Simon Mortimer

See other Advice articles filed in ‘On the road’ written by Simon Mortimer
   
When the end of the year approaches, make sure your van is ready for the colder months – Practical Caravan shows you how to prepare you caravan for winter

Practical Caravan's experts share their top 20 tips to help keep your caravan safe and in the best condition possible when you tuck it away for winter. Investing a little time and effort before putting your caravan into storage will save you time and money in the long term, and keep your caravan ready for your next touring adventure!

1. SITING

Think carefully about where to site your caravan through the winter months. Make sure it’s a safe location. We’d suggest choosing a member of the Caravan Storage Site Owners’ Association for this.

2. WINDOWS

Check if any of your caravan’s rubber window seals need to be replaced.

3. GAS

Remove gas cylinders and place them in a cool, ventilated place.

4. BODYWORK

Clean the exterior bodywork using the appropriate cleaning products for the walls and plastic windows.

5. TOWING ELECTRICS

Inspect and clean the caravan to tow car 13-pin electrical socket, and coat it with a water inhibiting product such as Vaseline.

6. SECURITY

Remove all valuables such as TVs, radio units and such like. And fit visible security products, both for practical reasons and as a deterrent to potential thieves. If you’re storing it at home on your driveway, consider a security post.

7. AWNING

Spread out and clean your awning in a dry area. Try removing stains and spots with the appropriate cleaning product. Store your awning in a dry area.

8. BATTERY

Unless it’s connected to a caravan alarm system, remove the 12V battery and store it in a cool, dry place. Check it regularly, and top up its charge levels when necessary. Remove the batteries from battery-operated clocks, smoke detectors and the like, too.

9. COVER

If you opt for a caravan cover, make sure it’s made of a breathable material, otherwise condensation and mould can grow underneath it.

10. POSITION

Avoid trees where sap or, worse, branches may fall on the caravan.

11. BLINDS

Make sure all the blinds and flyscreens are fully retracted to avoid damage to the springs that help the blind return to its retracted position.

12. WATER FILTERS 

Remove water filters to prevent any water held in them freezing and potentially damaging the unit.

13. TYRES AND STEADIES

Site your caravan on level ground, then lower the corner steadies and rest them on blocks or pads. Chock the wheels. Leave the handbrake off if it’s to be in storage for a length of time. Visit the caravan throughout the winter months and turn the wheels to avoid the risk of flat spots on your tyres.

14. INTERIOR 

Give the caravan interior a thorough clean before tucking it up for winter.

15. WATER SYSTEM

Open all the taps in the caravan, including the shower control. If you have a lever tap, ensure it’s mid-way between the hot and cold positions. Open the caravan’s drain taps, and consider a Floe system to flush that last drop of water from the pipework. Put plugs in the kitchen sink, washroom basin and shower tray.

16. VENTILATION

Leave vents uncovered so air can circulate inside the caravan. We’d recommend visiting the caravan regularly while it’s in storage over the winter months and leaving small bowls of salt dotted around the caravan to help absorb condensation.

17. TOILET

Empty and flush through your toilet waste tank and apply a little bit of olive oil to the opening blades, then leave them in the open position.

18. FRIDGE

Empty the fridge, clean it out with a solution of bicarbonate of soda or similar, and leave the door ajar so that air can circulate.

19. HEATING

Drain down your caravan’s water heater – read the instructions for how to do this for your particular model’s system.

20. FURNISHINGS

Remove soft furnishings and replace them in a warm, dry place wherever possible – remember, seat cushions in particular are very expensive to replace, and a caravan without them is far less attractive to a potential thief.

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