutely not happy. You can also prevent this by using a handy app. Prefer not to have a mobile at hand while camping? You can also check in another way. Let me show you the options:
- Primagaz Easybley app; an estimate of the contents of the gas bottle is made based on the noise.
- Special device that is slid along the gas bottle. This then gives an indication of the contents of the bottle. The devices are for sale at camping stores.
- Of course you can also simply weigh the gas bottle yourself. Even then you know fairly accurately how the content is doing.
Do not put the gas bottle in full sun at the campsite!
Furthermore, secure the gas bottle properly and always upright!
Also test the stove.
Cleaning water tank
Cleaning the water tank and the pipes is very important because of the hygiene. It is most convenient to clean this tank twice a year. After the camping season, give the tank the largest service. It is likely that it was heavily contaminated with bacteria and algae at that time. There is also usually limescale deposits. You can quickly finish cleaning just before the camping season. How do you clean the tank?
- First drain the water pipes and boiler. Are the pipes empty? Then close the drain cocks again.
- Now make sure that the tank is completely empty. This will probably already be the case after winter storage. Now fill the bottom with a layer of cleaning agent.
- Clean the tank with a brush or sponge.
- Rinse well with plenty of water.
- Fill the tank completely with cleaning agent.
- Pump this water with detergent through the pipes.
- Preferably leave it that way for 24 hours. Probably especially needed just before the storage.
- Now drain everything completely and rinse thoroughly.
Which agent do you use to clean the water tank
There are several options. I'll name a few.
- Boiling water and a little washing up liquid.
- Dissolve soda in lukewarm water.
- A few tablets of Steradent.
- Mix one kilogram of citric acid with warm water (100 liters of water).
- A cap of bleach in 50 liters of water.
- 1 liter of cleaning vinegar to 100 liters of water.
Thorough rinsing is always very important!
Checking the refrigerator
Just a little bit of soapy water through the inside of the fridge. Just as nice to leave with a clean fridge. If you have not yet cleaned the space behind the refrigerator before storing it, do so now. Usually it is necessary to remove the ventilation openings. Also check the pressure regulator of the gas bottle. It must always be in good condition!
Is the refrigerator still working properly? This is very quick and easy to check. Plug it into the socket. If all goes well, warm air will come out of the ventilation grille within 5 minutes.
Do you stop for a while along the way? Always switch off the refrigerator. Otherwise it's a shame about the power consumption. The refrigerator can also drain your car battery.
Ball pressure is the pressure exerted vertically on the hitch. How do you measure this pressure?
- There are special meters for sale.
- You can also, for example, put a stick under the coupling and then place it on a scale. The measurement is then slightly less precise than with a special meter, but also fine in itself.
What about the electricity?
Check the earth leakage circuit breaker in the caravan. You do this by pressing the push button near the switch. Does the switch flip down? Then everything is fine!
In the Netherlands you can rely on the blue CEE connection, but elsewhere in Europe this is not always the case. Certainly not on the smaller campsites. So, in any case, take adapter cords with you.
The breakaway cable
It must be completely intact. If you see a worn or broken wire, replace the cable.
What are the maximum speeds again?
The most important facts at a glance:
- In most European countries you can drive at 80 km/h with the caravan.
- In the Netherlands this is 90 km/h, provided you are not heavier than 3,500 kg.
- In Belgium and France you can safely drive 130 km/h. Provided that the total weight does not exceed 3.5000 kg.
Everything at hand? Did you forget anything during the caravan holiday preparation?
- Green card for the caravan
- Extra fuses, lights and batteries
- A set of brake pads
- Warning triangle
- Fire extinguisher
- safety vest
- Adapter cables
- Auxiliary mirrors
- camping plug
- Route maps
- Vignettes foreign motorways
Moisture is a major enemy of the caravan. Check that no mold or wet spots are visible. Always be alert if it smells extremely musty in the caravan.
Check the lighting
Does all the lighting still work? Inside and especially outside?
Checking windows and doors during the last holiday check
Check whether the locks on the doors and windows of the caravan still work properly. Also make sure there are no cracks in the rubbers. Tired of squeaky hinges? A little lubrication works wonders!
Final check of the tow vehicle
It would also be something if your caravan is in tip-top shape and you have problems with the car. Check the points below:
- Tire pressure and possible damage to the tyres.
- oil level; if you are going to cover a long distance, oil consumption may increase.
- Coolant, windshield fluid and brake fluid.
Cleaning the caravan is also part of good preparation for a camping trip
Cleaning the outside
Has the caravan been stored inside all winter? Are you taking the caravan out of storage? Then it might be okay with the pollution. At most there will be some dust present. Or some spiders. A quick wash is then sufficient. However, if the caravan has been outside all winter, a more extensive wash is required. Also think of a new layer of wax to keep the lacquer layer good.
Do it yourself or go to the car wash?
I always recommend that you wash the caravan yourself. However, if this is difficult for you, you can of course use the car wash. Always opt for a special car wash for caravans. Special brushes are then used. These do not scratch the plastic windows of the caravan. You run this risk with a normal car wash. I am and remain in favor of cleaning the caravan yourself. How do you work?
Cleaning your caravan yourself
Take the necessary supplies and get started as follows:
- Rinse with water, much dirt will disappear immediately.
- Use a special caravan or car shampoo for any remaining dirt.
- Use a soft, but firm brush.
- Let it act and then rinse off
- If stubborn dirt is still left behind, use a special cleaning agent for stubborn dirt.
Do not use a pressure washer
It seems so easy: just add the syringe and you're done. However, I advise you to be very careful with this. Why?
- Huge force of the water can cause damage.
- Never hold the nozzle too close to the caravan's sheet metal.
- Decorative stripes and logos can come off.
- Sealant layer of rubbers can be damaged.
Inside caravan ready for summer
A clean caravan is just as pleasant to camp, right? If the weather is nice, you may not see the caravan much inside. Nevertheless, a cleaning is pleasant and it does not have to take a lot of time. Especially if you have already cleaned thoroughly at the end of last summer. Some tips:
- Remove the loose parts such as carpet and cushions. Cleaning will then be much more efficient.
- Vacuum everything first.
- Wipe a wet cloth over the surfaces.
- Open all the windows to let the stale air blow away.
There is a good chance that your tent has already had a major cleaning. What are you checking just before the summer holidays?
- Have some air in the tent.
- Smooth zippers with a good dry zipper spray.
- Check zippers and seams.
- Check elastics, guy ropes and pegs and top up if necessary.
- Check sticks.
Driving the caravan for the first time?
Perhaps a bit exciting when you travel with the caravan for the first time. A few general tips for you:
- If you are going to reverse with the caravan, steer as little as possible. Always keep a good look in the mirrors and drive calmly.
- Take into account the extra weight that the car has to pull, especially when driving off.
- Pay close attention to the acceleration on slopes. Feel free to set it a little lower than you would with the car.
- Take the bends a little wider than you are used to.
- Always drive very slowly when descending.
- Avoid swinging by always sticking to the critical speed.
Caravan holiday ready? Then enjoy!
Have you finished your last holiday check? Then it is now time to leave. If everything is in order, the chance of a breakdown on the road is much smaller. Enjoy your camping holiday!