Bradley Jando | Wednesday 1st January 2020 11:20am
If you’re considering buying a caravan, you might be interested to learn of the maintenance that comes with owning one. As they’re different vehicles to cars, they come with an alternative set of rules when it comes to maintenance and servicing. Caravans share similarities with car servicing and maintenance as well as having their own specific areas, but as some rules are connected to legislation, you need to be aware of them to avoid breaking the law.
Do caravans need servicing?
Although they’re sometimes confused with one another, MOTs and services are entirely different things. When a car is over three years old, it will need to go through an MOT test every year in order to confirm it is road legal and therefore conform to UK law. It is an inspection on the condition of the vehicle, and if it doesn’t meet the standards of the MOT tester - such as serious issues with lights, tyres, breaks or the engine - it will be illegal to use the vehicle on UK roads. If you own a car over three years old, you should make sure that you’ve booked an MOT every year to avoid breaking the law. However, caravans don’t require an MOT, with the only consideration being that it’s safe for road use, regularly getting it serviced for this reason alone.
Servicing is a more in-depth mechanical assessment of the vehicle. Interim servicing, full servicing and major servicing are the three degrees that you can service a vehicle, and it’s something that applies to a caravan as much as it does to a car. A service isn’t required by law, for either cars or caravans, in the same way that an MOT is, but many people get this done at the same time as the MOT as they’re often carried out by the same people. Many people voluntarily service their vehicles as it can maintain the value and prolong its lifespan.
What does a caravan service involve?
As caravans are built differently to cars, they have a number of additional checks that need making during a service. The brakes and wheels would be looked over just like with any vehicle service, but it would also be necessary to conduct extra checks that are bespoke to caravans and similar vehicles.
In a typical full service of a caravan, there’s a practically endless list of processes for the person servicing it. This is partly due to the additional features that many caravans have, such as kitchen and bathroom appliances. With these considerations being added to all the things that would be checked on a typical service, the person doing the checks would have to spend more time than they might on a car. From the many different checks, the key areas of caravan servicing include the chassis and running gear, the bodywork and trims, the gas system, the electrical systems, the water system, ventilation, fire and safety, and a carbon monoxide health check.
How often should you change caravan tyres?
Despite looking almost identical to car tyres, tyres used for caravans need to be capable of carrying the extra weight. For a single axle caravan, every wheel needs to be strong enough to support at least half the weight of the whole caravan. As this could be more than a quarter of a typical car’s weight, it’s clear to see how much stronger these tyres are. Car tyres shouldn’t be used on a caravan unless the supplier has specifically stated that they can take the weight.
Tyres aren’t created exclusively for caravans, with it usually being the case that you would need to use extra strong car tyres or tyres that are intended for small vans. Even though they’re strong enough for holding extra weight, the tyres on your caravan should be checked frequently, assuming the worst to ensure your own safety.
Caravans tend to be used sparingly throughout the year, and they may only be used a lot over the space of a few days for a single trip. However, these tyres will eventually deteriorate over time, even when they are not being used. Excessive use in short bursts and strain caused by being stored and leaning all of the weight onto one part of each tyre can take its toll. Due to these factors, caravan tyres should be replaced every five years, with seven years being the absolute limit.
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