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Prepare your caravan in time for the summer holidays

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If your caravan has been closed up for months, it will need a thorough check and cleaning inside and out, to be ready for the summer caravan holidays.

Generally, the task can be divided into two areas: cleaning and maintenance. Where you start will probably depend on the nature and size of the job; if the van has been leaking, plug the leaks before the rain gets to your newly cleaned interior.

Start the process by opening all the doors and windows on a warm sunny day, to avoid breathing stale air and mildew.

External maintenance

  • Give the caravan a good wash down to remove any mould or dust. Then you’ll be able to see and repair any peeling paint or rust spots should it be required.
  • Check the running gear for rust, nicks and wear, and grease all moving parts.
  • Make sure the wheel hub and bearings are well-greased and free of dirt or rust.
  • Check to see if the tyres need pumping up or replacing
  • Check the coupling, safety chains and jockey wheel.
  • Test the brakes on the caravan and towing vehicle. Make sure the electric brake controller is connected and working.
  • Grease the corner steadies so they wind smoothly.
  • Test batteries and generators.

Internal maintenance

  • Run water through the system to flush it out. Use an appropriate cleaner to sterilise the tanks ready for use. Test for leaks then refill with fresh water.
  • Reinstall the toilet cassette and check the seals. If they’re dry, a smear of lubricant such as Vaseline should be enough to get them working.
  • Connect to electricity and check the power points and lights.
  • Reconnect the gas and test outlets. Refill gas tanks.
  • Check the fire extinguishers and batteries in the smoke and carbon monoxide detector.
  • Test all doors, handles and window latches, and tighten or lubricate where necessary.

Give it a spring clean

Your caravan will need a thorough scrubbing, inside and out.

  • Clean the fridge with a mild detergent and leave the door open to dry.
  • Scrub the bathroom, toilet and sinks.
  • Look in every corner and crevice for mildew, which isn’t good for your health.
  • Air mattresses and seating.
  • Wash and replace soft furnishings.
  • Check the fly screens and window seals are tact, including the seals on the skylight.

Restock

The last thing you want on your first evening away is to be trying to open that celebratory bottle of wine with a knife. Keep a check list of necessities and make notes when something is broken, lost or used.

Finally, check that your caravan insurance is up to date and you’re ready for the road. Unless you’re 100 per cent confident about doing it yourself, call a mobile firm to service the caravan and check on the electricity and gas connections.

Your caravan is now ready for summer. Here are some clues on how to find the perfect camping spot.

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