Spring is the time for many camping enthusiasts to get their caravan or folding trailer out of the stable.
After all those months of hibernation, how do you get them back in top condition for the new season?
The ANWB and BOVAG regularly observe that camping enthusiasts go out with caravan tires that are no longer in good condition.
"If a caravan is left in the garage for a long time, tires can flatten and that has a negative effect on the road holding. If the caravan has been outside in full sun for a long time, the tire can dry out and then hairline cracks occur", warns the BOVAG .
The trade association applies the rule of thumb that tires should be replaced every six years.
The ANWB, on the other hand, is less certain.
"With the current materials, tires often last longer. You do have to check the tires every year. Preventive replacement after ten years if there is no reason to do so is our advice. And check your caravan insurance to see if it has anything in the policy. about replacing it after, for example, six years. "
Doubts about the age of the tires under your caravan or trailer tent?
The production date of each tire can be found on the sidewall with the so-called DOT code, which consists of four digits: for example, DOT 2118 means that the tire was produced in the 21st week of 2018.
Then make sure that the tire pressure is correct, especially if you are on the road with a full load.
BOVAG advises to obtain advice from professionals for this.
"Especially if the tires have already been replaced and the original ones are therefore no longer mounted, it is difficult to find out which pressure level belongs to the relevant caravan or trailer tent. In addition, the required pressure is often higher than the maximum level that an average tire inflator has for a gas station can produce. "
Also check the gas hoses
Not only the tires are made of rubber, the same goes for the gas hoses.
These can therefore dry out just as well.
The ANWB therefore advises caravan owners to check the hoses for dryness cracks and damage.
"You do this by bending them sharply. If there are cracks in it: replace it. And check the expiration date. The hose has a date, if that date has passed, buy a new one. Even if no cracks are visible yet."
The pressure regulator also has a limited expiration date, as it contains a membrane that can dry out and cause it to leak. "Usually it has a year of manufacture. It must be replaced every ten years. This also applies to the gas hose," says the ANWB. BOVAG also points out that on many campsites in mainly German-speaking countries, an inspection certificate for the gas installation is mandatory.
If you are still busy with the inspection of your caravan, also clean the water tanks and pipes.
Although special products are for sale in the shop, some campers use home, garden and kitchen remedies such as dental cleaner and soda, according to the ANWB.
"The most important thing is to flush the system thoroughly after cleaning."
The union concludes with a tip: "Do not leave with a full water tank, because that makes a huge difference in weight."
Make sure the breakaway cable is properly connected
Ultimately, the caravan or folding trailer must of course be connected.
Make sure the tow bar is in good condition.
If it is a bit rusty, sand the ball with fine sandpaper (grain 240) and wipe it off with a degreaser.
"Never grease, because then the stabilizer will not work", warns the ANWB.
Then check that the plug and power strip are not corroded.
If in doubt, clean it with contact spray if necessary.
When plugged in, check that all lighting is working.
Do not forget to check the breakaway cable.
"That cable is of vital importance if your caravan shoots off the towbar while driving. The cable is still attached (or should be attached) to another part of your car and thus sets the braking system of the caravan. It is therefore not the intention that the breakaway cable also goes around the towbar, it must be attached - for example with a carabiner - to an eye at the bottom of the towbar, "explains BOVAG.
Caravan can swing if luggage is too heavy
The last point of attention concerns the so-called ball pressure, or the weight with which the caravan rests on the towbar.
The ANWB warns that you may not deduct this number from the total weight of the caravan.
"The maximum weight is the weight including the nose weight," emphasizes the association.
In any case, driving with a certain percentage of overweight is not allowed.
However, it happens regularly.
"If the luggage is too heavy or it is not properly distributed, too much pressure can be put on the towbar and the caravan can start to swing at high speeds," adds the BOVAG.
Dashcam records unilateral accidentally swinging caravan in America