Like your car, caravan servicing should be carried out annually – this is especially important if you have an older caravan! Not only for safety reasons (gas leaks, brakes, etc. ) but also so that you are safe in the knowledge that your caravan is roadworthy and safe to take away on your next trip.
If you do not have your caravan serviced regularly, I can pretty much guarantee something will break down sooner or later!
Whilst an annual caravan service does not guarantee that you won’t come across any problems. It will lessen the chances of unanticipated problems developing.
And if any issues are found they can be rectified quickly – avoiding any further potential damage.
Some choose to carry out the basic servicing themselves – whilst others (like myself) choose to have their vans inspected by a qualified technician.
This helps preserve the value of the caravan and shows that it’s been well-maintained to any prospective buyers down the line.
So today, I wanted to cover the caravan service process as best as I could so you know what will be involved – especially if you are new to caravanning.
First up, you need to decide whether you want a mobile service technician to come to you or whether you want to tow your van to a workshop.
Whichever option you go for make sure the technician has the proper qualifications needed to adhere to the industry’s Code of Practice.
You can use the ‘Find a Member‘ page to check the details of any caravan service engineer you are considering to work on your caravan.
If you have a new caravan ensure that the technician you use is dealer approved to preserve your warranty.
Caravan Servicing At A Workshop
- All work is carried out undercover, regardless of the weather conditions.
- Enough space to keep items in stock.
- Some dealers send out annual service reminders.
- You have to tow your caravan to the workshop and it might not be that local.
Using A Mobile Technician (this is what we do)
- 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.
Our caravan is now out of warranty so this option suits us – but bear in mind that a mobile technician cant carry out any warranty work if it’s needed.
Is A Caravan Service A Legal Requirement?
A caravan service, unlike a car’s MOT, is not required by law. In fact, just like a car repair, it is suggested that you have a service performed every year, even if you don’t have any manufacturer’s warranty requirements to meet.
A service is only to reassure you that your caravan is safe and free of any damage.
However, it IS a legal requirement that it is roadworthy and if it is not roadworthy then you won’t be covered by insurance.
The video below explains the importance of caravan servicing – I personally believe it should be a legal requirement just as an MOT is with a car.
How Much Does A Caravan Service Cost?
Caravan services can vary from technician to technician and whether you have a single or twin-axle caravan.
A caravan service can range anywhere between £200 to £300 depending on its age and number of axles.
We currently pay £250 for our annual service on a 10-year-old twin-axle Swift and he covers all the areas listed below:
What Does A Caravan Service Involve?
Caravan servicing generally falls into two categories:
- Overall safety and roadworthiness
- Overall condition of the caravan
In general, the following areas should be covered (this isn’t a definitive list):
The 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.
One of the most important aspects of a caravan service is the servicing of the braking system. The tension of the caravan handbrake will be tested and brake drums removed to inspect the pads etc. The caravan brake-away cable should also be inspected for its condition.
The Caravan stabiliser fitted is usually the AL-KO stabiliser hitch. In terms of servicing the caravan, alongside this it’s important to check the friction pads are clean for them to work effectively.
Grease and grime get stuck to the surface of the pads. If the friction pad still has sufficient depth it can be cleaned and reused as opposed to being replaced. Expect your service technician to simply change the pads if they are concerned by their condition.
Caravan Leisure Battery Test: The performance of your caravan leisure battery is an important consideration when it comes to an annual caravan service. Lots of owners now have motor movers fitted, so you need your leisure battery to be in good health for the mover to work.
A caravan service technician will check your leisure batteries state of charge and capacity. If your leisure battery has frequently been discharged below 50% this could have damaged the battery.
Electrical systems: All internal 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 they are wired correctly.
Also included in the checks are the fridge operation, consumer unit, TV socket, electric hob, microwave oven, 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.
Bodywork: 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.
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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%, 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.
Ventilation: The roof lights are opened and closed to ensure that they operate properly, and all fixed vents are checked for obstructions.
Fire & Safety: The smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector are tested and checked to make sure their replacement date hasn’t passed.
If you have a fire extinguisher on board, the expiry date will be checked, and if you carry a fire blanket, then the housing unit will be checked to ensure that it is secure.
The video below from the brilliant YouTube Channel Meet The Trudgians shows what you can expect to happen during your service:
What Doesn’t My Caravan Service Include?
For the most part, your typical caravan service won’t cover the motor mover, air conditioning, or solar panel system. Your service will also not include any ‘in-depth’ service of individual items such as the microwave and fridge, but they should be checked that they are working.
Repair work – Any damage that may be identified will most likely be an additional cost to replace or repair.
How Often Should My Caravan Be Serviced?
Your caravan service should be booked within a year of its previous service. To ensure you don’t potentially jeopardise any warranties – try to get your service done in the winter months when it is quieter – even if it means that your last service was only 8 months prior.
I hope this post helps you to fully understand what the caravan service involves and why it is so important. At the end of the day, you want your caravan to be safe for you, your family and other road users and most importantly, you want to enjoy your holiday safe in the knowledge that your caravan is fit for purpose!