Practical Caravan


- John Sootheran

GLEAMING CARAVANS are an impressive sight, but as they get older, that sparkle turns into a grey tinge, with tiger stripes.

Maintainin­g the pristine state of your beloved tourer can seem impossible, especially when it’s parked up over a long winter.

Regular cleaning helps, but while it adds a superficia­l shine, dust, grime, sap and droppings sink into the paint surface, and are a devil to shift. Over time, painted aluminium and GRP panels succumb to fading.

Abrasive cleaners can give a temporary shine, but they work by removing a thin layer of paint with each applicatio­n, so won’t serve so well in the long term.

However, there is a solution. Modern nanocerami­c and Teflon finishes ‘glaze’ the surface of the panels with a tough, long-lasting coating, which resists the obvious effects of bird droppings (did you know the white part is uric acid?) and damaging sap, and the less obvious effects of UV radiation.

These finishes are carefully applied by hand, to resist attack and minimise the chances of GRP panels becoming chalky.

They are also hydrophobi­c, so water won’t sit on them. Instead, it beads or sheets off, eliminatin­g drying marks and providing an extra level of protection.

Black streaking is the bane of every caravanner’s life, however meticulous­ly you clean your van. This is caused when the surface layer of black rubber seals breaks down and is carried away by rain, forming those annoying stripes.

Caravanner­s spend a great deal of time trying to remove them, often doing yet more damage in the process with overly abrasive cleaning products. By applying a protective finish early on, those stubborn streaks wash right off.

There are many brands of protective coating available on the UK market, but two of the best known are Paintseal Direct and Diamondbri­te.

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