Your caravan needs maintenance all year round - both inside and out. Practical tips.
Yes, the camping season is upon us! Time to think again about your caravan, awning and the campsite. It is fantastic to have your own caravan. The feeling of freedom, of being outside, of… yes, you name it. You get it. In the first place, a caravan means enjoying.
But a caravan also means: cleaning and maintenance. To make it as easy as possible for you, I offer you indispensable tips and advice! So you can be sure that you don't forget anything! In this way, camping becomes nothing less than thoroughly enjoying yourself.
I'll start with some general tips, then the details.
- Tip 1: Clean regularly during the camping season.
- Tip 2: Always start cleaning up.
- Tip 3: Always wash the caravan in the shade. The combination of sun and cleaning agents may cause stains.
- Tip 4: Always use the right products!
- Tip 5: Very illogical, but work from the bottom up. To prevent tearing of dirt on the paint.
- Tip 6: Use lots of water.
- Tip 7: Never go on the roof yourself, not all roofs are walkable
Cleaning the outside of the caravan
The exterior of a caravan has to endure a lot. Cleaning is important for protecting the paintwork. If you do not do this, you run the risk of corrosion. How do you get started?
- Clean the outside with water first.
- Now apply a special caravan shampoo or car shampoo.
- Let this sink in.
- Use a soft brush for stubborn stains.
- If there is dirt that does not disappear, use Power Cleaner.
- Rinse well and let dry.
Professional caravan cleaner
A suitable caravan cleaning agent is an important condition for a clean exterior. You can also extend the life of your camper by means of a high-quality caravan shampoo.
Caravan car wash, do or don't?
Just as easy, right, just through the car wash with the caravan? I would say: stick to a sponge, brush, cloth, lukewarm water and possibly a good caravan shampoo. Disadvantages of the car wash are:
- Chance of scratches.
- Due to the strength of the brushes, there is a risk of cracks in plastic windows.
- High pressure can be risky for refrigerator grilles, for example.
- Very expensive in terms of rates. Cleaning yourself is and remains cheaper.
- Special car washes are few and far between.
- Bad for trim and stickers.
Caravan awning maintenance
The awning is fragile and requires good maintenance and regular cleaning. General tips:
- Always retract the awning when you go to sleep or when you go away for a while. This is to prevent damage.
- If it is windy, do not extend the awning too far.
- Clean the awning in windless, dry, sunny, but not too hot weather. It will then dry quickly and you will see the stains better.
How do you clean the caravan awning?
Follow these helpful tips:
- First turn the awning all the way out.
- Use a soft brush and lukewarm water.
- Is there still dirt to be seen? Then clean with Sprayhood & Tent Shampoo. Especially for this kind of cloth.
- Stubborn dirt? Then also use Ultramar Power Cleaner.
- Never use aggressive standard cleaning agents. This gives a chance of discoloration and other unpleasant consequences.
- Also think of the hood in which the awning is located.
- Impregnate the awning after cleaning.
- Always remove stains as soon as possible.
- Always remove any branches and leaves immediately. These cause dirt and possible damage.
A tear in the awning? There is a good chance that you can repair this yourself quickly and easily. Always take a repair kit with you. You can probably close the tear with adhesive strips.
Try to avoid these as much as possible when cleaning. The seams are very delicate and cleaning agents are not the best for its water resistance. Therefore, impregnate the seams regularly.
Cleaning awning windows
Window film is almost always provided with a UV-resistant layer. Keep this in mind when cleaning. A lot of cleaning products affect this foil, so don't use it. It is best to use plain water and a soft cloth.
Cleaning and maintaining awning zippers
Plastic zippers are best maintained with a good dry spray. Spray every now and then and the zippers run wonderfully smoothly. Do not use a silicone-based spray or a PTFE spray with oil. Then the chance of stains is very high.
Caravan roof hatch
Always such a difficult part to clean. Still, it's nice to thoroughly clean this hatch from time to time. These shutters are often double-walled. Cleaning the outside is still possible, but especially the inner casing can be complicated. Unscrewing it once in a while is a good solution. A good waxing with a strong caravan polish is also a good solution to keep it clean for longer.
