Every year around April the vast majority of caravaners will head off for the first outing of the year in their caravans. A large proportion of these will at some point between Christmas and Easter have plans to have the caravan serviced to ensure all appliances are working correctly and the ‘van gets a clean bill of health before its heads out on to the road.
With that in mind I thought it might be useful to walk through some of the points that happen during a service, in particular, a mobile service so you know what to expect when the engineer turns up.
First of all, when you meet the engineer he will want to chat through with you a bit of history and get a feel for the caravan and the owners so he can learn about how you use the van, whether on site with electric hook up or of grid fending for yourself in a field. It will make a difference to the potential problems that may be found. I normally do a full workaround with the customer to make sure the caravan has no damage and discuss any problems that may have been noticed when it was last used. At this point I make sure I have enough room to get all the way around and work safely with either injuring myself or damaging the caravan. We normally ask for about a metre on each side so we can get the wheels off and check the brakes and have access to the lockers and battery box. It also helps to be on flat solid ground but if it is on grass it useful to let the engineer know when booking so we can bring boards to support the jack and axle stands.
All engineers have their own way of doing things but personally I like to start by getting the wheels off, cleaning out and adjusting the brakes and checking the tyres before moving on to the overrun, running lights and then checking the gas system. Once I’m happy there are no gas leaks and all the safety features of each appliance are working correctly on gas then I will pack up those tools and get ready to inspect the 12v and 240v electric systems. This would entail a RCD test to ensure the trips do trip and within the prescribed amount of time. This can only be done with a specific and calibrated RCD tester and ensures that should there ever be a problem with a mains appliance the safety devices intend to protect the occupants are working correctly. All plug sockets are checked to make sure they are wired up correctly and there are no issues and then we test current draw from each appliance to make sure that they are working properly and safely. If the current being drawn on an appliance is out of sync with what we would expect then this could signal that the appliance is starting to have a problem and we can prepare the customer to keep a check for it failing.
The final system to be tested is water. The system is filled and all pipes checked for leaks then the taps are switched on to make sure all micro switches operate the pumps or if its a pressure switch system then it switches on and off as it should. It is left drained down and ready for use the next time you go away.
After the water system checks I will go through and check seals, window rubbers, window catches and cupboards to make sure everything works smoothly. I lubricate locker door seals to prevent them drying out and perishing causing water ingress. Finally I carry out a full damp check using a calibrated damp meter to determine the level of moisture in the walls, floor and ceiling. Any issues will be presented to the customer in the form of a damp report for further reference with options on the best course of action.