December 11th, 2020 by
Caravanning is a fantastic spring, summer, and even autumn, pastime but once winter approaches and the season finishes, most sites shut down and all but the most dedicated caravanners hang up their keys for the winter. If you do intend to hibernate your caravan until you’re ready for spring adventures, then there are a few things you need to attend to before you say your end-of-season goodbyes.
Preparing your caravan for winter has a number of benefits: your van will be in better condition, you can avoid unnecessary damage, and it will require less work to get it ready for use.
Here are a few tasks to complete before winter comes:
Drain down the water system
We all know the damage that freezing weather can do to the pipes at home and a caravan’s pipes are no different. This means you’ll need to drain all the water from the cold and hot water system. Some choose to open all the taps and external drain covers on their last journey as the motion of the caravan travelling will bounce much of the water out. If you want to conduct a thorough job, you can use a caravan drain down kit which you can buy for around £70. Once drained, leave the taps open so that any residual water is less likely to freeze and expand.
Remove the toilet flush pump
Even if you use a drain down kit, there is one area where water may remain and that is the toilet flush pump. The easiest thing to do here is simply to remove it from the caravan and store in the house for the winter.
Give it a clean
It makes sense that you would clean your caravan before putting it away for the winter but there are more benefits to this than simply having a nice clean van. Using a specialist product like Pro-Kleen Caravan Over Winter Wash will not only clean your van, it will also afford it protection against algae, fungus, mould, acid rain, airborne pollutants, and birdlime. Of course, it won’t protect it from all dirt over the winter, but it will be easier to clean when you come to prep it for use in the spring.
One good tip is to be careful not to park it too close to trees if you can. Not only will trees drop leaves, but they’ll also house birds which will leave droppings everywhere.
To cover or not to cover?
Some people like the protection that a caravan cover can offer. A cover will certainly protect your van from some of the harsher elements of winter weather but if you park it in a location that is subject to high winds or heavy rain, a cover can in fact continuously rub across windows and cause some scuffing.
Look after the leisure battery
Just like a car battery, your caravan’s leisure battery requires regular charging. If you have an alarm or tracker fitted you will obviously need to leave the battery in situ. You can charge it using a hookup lead from the house or garage or even install solar panels on the van. If you don’t have these items that require power (though they are a good idea for security and may be conditions of your insurance), you can always just remove the battery and charge in the house. If you leave your caravan in storage over the winter, so charging it there would be difficult, you can buy a second battery and just go to swap it over once a month, remembering to charge the one you have at home, or use the solar power option (unless it is stored under cover).
Leave the handbrake off
This one seems counter-intuitive but the reason for leaving the hand brake off is that damp weather can lead to corrosion of metal over time. Leaving the handbrake on under tension could cause it to lock in place and make it very difficult to release again.
Naturally, this means you have to take other measures to make sure your caravan stays in place. This should include parking on flat ground, using chocks, and employing the corner steadies.
Look after your tyres
Tyres can incur more damage being parked for long periods than being towed. This is due to all the pressure resting on one part of the tyre. With most vans having just 2 tyres, that is a lot of pressure. There are a couple of ways you can minimise this. One is to simply move it very slightly periodically over the winter so that the wheel rolls over to a new position. If you are limited for space to do this, you can rotate the wheels manually by jacking the caravan up. Tyre savers can also help to displace the load of the caravan on tyres. Once a month should be sufficient.
Your caravan is most vulnerable when not being used so it’s prudent to have some security measures in place, especially if you are storing elsewhere. Again, you may find this is a condition of your insurance policy. Measures can include hitch locks, wheel clamps, and leg locks.
Leave a reply
Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required