When your caravan or camper is not being used, a few precautions will ensure that your investment will not deteriorate or lose value while awaiting the next holiday.
Firstly, it is important to take the weight off the springs and tyres if the van is going to be left standing in the one place for more than a few weeks. Using the normal corner jacks is not recommended. Placing blocks under the axles will remove the load from the tyres but not the springs. Ideally, in addition to blocks under the axles, stands should be placed under the chassis. By raising the chassis weight is taken off the tyres as well as the springs. Two stands should support the chassis, a short distance behind the wheels and two more near where the A frame is attached to the chassis. By using the jockey wheel to move the van up or down this can be achieved quite easily. It is not necessary to have the tyres clear off the ground. Lifting the caravan up 50mm 75mm will take sufficient load off the tyres. The corner jacks can still be used to compliment the stands but they should not be relied upon to take the caravan weight by themselves. Obviously some protection against the elements, like a garage or carport is much preferred. If this is not available adopting the following procedures will help to protect your unit:
- Wash the roof and check the sealer along joints and edges for cracks. If cracks exist remove old sealer and using a good quality compound, reseal. It is usually necessary to unscrew the mouldings. Someone specialising in caravan repairs and maintenance can either advise on the most suitable product.
- Clean the outside of the van and apply a good quality automotive polish. Although cleaning and polishing a caravan is a time consuming task, the effort is well worthwhile. In addition to making it look great the polish will protect the paint and prevent it fading.
- Cover the gas cylinder to prevent moisture affecting the regulator and valve or causing corrosion to the cylinder. Alternatively remove the cylinder and store under cover. If the cylinder is removed tape up the end of the hose or pipe.
- Cover the coupling and brake master cylinder if the van is an older model which has override brakes fitted. A large plastic bag is suitable, but make sure that it is not completely sealed as condensation may occur.
- Paint the A frame and any other exposed parts of the chassis. Although traditionally a silver paint is often used any good quality exterior enamel can be applied. Always prepare the surface as directed by the paint manufacturer.
- Ideally the wheels and tyres should be removed and stored in a cool, dark area. If this is inconvenient at least cover the tyres to prevent contact with the sun's rays. Also reduce tyre pressures to about 2/3 the normal pressure. Periodic cleaning of the tyres with soapy water (not strong detergents) is also beneficial.