If youíre not planning to use your touring
caravan through the winter months then itís vital that you take certain
precautions to ensure it will be well protected during the colder months,
and be in great condition when you come to use it again at the start of a
In this guest article Neil Walker, from caravan
and motorhome insurance specialists Caravan Guard
explains what precautions you should take.
Ensure the system is fully drained down
The most important consideration when preparing
your tourer for winter is to make sure all water is removed from both the waste
and fresh water systems as this has the potential to freeze and expand during
sub-zero temperatures, causing your caravan pipes to crack or burst. Set any
taps inside your caravan to open and make sure any exterior taps are too to make
sure any water left can run out of the caravan.
Once thatís done you may also want to use a
small amount of anti-freeze in the bathroom and kitchen plug holes to make sure
any last drops of water left in U-Bends wonít freeze.
Itís also important that you drain and clean the
caravanís cassette toilet, using lots of clean water to flush out the pipes,
before draining it fully. You might then want to apply a little bit of
maintenance spray (Thetford make versions of this) to the toilet seals and blade
to ensure it doesnít stick or corrode over the colder months.
Damp is the enemy
Condensation and damp can build up on the inside
of your caravan over the winter months, and in the short term can cause soft
furnishings and carpets to get a little mouldy but in the long term can create
much more serious issues if left untreated, with woodwork and the bodyshell
itself being at danger in serious cases.
The best way to stop this happening is to place
bowls of salt inside the caravan, which act as dehumidifiers over the winter
months, prop any cushions up in the middle of the caravan, and ensure all
mattresses have air circulating around them.
Internal doors, cupboards and draws should also
be propped open to allow some air to circulate and you should completely clean
out and empty the fridge freezer using a weak mix of bicarbonate of soda and
warm water, before propping open so air can circulate.
Protect from the weather
It doesnít matter if your caravan is going to be
stored at home or on a storage site, protecting your caravan from high winds and
the worst of the weather should be your top priority over winter. If storing at
home a caravan porch can achieve this for a relatively cheap price, and will
guard your van from falling snow and rain.
If you store your caravan on a storage site (or
donít want to build a caravan porch at home) then a breathable cover for your
caravan is a great way to protect the exterior of your tourer. Itís really
important that you buy a breathable one though as you want something which isnít
only waterproof and keeps the elements out, but also allows air to circulate.
A plastic cover doesnít let air in and as such
can cause condensation between the cover and the outside of your van, completely
negating all your hard work!
Look after your wheels
Having your caravan stood in one place over
winter can put a lot of stress on certain areas of your caravanís tyres, leading
to them becoming warped, damaged or cracked. If you intend on keeping your van
in one place and not moving it then you need to take some simple precautions to
make sure the tyres are in full working order when you next come to use it in
A simple way to spread the stress across the
tyre is to move the caravan every now and again, as this ensures different parts
of the tyre are taking the strain rather than focussing on one bit. Checking the
caravanís tyre pressures are set correctly will also help with tyre preservation
Winter wheels are another option open to you.
These replace your existing wheels completely with square metal holders, and
have the benefit of increasing security by making it extremely difficult to
steal the van (providing the actual wheels are securely stored away from the
Empty, clean, vermin free
If you arenít using your caravan then no one
else should be, right? Well unless you take a few simple precautions a few furry
critters could be making it their home through winter. Vermin such as mice and
rats are attracted to food crumbs so ensure all cupboards are fully cleaned out
and all foods removed.
You may also want to give the caravan itself a
thorough clean before laying it up for the winter, applying a protective wax or
polish (companies such as Fenwickís or AutoGlymís caravan specific products) to
help protect the van through winter, especially if you wonít be using a caravan
This is particularly important if you arenít
using a caravan cover as it will give water and dirt nothing to hold on to, and
make that first spring clean much easier next season.
Final things to check, and security
When your caravan is out of use during the
winter months it is vital that doors and windows are shut and your security is
engaged (this is usually a requirement of your caravan insurance also). If you
have a tracker or alarm which uses the caravanís leisure battery power then you
might have to connect an external power source to keep it running properly, or
give it a sporadic charge over winter.
If you only have mechanical security devices
which donít need electricity in order to function then it might be a good idea
to remove your tourerís battery altogether and store it in your house or garage
on trickle charge (or as recommended by the battery manufacturer) to keep it in
good nick over winter.
You should also disconnect gas bottles and place
them away from the caravan (usually in a shed or garage) to avoid them leaking
over winter, ensuring any valves are securely fastened.
This article was provided by caravan insurance specialists Caravan Guard
Further Reading and AdvicePlease also see this article on preparing your caravan for winter, also with some handy care tips if you are planning winter touring.