Replace roof hatch
This hatch is quite fragile. Hail, branches, bright sun, heat… it has to endure quite a bit. Sometimes replacement is necessary. Are you pretty handy? Then just do it yourself. Always cheaper. Another point of attention is the sealant edges. After about 10 years, these often start to leak, so pay extra attention!
Cleaning the inside of the caravan. Tips!
Tip 1: Airing
After a few weeks of camping, airing is necessary. As a result of body fluids, or perhaps also rain, mattresses and pillows absorb moisture. So ventilate well. Do this by opening a door or window. The moisture evaporates in this way. Ventilation is also important after several months of storage.
Tip 2: Flush water pipes
Preferably do this a few times a year. Then clean the water tank at the same time. This prevents scale build-up in the pipes and the pump. In addition, it is just as hygienic to clean every now and then. How do you work?
- The inside of the water tank can be cleaned with a somewhat harder brush.
- Remove all dirt residues thoroughly.
- Then fill the tank with water and then add a special water tank cleaner.
- Open taps and allow water to flow through pipes.
- Finally, rinse everything thoroughly, so that the cleaning agent is gone.
Tip 3: Clean up a waste water tank
Bad smells are never pleasant. You can largely prevent this by cleaning the waste water tank. Take a cleaning agent and run it down the drain. Let it soak for a while and the tank is nice and clean again. Do you ever suffer from a foul odor from the drain while camping? Then put a stench trap in the drain line.
Tip 4: Cleaning furniture
First run through everything with the vacuum cleaner, so that the loose dirt is removed. Then clean the furniture with a damp cloth. For stubborn stains, use a suitable cleaning agent. With Ultramar Sprayhood & Tent Shampoo you can clean almost all upholstery. Don't forget to protect. This keeps the upholstery clean for longer.
Tip 5: Cleaning the caravan fridge
Not in the mood for bad smells in the caravan? Then clean the refrigerator regularly. A few tips:
- Do not clean the inside with aggressive detergent.
- Do not use abrasive cleaning agents.
- Always use only water for the rubber.
- Will you not be using the caravan refrigerator for a longer period of time? Then turn it off and close the gas bottle. Leave the door ajar.
Tip 6: Cleaning the caravan mattress
A clean bed is worth a lot. Also on vacation. You can clean the mattress yourself, but it is also possible to have this done. During a deep cleaning, the mattress is thoroughly cleaned. In this way all stains and bad odors disappear. This is then followed by an impregnation treatment.
Tip 7: Caravan heater
Fortunately, a heater is usually not necessary in the summer, but it is just as pleasant in the early and late season. Characteristic of a caravan heater is that it does not remove oxygen from the room. To avoid the risk of released gases, a biannual maintenance by a technician is necessary. What needs to be done?
Cleaning the caravan heater
Parts that need a service:
- Cleaning burners.
- Control of thermal protection.
- Check ignition and connections.
What can you do yourself?
The above actions should be performed by a specialist. What can you do yourself in terms of maintenance?
- Clean the stove housing and sight glass.
Caravan air conditioning maintenance
Indispensable sometimes such an air conditioner in the caravan. Which maintenance must be performed periodically?
- Cleaning the filters.
- Replace the filters after several years.
Descaling caravan boiler
Another job that demands your attention from time to time. A few tips:
- Use vinegar.
- You can also use let a small pump continuously circulate descaler through the appliance.
Caravan maintenance through professional maintenance
No matter how well you maintain your caravan, a professional service is definitely recommended. Of course this does not have to be done every year, but every other year is the advice. You can easily clean it yourself, but have the technical parts checked by a caravan specialist.
The Periodic General Caravan Inspection is comparable to the APK inspection for motor vehicles. Because this is a snapshot and because there is no maintenance, a major overhaul is also needed.
Major maintenance is required every other year. Regular maintenance of the caravan extends the life of the caravan and increases safety. General tips here:
- Frequency also depends on the number of kilometers you drive and the age of the caravan.
- Always choose a BOVAG certified company.
