The M word
Wednesday, February 01 2017 Filed in: Maintenance | FAQ
Like any vehicle, a caravan or camper requires periodic maintenance to keep it in great working order and minimise the risk of breakages or failures on the road. Here are some the things that we do to keep our caravans and campers in great condition.
Its obvious that your average caravan or camper is basically a trailer. Most of us have a box trailer that sits outside, unused for months or years at a time, then called into duty to move house/go to the tip/collect your new Scandi furniture/whatever. Most of them see very little in the way of maintenance, until its forced - and thats not good.
Its worse if you take the same attitude to 3 tonnes of travelling holiday, barreling up the Stuart Highway when you are suddenly reminded of your overdue maintenance by a lot of noise and one of your caravan wheels overtaking you, as you slew off the road….
We have a very simple maintenance regime that is applied to all of our caravans and campers at regular time or distance triggered intervals (our GPS trackers give us a running total of km's travelled so we plan the bigger maintenance items on on that).
Heres what we do….
- We use the standard 50mm ball hitch for most of our vehicles. They just need a little grease inside the ball housing, and some lubricant (we use good old WD40) on the locking mechanism (not too much though as you don't want to give the dust something to stick to)
- Handbrakes are adjusted and lubricated, and the cable checked for any contact or wear.
- We have stainless steel pigtails on the gas bottles. These need to be checked periodically as the rubber lining can perish unnoticed.
- Jockey wheel lubricated and thrust bearing checked.
- Independent suspension regreased
- Brakes checked for wear and shoes/drums replaced as necessary. While in there we check the magnet as well; they wear out.
- Bearings are also checked and repacked or replaced as necessary. We also look for signs that the wheel assembly may have overheated - either from the trailer being towed with the handbrake on, or someone has adjusted the brake controller so they are working too hard. If the grease smells burnt we remove everything, clean it and refit with new grease throughout.
- Wheel nuts are checked to make sure they haven't come loose.
- Tyres checked for tread depth and uneven wear (bouncing trailer wheels over kerbs at roundabouts is not good for the wheel alignment) and rotated (including the spare)
- Battery condition and connection checked
Above the chassis it's a case of checking everything that moves - sliding beds, tv antenna, roof lifters, cupboard doors, awnings, windows, etc - if its not moving as it should it gets an appropriate response, be it lubrication, realignment, repair, replacement etc. We also check that things that shouldn't move, don't.
If you aren't doing major km's in your camper or caravan its worth checking it in for a service every year anyway - even when not on the move there are external components that can perish over time (tyres for example)
So, thats the basis for our maintenance regime.