Feel confident in your home on wheels by conducting these important maintenance checks before your next adventure.
Clean your van
Climb inside the van and begin with an easy task – making sure that everything opens easily and shuts properly, including security doors, fold-out chairs, and cupboard latches. Once your furnishings have been checked, it’s time to get cleaning. Start off with some dusting and a good vacuum before moving onto a deeper clean. No matter how long it’s been between trips, it’s a good idea to disinfect all surfaces, including benchtops, cupboards, your toilet and shower. Flush your water tank with some disinfectant before filling it up with clean water. Next, open parts of your van like the pop-top, awnings and other places where infestations of creepy-crawlies may have set up camp.
While you go about your spring-cleaning, keep an eye out for mould. Mould loves damp and poorly ventilated spaces, so you’re likely to find it growing in your shower, sink or pipes.
Check your connections
Before you start your journey (and at every stop along the way), you need to be checking your van’s connections and fittings, including the water pump; leads, adapters and power supply; towing connection and safety chains; and gas.
Make sure your tyres are in top condition
Understanding the terrain on which you’ll be driving will determine what level of preparation is required. What type of journey are you expecting? Will you take long stretches of smooth highway, or an off-road route? Your tyres are the only things between you and the road – so make sure those wheels of yours are safe. Verify that your tyres are roadworthy by checking the air pressure and looking for signs of damage – they may feel full of life, but tyres are perishable and you don’t want to find yourself facing a flat during your trip. It’s always a good idea to check the date stamp on your tyres to see if they need to be replaced. All caravans must also be fitted with the correct tyre size. For off-roading, ensure that you have the appropriate sidewall and tread piles to reduce any unnecessary risks. It should go without saying, but be sure to always carry a spare tyre.
Are your brakes and lights in working order?
You won’t be going anywhere unless your brakes and lights are reliable. Can you remember the last time they were replaced? The easiest way to test your brakes is to go for a drive down a quiet street, in a car park, around your backyard (if big enough), or up and down the driveway. Make a note of any unusual noises, delays or juddering. This could be a sign that they’re wearing thin. Remember: safety comes first!
Get into the habit of checking your caravan’s lights; in fact, you can complete a light check while testing your brakes. If a light isn’t working, it may simply need a new globe, so always carry spare bulbs with you. Just like your brake check, take your van around the block both during the day and at night to make sure your lights are adequately lit.
The Spring 2023 edition of Caravanning Australia is out now!