- In the case of warranty, choose a dealer of your own brand, in all other cases this is irrespective.
- A caravan is not a car; take a company that specializes in caravans.
- Costs are around 200 euros. With possible additional costs when something needs to be replaced or repaired.
- Make an appointment in time.
Benefits of BOVAG maintenance
- Repair will take place after consultation with you.
- You will receive a BOVAG inspection sticker.
- Three months warranty on the repair.
- Control of legal requirements.
- You will receive an extensive inspection report.
- Inspection is done by a qualified specialist.
What happens during major maintenance?
- Checking the chassis.
- Checking the structure.
- moisture measurement.
- Control of gas and electricity.
If a caravan repair is necessary, this can often take place immediately during the maintenance.
Replacing caravan tires
This does not happen every 2 years, but certainly every 6 years. Usually the profile is not really an issue, because you probably don't make a huge amount of miles. Dehydration is a greater danger. This is difficult to see with an inexperienced eye, so be sure to take the advice of professionals.
Caravan tire pressure
Correct tire pressure is important. If the voltage is too low, the load-carrying capacity decreases. You also run the risk of a blowout. A caravan's tire pressure that is too high is not pleasant for the spring comfort. There are handy tables where you can find exactly what the ideal pressure for your tires is.
Caravan moisture measurement
Moisture can cause a lot of damage to the caravan. Moisture in the roof, walls or floor causes rot. How do you monitor this? How do you prevent problems? Have a caravan moisture measurement carried out regularly. This is often also mandatory when you are dealing with a warranty period. But this is also recommended in other cases. If you already see moisture rings or mold, such a measurement is absolutely necessary.
How does moisture measurement in a caravan work?
Do you store the caravan in the winter? Then have the moisture measurement performed before that time. If you combine this with maintenance, the caravan will be parked in optimal condition throughout the winter. Is the caravan outside all year round? Then the time of the moisture measurement makes little difference. It is important that you empty cupboards, etc., so that the technician can reach everything.
Need a new caravan lock? Looking for replacement tires? You prefer to save on these parts for the camper? Then look around at a caravan scrap yard. You can often find all kinds of second-hand caravan parts there.
Caravan scrap yard
Ready for a new caravan? You don't really know where to leave your old slug hut? You will find so-called caravan scrap yards throughout the country. In most cases, your caravan will be collected from you free of charge.
Leveling the caravan
Don't feel like messing with coffee and other liquids? Would you like to wake up refreshed every morning? It is then important to level the caravan. How does this work?
- Can be horizontal or longitudinal.
- Use a spirit level.
- Always straighten in width direction first.
- A wheel has to go up on the lowest side.
- Can never use the corner steadies for this with a leveler or a wedge.
- Now in the longitudinal direction: always use a spirit level on the floor of the caravan.
- Now use the nose wheel. If you turn this to the right, the caravan will go down. Left means up. Check from time to time whether the caravan is already level. Otherwise, turn left or right.
- If it is horizontal in both width and length, you can now unscrew the supports.
- This is quite heavy work, so use a cordless drill, for example. Always do the last few strokes manually!
Caravan with lifting roof
Are you considering a pop-up roof caravan? It is nice that these caravans are lower and therefore offer less air resistance. In order to create sufficient standing space, a so-called lifting roof is used. A few short pros and cons:
Advantages lifting roof
- Can often be stored in a regular garage.
- Thanks to reduced air resistance, it can also be pulled by smaller cars.
Disadvantages caravan lifting roof
- Quite pricey due to complicated construction.
- Usually only headroom in the lifting roof section.
- Not useful during winter sports.
If the field of vision of the interior mirror and the left exterior mirror is obstructed, caravan mirrors are mandatory. What is important when you are going to buy mirrors?
- That they are stainless.
- It is useful when, unused, they are of small size.
- That they are vibration free.
- A clear representation of the mirrored.
- That they are clearly visible to other traffic.
- Easy to adjust, set up and take off.
- Finally, always take a spare mirror with you.
