Your caravan or recreational vehicle (RV) is a home away from home, offering all the creature comforts you need, including a bathroom, kitchen and sleeping facilities. To keep all these facilities in good working condition, thorough and timely service and maintenance checks are required.
We’ve made things simple for you by breaking down how often you should be checking things, how to recognise specific faults and when it’s time to call on the experts.
Keeping on top of servicing and maintenance means being organised. Knowing how to service your caravan includes undertaking annual servicing, regular general maintenance and winter preparation and maintenance. Also, you should make intermittent maintenance checks on the following items:
- Brake adjustment procedure: To be performed in strict accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Brake drum/hub: The brake drum should be checked for excessive wear in accordance with our safety checklist. Also, anytime the drum is replaced, a new magnet should be installed (if the brakes are electric).
If any item in your caravan stops working, attend to it immediately. If it’s an electrical item, check it and if necessary replace the fuse. If this doesn’t resolve the problem, call an electrician to professionally inspect the entire system. If you notice a gas leak, switch off the valve, evacuate the caravan and seek emergency help.
Things you can DIY before your next service appointment
In between your routine and specific checks, be sure to keep up with the things you can do yourself to maintain your own caravan, if only to identify what outside professional help you may require.
Regular routine checks should include:
- Road lights and electrical connections between car and caravan
- Tyre condition, age and pressure.
- Wheel rims – check for kerbing damage
- Wheel nut tightness (80 kilometres after servicing and before each trip)
- Greasing of the coupling head (however, for special purpose sway-control couplings like the AL-KO AKS range, you don’t want to lubricate the ball at all, since this will negate the effect of the friction pads which grip the ball and resist caravan sway)
- Condition of breakaway cable and clip
- Battery charge state
- Visual condition of flexible gas hoses and regulator connections
- Flame colour from cooker and gas appliances (if yellow flames appear, consult a professional)
- 12-pin or 7-pin connection cables, plugs and sockets for signs of wear or looseness
- The residual current device (RCD) cut-out safety test switch – make sure it works
- All water hoses – ensure tightness of connections
- Ventilation and gas drop-out vents – check they are not blocked or obscured
- The stabiliser friction pads for wear or contamination (for AKS sway-control couplings)
Call on the experts
We recommend that you engage an RVM Australia accredited service technician for any works on your caravan or motorhome. RVM technicians are bound by the RVM Australia code of ethics and work to the highest standards. It’s the safest option and may also save you from having to replace things due to inadequate repair.
Look for the RVM Australia badge when sourcing your local manufacturer or technician and be sure to contact one for matters relating to:
- Gas equipment or connections to gas appliances
- Mains electrical supply
- Any work on chassis or brakes including removal and refitting of brake drum Fitting items directly to the chassis
- Electric brake controllers
- Damp checking
- Warranty work
- Repairs to exterior bodywork
- Floor delamination or ‘spongy floor’
Now that you know how to service your caravan, you’ll be assured the safest and most comfortable holiday experience for you and your family. For things you can DIY, check our hints and tips for changing your caravan tyre [changing your caravans tyre] and repairing a leaking roof.