Despite sharing similarities to other similar vehicles such as motorhomes, you’d be surprised to know that caravans do not require a yearly MOT unlike the vehicle that would be used to tow said caravan which requires an annual MOT once it reaches three years old.
This means that it is the owners responsibility to ensure that the caravan is safe and in proper working order all year round, not only that but the owner must ensure that its gas, electric and water systems are working properly at all times.
It is recommended that the caravan is serviced regularly to ensure that all parts are running smoothly and as they should be. Often MOT’s and services get confused given that they are often offered together as a package deal when people are looking to get their cars MOT’d.
The difference between an MOT and a service is that the MOT serves to check and test various elements of the vehicle such as the tyres, lights and brakes to ensure that they are in working condition with enough life left to last another calendar year. This is a legally binding test and if your vehicle fails to pass the test it cannot legally be driven on the road.
A service on the flipside acts to preserve and maintain the lifespan of your vehicle by checking intricate parts in depth in an attempt to identify possible issues such as the fluids, ventilation, gas systems, chassis, suspension, wheels, tyres and brakes, lights and the electrical system. The service does not act as a test meaning that theoretically a poorly maintained caravan could drive on the road, this is however advised against as it would be extremely dangerous.
We advise you empty your belongings from the caravan, especially items under the seats and bed and your awning.
There are over 100 individual checks on a caravan service that takes around four hours to complete due to how in-depth it is, you can service most of the parts yourself if you’d like but things like gas and electricity components should be left to the professionals.
The gas tests include pressure tests to see if pressure can be help, doing so can identify any possible leaks if a pressure drop is detected, tests will also look for carbon monoxide and combustion efficiency. Speaking of carbon monoxide, the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors will be checked to ensure that they are working as intended, this is a job that can be done without the need for a service centre.
Whilst driving along the road towing a caravan, the last thing you want is for the caravans’ brakes to fail, that’s why the handbrake and brake drums will be tested and inspected for wear and tear, not only that but the breakaway cable will undergo checks to ensure that it is functioning correctly.
The tyres will be checked over and removed from the caravan, the tread level need to be at a good enough level to be roadworthy and their condition needs to be strong enough, if a tyre is cracked or has flat spots it will need to be changed.
Electrical test, the electrical parts including the leisure battery and the 230V mains system, the servicer will use a 230V plug to check if each socket is achieving the desired output. The external lights will be checked also however this is something that should be looked at more than annually to ensure that the brake lights, indicators and sidelights are operating in a legal manner.
Ever had a nightmare trying to use a corner steady? Yeah, me too. These are also serviced with new grease to enable them to operate easier, it’ll feel like new following the service.
We recommend taking your caravan to be serviced either every 10,000 miles or at least once a year (whichever comes first) to ensure that it is running smoothly without any defects or dangerous issues and is roadworthy.
Booking in your service should be done ahead of time, trying to book a service in the summer isn’t something you want to be doing knowing that many other holidayers are trying to do the exact same thing, the last thing you want to be doing is cancelling your holiday as you’re unable to get a service.
We recommend servicing your caravan in the winter months at a time when many people have put this thought to the back of their mind. This does bring up the issue of towing in icy conditions in the winter, if you are able to it would be worth pre-booking months ahead and possibly paying a deposit to service it in the springtime.