Sammy FairclothSee other Advice articles filed in ‘General caravan advice’ written by Sammy Faircloth
Caravan servicing is essential, but getting the work done can be a hassle.
And selecting a reputable workshop or service engineer to carry out a caravan service can be a bit of a minefield.
Fortunately, in collaboration with the National Caravan Council (NCC), The Caravan & Motorhome Club and The Camping and Caravanning Club, the Approved Workshop Scheme (AWS) was created.
To join the scheme, the fixed or mobile workshop needs to pass a rigorous annual inspection carried out by an independent inspector.
The technicians must have formal qualifications and need to adhere to the industry’s Code of Practice.
With this in mind, the customer (you) will have peace of mind that the work is carried out to a high standard – find out more and search for your nearest approved firm here.
The next stage is to establish whether you want the engineer to come to you (a mobile service engineer) or if you want to take the caravan to a fixed workshop.
Here are some thoughts to assist with your decision.
Caravan servicing at a workshop
- All work is carried out undercover, regardless of the weather conditions.
- Space to keep items in stock.
- Some dealers send out annual service reminders.
- It is your responsibility to deliver your caravan to the workshop and this may not necessarily be that local.
Using a mobile technician
- Mobile technicians can visit you at home but can also carry out the service at a storage facility (but check with your storage provider before booking a mobile technician).
- The technician requires one metre of clear space around the caravan.
- There’s no need to tow your caravan to a workshop, which saves you the logistical hassle and cost of fuel.
- No journey to and from a workshop saves you time.
What should be included in a basic caravan service?
A basic service can cover around 60 individual jobs and will take approximately four hours.
In general, the following areas should be covered (this isn’t a definitive list):
- Chassis and running gear
Includes the coupling head area, corner steady lubrication, tyre checks (including the spare wheel), brake adjustment, underneath the caravan and the jockey wheel.
- Electrical systems
All internal lights and external lights are assessed to see if there are any faults. Sockets are tested using a loop check, which sends a signal down to verify that it is wired correctly. Also included in the checks are fridge operation, consumer unit, TV socket, electric hob, the microwave oven, the battery and anything else that requires electricity. A Residual Current Device (RCD) check involves making sure the RCD trips within a set time. In addition, the Miniature Circuit Breakers (MCBs) and fuses are checked to ensure they are correct for the appliances in the vehicle.
- Gas systems
A manometer checks for leaks in the gas supply system. All gas appliances, such as the oven, fridge, heating system and water heater, are turned on in order to check that they are working properly. All vents will be checked to see if they are clear. Then all appliances are turned off at the gas isolator taps. The Flame Failure Device (FFD) should then cut in, meaning that the check has passed. The CO (carbon monoxide) Room Test requires all gas appliances to be turned on. At the same time, a Flue Gas Analyser runs for a minimum of 15 minutes with all doors and windows closed.
- Water systems
All taps are individually checked for leaks and the waste water outlet is observed for blockages. The toilet is inspected to ensure that the valve seal is well lubricated and the battery-operated flush is working.
All doors, windows and blinds are assessed for smooth operation. General observations are made of the entire bodywork and this includes a visual inspection of the roof. A damp check is carried out around the inside of the caravan. If the reading on the damp meter is between 0-15%, then there are no concerns. However, if the reading is between 15-20%, then it will require further investigation and a re-check within a three-month period. If the reading is more than 20% then immediate attention is required because this highlights an area of water ingress. The service technician should give you a Damp Report at the same time the service is carried out.
The roof lights are opened and closed to ensure that they operate properly, and all fixed vents checked for obstructions.
- Fire & safety
The smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector are tested and checked to make sure their replace date hasn’t passed. If you carry a fire extinguisher, the expiry date will be checked and if you carry a fire blanket, then the housing unit is checked to ensure that it is secure.
What’s not included in caravan servicing?
It is important to establish what is not included in a basic service, because some workshops or technicians may not include the damp test.
The following would require an additional payment:
- In-depth service of individual appliances, such as the fridge
- Motor mover
- Solar panel
- Air conditioning.
With all the modern appliances found in caravans, it is more important than ever to have a regular service to ensure everything is in good working order and that your tourer is safe to use on the road, as well as being habitable for you and your guests.
Sophisticated equipment requires sophisticated tools, so it makes sense to use an AWS workshop or AWS mobile technician.
You’ll be safe in the knowledge that your caravan servicing has been carried out by a competent technician.
Don’t forget to ask for a service check sheet and damp report – they’ll be useful when the time comes to sell your caravan.