While caravans do not require too much maintenance during the warmer months of the year, the same cannot be said during the autumn and winter months. If you do not take the time to make sure that your caravan is prepared for lower temperatures, frost, dampness, ice and snow, you may find that you are left with big, expensive problems that need to be fixed, come spring. However, provided you spend a little time on maintenance in the run up the colder months, your caravan is far more likely to work perfectly when the sun begins to shine once more.
If you have an older caravan and are concerned that it might get damp inside, make sure to remove as much of the soft furnishings as you can, just in case some mould starts to creep in over the course of the colder months. Things like bedding, pillows, cushions and curtains should all be taken out and stored in your own home. To prevent a musty smell from building up, open all of the cupboards and internal doors, as this will allow air to circulate. In addition to this, clean out all of the cupboards and check that there are no open packets of food, or crumbs, as these could attract mice or rats. However, it is fine to keep non-perishable items like tinned food in the caravan.
At the start of autumn, is a good idea to take care of the water system. Ideally, both the hot and cold systems should be drained. This is easy to do. Simply remove the drain plug (this can usually be found on the outside of the van) and open all of the taps. While the process itself is not at all complicated, it can take quite a while –up to an hour in some cases. If your caravan comes with a water filter, this will need to be removed before you store away the caravan for the winter period. A new filter should then be installed just before you use the vehicle again in spring or summer. All of the waste outlets and water inlets should also be closed up, to prevent moisture, as well as insects and rodents, getting into the van. The experts at the Caravan Club also recommend adding some anti-freeze to the waste tanks, so as to ensure the water inside does not freeze when the temperature begins to drop.
Batteries and gas cylinders
The leisure battery should be removed and ideally, its charge should be topped up every month or so. Many people leave the battery in, as they worry that the caravan’s alarm will stop working without it. However, this is not the case for most caravan alarms, as these devices usually run off of a separate battery. In addition to taking out the leisure battery, a lot of caravan enthusiasts online recommend removing the gas cylinders and storing them somewhere that has adequate ventilation. If this is not an option, then check that the cylinders are completely switched off and that you have locked the gas compartment, before you store the caravan away.