As the summer draws to an end, you may be thinking about caravan storage for the winter. Here are some tips on how to prepare your van for its annual hibernation.
It's well-worth cleaning the bodywork of your caravan before you put it into storage. Pay particular attention to any mould or mildew that could cause permanent staining if left on the van over the winter. This not only means that your van will be spruced-up and ready to go in the spring, it also gives you a chance to highlight any damage that might have gone unnoticed.
Have a good look at the electrics and van to car connections to make sure that they are clean, dry and free from damage. A light smear of petroleum jelly across the connections can help to keep damp at bay.
If you are covering your caravan, make sure that the cover fits properly and has reinforced seams to cover the corners and awning rails.
If possible, always store your caravan on hard-standing ground and under cover rather than on grass and out in the open. This helps to prevent your van's tyres from degrading due to weathering. It's also a good idea to pay your van a visit every month or so to turn the wheels so that the pressure is varied all around the tyre.
Fixtures and fittings
Before putting your caravan in storage, remember to put the interior fixtures and fittings in order. Start by checking fridges, ovens and storage cupboards to make sure that no items of food have been overlooked and left inside. Clean out the fridge thoroughly and wedge the door open so that interior remains dry and free from mildew.
Take out all soft furnishings and store them somewhere clean, dry and well-ventilated to prevent mould and mildew from forming. If you have fixed beds in your caravan, it's a good idea to leave them open to allow good air circulation and prevent them from becoming musty. Similarly, leave wardrobe and locker doors open.
Finally, close all the windows, and leave pull-down blinds in the up position so that the springs don't stretch while the van is out of use. To prevent door hinges from rusting or becoming stiff, apply a dressing of light oil.
Toilets must be flushed out, drained and cleaned, including the waste tank. Drain-down all water pipes thoroughly so that residual water can't freeze and damage the valves. Leave all taps open and remove any shower heads.
Gas and electrics
Disconnect and remove batteries and take them home so that you can periodically top-up the charge. This will save you the frustration of a flat battery in the spring.
All gas cylinders should have their top valves closed and the regulators disconnected. Remember to cap-off any open pipework.
If you are using a storage facility, always check with the management company that it is acceptable to store gas cylinders with your van. Some places don't allow this for safety reasons, in which case you'll need to disconnect the cylinders and take them home.
You can ensure that your caravan emerges from its winter sleep in good condition and ready to go next spring by following the tips given above.