The day has finally arrived - the holiday you've been looking forward to for longer than you can remember. You've filled up your car with petrol, you've attached the towing bar onto the back of the car and your caravan is spick and span, ready for your annual caravan holiday. Your family are buzzing with excitement and you're just about ready to go - final checks pending. With so many things that can go wrong with a caravan, it's imperative that you ensure that you carry out the following checks prior to leaving on your holiday - you don't want to get halfway there and find you've forgotten something of vital importance, or find yourself stranded at the end of your time away. As always, safety first, make sure the following checks are undertaken before taking your caravan onto the road:
1. Check the tyre pressure on your car and the caravan
Tyres can deflate if they're left stagnant for a long period of time - before going on any car journey, you should be checking your car tyres, but make sure to check your caravan tyres as well. The last thing you want is to get halfway to the caravan park and find yourself with a flat. Make sure you check the spare tyre as well - if you don't have one, make sure you buy one before taking your trip. You should also take the time to ensure that you tighten up your wheel nuts prior to disembarking.
2. Check your insurance, road tax and breakdown cover is valid
This goes without saying - but prior to taking your trip, have a look over your insurance and breakdown policies to ensure that you're covered should the worst happen and you require roadside assistance. Don't risk it where your safety is concerned.
3. Check that your lights are all working
The lights on your car and caravan should be in working order - a replacement bulb is inexpensive enough, it may well be worth keeping some on hand just in case as well.
4. Remember to switch off...
Remembering what items need switching off and which need to stay on before towing your caravan can be a whole job in itself, but it's vitally important for your safety to ensure:
- That you turn off the LPG gas cylinder before setting off, and ensure that it's securely strapped into an upright position.
- Make sure your water and waste tanks are empty. If you want to store water, do so in a plastic container within the vehicle itself until the caravan is parked up again.
- Turn off the 12V master switch before exiting the caravan and locking the door. Your fridge selector switch should also be moved over to 12V. Any taps, shower controls and lights should be switched off for the duration of the drive.
5. Security checks
If you've invested in security systems or devices, ensure that you remove the wheel clamp and hitch lock before starting your journey, but also be sure to turn off any tracking devices that you have set up for your vehicle. Failing to do this will notify your device's monitoring centre and will cause an unnecessary follow up on the status of your caravan. Not ideal having to explain that your vehicle hasn't been stolen - you're actually the one towing it away.
- It's vitally important to check your caravan's noseweight before you leave - it doesn't hurt to check each time, as if the caravan is too light or too heavy, you may find that it becomes unstable whilst you're towing it, or alternatively the steering ability of the tow car could become compromised.
- Check your number plate matches the towing car - you don't want to get yourself into trouble with the transport police en route to your destination.
- Make sure that any cupboards or locker doors in the caravan are closed and locked - no one wants their belongings flying all over the place mid-journey, that's for sure.
- Check and adjust your towing mirrors before setting off. Caravan handbrake should be off - and just like that, you're ready to go! Happy caravanning.
Owning a caravan isn't something to be taken lightly - there are a lot of different pre-towing checks to undergo, some which could have much more drastic consequences than others. Owning a vehicle such as a caravan should be done respectfully and as safely as possible. Once you've arrived? Secure the caravan, secure your car and have the caravan holiday of a lifetime - we just know you're going to absolutely love it! And why wouldn't you?