Service it yourself
How to care for your caravan’s chassis, brakes, coupling and body
If your caravan, bush trailer or trailer has spent a few months with a roof over its head, some things might suddenly not work so well anymore. Now you have two options: you either cough up a lot of money for a service, or you can do it yourself. A caravan or trailer that isn’t properly maintained can end up costing you a lot of money.
Thankfully it is easy – and relatively cheap – to service and maintain it yourself. The secret lies in a good checklist. If you work your way through such a list, chances are slim that you’ll forget something.
And even if you don’t service your caravan yourself, you can still use the list to check if the guys at Speedy’s Servicing do a good job. Here’s what you need to check.
1 CHASSIS AND SHOCKS
The chassis supports the bodywork – in fact, it supports everything on top of it and therefore it should be thoroughly checked. Don’t just bend over and glance at it. Get on your back and give the chassis the Mark 1 eyeball test, because if the chassis breaks, you could get stranded in places where you’d rather not be. Clean it Check if there’s rust on the chassis. Clean and treat it, where necessary, with a lick of chassis paint. Then grease the moving parts and replace well-worn washers. Any cracks? Especially check around welding points for cracks. Sealing holes with bubblegum isn’t an option; ask an expert to fix the damage. Are the leaves peachy? While you’re under the caravan, take a look at the suspension. The one side of a leaf suspension system should be able to move through its rigid link. If it can’t, your suspension is worthless. Are the shocks shell-shocked? About half of the shaft should be visible. If there’s a leak somewhere, you should replace the shock absorber. It’s best not take chances with shock absorbers. Pipes and wires A large portion of your caravan’s wiring and plumbing run underneath it. Check for damage. Is the axle going anywhere? Ensure that the U-bolts around the axle are secure.
2 BRAKES AND COUPLINGS
Remember, according to the law, if your trailer weighs more than 750 kg (load included), it must have brakes.
OIL AND GREASE
Handle the handbrake
Make sure the spiral-shaped spring in the handbrake is well lubricated, as well as the locking mechanism.
Hose down the wheels and grease them well.
Remove the drums and hose everything down. A bit of paraffin does a good cleaning job. Then remove the brake pads and replace then, if necessary.
Adjust the brakes
Now you can adjust he handbrake as well as the trailer’s brake system.
At the bottom of the handbrake system,
If you own a caravan, it’s not merely a case of hitch, tow and light a fire. Just like your car, it also also needs a bit of tender loving care from time to time. So when it gets a breather in the winter, you should make sure that it sleeps safely and soundly.
there’s a long axle that can be adjusted with a nut. There are also two nuts here to adjust the brakes (one for each wheel). Ensure that these bolts run perpendicular to the centre axle so that the wheels brake simultaneously. Sometimes, you’ll need to make a few adjustments before the wheels brake together.
3 THE BODY
A caravan’s doors, hinges, locks and handles receive plenty of abuse. Make sure everything is still in one piece, clean and well lubricated.
Also make sure any fixing points on the tables are solid.
Do all the zip fasteners still work? And do the mosquito nets close properly?
Have a good look at the body as well as the awnings, tents and any other gear that’s attached to the outside of the caravan.
Inspect all the locks, hinges and handles. Clean and lubricate where necessary.
Make sure that all the bolts, nuts and fixing points are solid.
You obviously want your caravan to keep looking great for a long time to come, so especially inspect all the rubber and other finishing materials. It’s also very important that the rubber seals on the door and windows should be intact. Remember, even the tiniest hole will allow dust in.
Many trailers or caravans have a pop-up roof. Make sure that the hinges and any gas struts work. You don’t want to spend your entire holiday crouching.
Inspect the solar panel system, especially the connections and wiring.
Check if the water tanks and jerry cans are fixed in place.
Test if the corner steadies drop and lift smoothly. You’ll probably have to lubricate them thoroughly.