Before you leave, it must be completely free of rust, grease and dirt. Do you hear a cracking or squeaking sound? This is good news, because it means that the stabilizer still functions perfectly from a technical point of view. You can also sand the friction shoes and the ball slightly. This usually reduces the creaking and squeaking.
It is sometimes difficult to get the caravan exactly in the right place. A caravan mover is a practical tool for this. You can park your caravan in this way, accurate to the centimetre.
If you take heavy items with you, store them as low as possible. Preferably above the axis. In this way the road holding is more favorable and you extend the life of the caravan tires.
It is always nice to communicate with enthusiasts of the same hobby. Caravan forums meet this need. Even a simple question is answered quickly in this way. In addition, there are several caravan clubs that you can become a member of. I'll name a few:
- Carado Caravan Club
- Hobby Caravan Club Netherlands
- Free Recreation Foundation
- Fendt Caravan Club Netherlands
- Oldtimer Caravan Club
Well, why not? A caravan that completely matches your personal taste and style is great, isn't it? Caravan pimping has been all the rage in recent years. What do you pay attention to when you start restyling?
- Start by making a mood board.
- Decorative pillows are not expensive and provide a lot of atmosphere.
- Cozy and practical for a chilly evening: one or more throws.
- Lanterns or LED lights.
- Get the best stuff for a competitive price at the thrift store.
- You can turn your bedroom into a palace by choosing a mosquito net.
- Buy a nice plastic rug. This is practical and certainly enhances the atmosphere.
- Masking tape is ideal for hanging everything in the caravan.
Ready for another slut cabin? Another reason is of course also possible, but you want to sell the caravan. A few tips here:
- Set a clear and fair selling price.
- Create a well-arranged, clear and clear sales advertisement.
- The caravan must be clean and tidy when you get viewers.
- Get good photos.
- If necessary, choose an intermediary when selling your caravan.
Need another caravan yourself? New or second-hand? Be sure to visit a caravan dealer. You can also contact us if you need help selling your caravan.
Caravan insurance is not mandatory. Is your caravan linked to your car and you cause damage to someone else's car? Then this is covered by the third-party liability insurance for your car. Sometimes insurance for the caravan can be useful. A few points to consider:
- Caravan insurance covers damage that you incur as a result of fire, storm, burglary or an accident.
- Pay close attention to how it is with your own risk.
- If your caravan is a bit older, insurance is probably not useful.
- Pay attention to whether or not the inventory is co-insured, because that is not the case in all cases.
You can buy or sell your caravan on the marketplace, but pay attention to:
- Always ask for a BOVAG or FOCWA guarantee certificate.
- Pay close attention to any damage, especially in the outer plating.
- Always check whether the chassis number on the papers matches the number stamped on the chassis.
- Are there no torn window rubbers? Do you want to lose weight? This can indicate rotten floors or walls.
- Take someone with you in the know.
Which caravan is the best choice for you? There are so many caravan brands! Here are a few points to keep in mind:
- There are no more bad caravans these days.
- You will never find the ideal caravan, luckily you can always pimp it!
- Keep your budget in mind.
- What is the pulling power of your car?
- How and for what purpose do you want to use the caravan?
Rent a caravan
Would you like to rent a caravan before buying one yourself? Here are a few tips at a glance:
- Book the caravan on time.
- You must have a B driving license and be at least 21 years old.
- Pay attention to the pulling power of your car.
The caravan is clean? Ready for the stable! Please check the following points first:
- Completely drain the water tank and boiler and open the boiler.
- Remove the caravan battery. Place it in a frost-free place. Fully charge the battery at least 2 days before use.
- Thoroughly blow through the caravan tap and the pipes. This will remove any remaining water. Open the taps halfway.
- Never leave the set of mats on the floor because of chance of mold formation
- Disconnect pump
- Open the fresh water tank so that it can air.
- Open the refrigerator.
- Put all pillows upright.
- Remove the gas bottles from the caravan.
- Leave roller screens open so that there is no tension on the springs.
- Inflate the tires of the caravan well, do not put it on the supports because of insurance.
- Is the caravan inside? A window ajar ensures that the caravan can ventilate well throughout the winter.