Winter Care Tips For Your Caravan
- Posted by:
- Posted date:
These winter care tips for your caravan will ensure that your caravan is in perfect shape for when you need it during the summer.
When the winter months come around, it can be challenging to care for our motorhomes against the high winds and dropping temperatures without sometimes considerable expense.
If you do not properly prepare for the winter, you will notice your battery charging has dropped, inside taps don't work, and caravan tyres have deflated, among other problems.
If you would like to find out how to prepare your caravan for winter, be sure to read this article.
How to Prepare for Winter Storage
Practical caravan winter storage tips can help your vehicle survive the cold winter months with little to no issues. Here are our top tips for preparing for winter storage:
As the temperature drops, it can become humid and wet, meaning moisture traps itself, and corrosion can build up on metal surfaces. Placing a few dehumidifiers around the caravan will help with the moisture.
As with many parts of the caravan interior, your handbrake will be subject to this. When you leave the handbrake on, you will find it incredibly difficult to release it the following Spring, which is why this is such an important and overlooked part of getting your caravan ready.
You should park your motorhome on flat spots to ensure it does not roll, and ideally, place wheel chocks or other rubber ramps along the four wheels.
One of the most important parts of preparing your caravan for winter is to completely drain all the taps and water systems. When you have done this, be sure to leave your taps in the open position to prevent pipes from expanding and avoid damage. Not only will this prevent damp when you drain every last drop, but stop cracking, breaking and snapping of freezing pipework. The process of draining water correctly from your caravan involves building air pressure up with a floe drain down kit. Check your caravan supports this kit before buying one.
After you have drained the caravan water system, you should do the same with the flush pump. Above the toilet, you will have a flush tank that requires draining via the attached hose pipe. The waste outlet points on your caravan should also be cleaned and covered to ensure no pests can enter the unit during winter.
You should clean your caravan periodically, but a deep clean on the interior and exterior before storing it away for winter. This is to make the caravan easier to clean in Spring, as no amount of preparation can stop dirt from building up.
Cleaning the caravan roof and caravan walls with a gentle cleanser that won't leave moisture or a long-lasting odour is ideal for this purpose. This gives you a chance to ensure that everything is in good working order before storing the caravan for winter, focusing on appliances and areas such as the fridge, windows, wheels and other areas that need protection against the elements.
Protecting the caravan body is crucial over the winter months. Using a cover can protect the caravan windows from damage, but can also cause scratches and scuffs in the framework in especially windy areas.
If you live in less windy areas and believe that the van will be cleaner and safer under a cover, you can benefit from one. You should also clean the caravan cover to avoid algae growth and moss forming, as this can happen easily during the wetter months.
When you're regularly driving the caravan around, you will experience wear and tear of the tyres. It's not until you leave the unit for the winter months that you realise their condition.
The tow car will most typically have four wheels, and the single axle caravan will place the majority of the weight on two of those tyres. While your caravan remains on your driveway, the road or in storage, the weight is not balanced across the tyre and is placed on just one spot.
To stop your tyres from becoming damaged due to this, you should move the caravan slightly or rotate the wheels where possible. Some caravan owners choose to perform monthly tyre rotations to avoid the chances of flat spots forming. Sitting your caravan on level ground and lowering the corner steadies to be rested on blocks will also help extend their life throughout winter.
Leisure batteries are used as the main power source for 12v appliances and equipment in the caravan, and so they must be kept in good health to maintain consistent functionality.
Most caravans have an onboard charger that will keep the leisure battery charged up, but you can benefit from connecting this to your home. All of this is only for units with a caravan alarm system installed, as if you don't have one, you can simply remove the leisure battery during the winter months and charge it inside where it's warmer.
Most caravan insurance companies require an alarm or tracker to be fitted to the unit, which is why a second leisure battery may be needed in some cases.
You can swap the batteries out and charge them, depending on the amp power draw of your particular models. If your home reaches freezing temperature, you may damage the battery when stored for long periods.
Winter Care For Your Caravan
Performing these winter care tips for your caravan will help it survive those extended periods when it sits in the winter cold. The one thing you should consider is the storage yard or area that you choose to park the caravan over that time.
Where To Store
Whether you choose to park the caravan at your home, on the driveway, at a campsite, storage site or somewhere similar is your choice, but there are many benefits to choosing a secure storage site.
Despite being designed and driven outside on a regular basis, they should not be parked outside longer than you need them.
Parking under trees, for example, can lead to bird droppings and leaves damaging the paintwork and windows.
Finding a safe location on level ground can be difficult, but many campsites provide undercover storage. You may have overlooked it before, but where your caravan is stored can affect its lifespan heavily.
You should consider the caravan size and any exterior bodywork when looking into plots. Some sites will give you a designated plot for your caravan's requirements, but there can be written conditions and terms that you're unaware of.
Access times that are limiting, cleaning facilities, battery charging and other water and electrical outputs are commonplace in most facilities, but not all. You should be able to visit freely, which some compounds don't allow.
Most compound or campsites have a water supply and electrical output station, giving you the freedom to wash down your caravan before you take it out on the road again when Spring comes around. These sites are a great place to store your caravan if you're ever in doubt.
Tips For Winterizing Your Caravan
Winterizing your caravan doesn't have to take lots of time, but investing effort into doing these things can save you lots of time and money in the long run. While caravan storage is the most important thing to consider, these little steps can help you tenfold.
Check your windows to see if the rubber window seals need replacing or are beginning to crack. They will not survive the changing temperature if they are breaking or not of good quality. Attempt to keep condensation as little as possible and the panes in good condition.
Remove gas cylinders and gas bottles from the caravan, ensuring to store them in a cool and ventilated place. You may have a gas locker installed in your caravan, which is used to store gas bottles, so be sure to remove this and store it in them if possible.
Remove all valuable items from the caravan, such as TVs, gaming consoles, electrical appliances, radio units etc.
Clean the awning in a dry place, spreading it out as much as possible to achieve good ventilation. Use sensitive cleaning products to ensure you can use it the following season.
Flush out the toilet waste tank and apply a small amount of olive oil to the opening blades, leaving the blade open throughout winter. Stubborn calcium deposits can collect on the tank walls and any moving parts in the toilet system, so it's essential to get these before they harden. Be sure to leave inside taps open too.
Take soft furnishings and all the cushions out from the caravan, storing them in your garage or home for the winter. A caravan that does not have seat cushions, furnishings and other essential items is much less attractive to a thief.
If your caravan does not have an alarm system, remove the 12v battery and store it somewhere dry. Do the same with smoke detectors, battery-operated clocks and other devices.
Empty all kitchen cupboards and anywhere else food is stored on the caravan, which prevents bugs, mice and other pests from entering in your absence.
Drain your water heater down, ensuring it is empty from fresh water. Anti-freeze can be used to stop water inside radiators and heaters from freezing. Double-check you remove as much water as you can.
Remove all food from the fridge and clean it out. This can be done with bicarbonate of soda or another specially formulated chemical that won't harm the appliance. You should then leave the door ajar to allow air circulation. It's important to clean any rust rings appearing on metal surfaces during this time.
Remove all water filters to stop water from freezing when the temperature drops and causing potential damage to the system.
After cleaning and removing the above, the final thing you should do is install the necessary security devices on the unit. This includes wheel clamps, leg locks, hitch locks and anything more you deem worthy. Most of these tips involve common sense and knowing your area, as even a little preparation can go a long way for the few months your caravan is left cold.
Are you looking for caravan and motorhome storage in East Lothian or Scotland? We offer secure storage facilities with 24 hour CCTV security with 7 day access.