How to keep your caravan valuable for longer!
With the caravanning boom across Australia showing no signs of slowing, according to tourism operators and the CIAA's Caravan Industry Consumer Sentiment Report February 2022, it’s more important than ever to keep your home-away-from-home in tip-top shape.
Despite not having an engine, caravans still require year-round maintenance. This is not only an investment for your own safety and comfort but will ensure you’ll retain your caravan’s resale value amongst the more than 800,000 registered recreational vehicles registered in Australia.
A caravan is a big investment, and preventative maintenance is the best way to protect your asset. While some maintenance should be completed before and after every journey to ensure that little problems don’t evolve into expensive or dangerous ones, others should be included as part of its annual servicing to extend the life and value of your van.
Keep it clean
It might seem a little obvious but cleanliness, both inside and out, is a vital step in maintaining your caravan’s value, as a build-up of grime can be hard to remove and can cause significant surface damage. After every trip, wash your van with a long-handled brush and microfiber cleaning cloth, working from the top down to avoid re-introducing dirt on the caravan’s exterior, using a garden hose or pump spray. Avoid pressure washers as they can damage the window seals.
Invest in covers
If your caravan can’t be properly garaged, a snug caravan cover is a worthwhile investment. Protecting your van from the elements stops paint fade, chipping and cracking and can help to protect windows from scratches.
Mould and mildew
Dampness inside your caravan can lead to mould which, left unchecked, can lead to long-term damage, not to mention its impact on your health. Prevent mould and mildew proliferating by cleaning with bacteria removing disinfectant, airing out the van regularly, drying spills and leaks and keeping the interior free of any damp or wet materials. Should you find any signs of mould, remove them immediately with diluted white vinegar to stop its spread and any associated musty smells which can prove hard to remove.
Don’t neglect repairs
Attend to any repairs needed promptly, whether that is wear and tear on the brakes and tyres or a scratch in the paintwork, as avoiding issues can and usually does cost more in the long term. The more immaculate your caravan, the greater its resale value will remain.
Rust, usually caused by excessive exposure to moisture, can be highly expensive to repair if not addressed early, and can result in a massive devaluation of your caravan. Start with regular checks on your caravan’s suspension as any corrosion to the suspension and chassis of your van is a major safety issue and can lead to seriously costly repair bills. Externally, it is imperative to touch up any chips and scratches in your paintwork as they allow rust to take hold. Also ensure that any surface rust is removed as soon as possible and apply a rust treatment to any affected areas. Don't forget to do spot checks inside your caravan too, as condensation can lead to rust on window frames, appliances, and metal furnishings.
Before hitting the road check your tyre pressures are at correct levels and tighten your wheel nuts appropriately, remembering that wheel nuts that are too tight can strip the thread and those that aren’t tight enough can mean losing a wheel, which can cause major damage to your caravan. Before and after taking your caravan anywhere, check your rims for buckles and cracks and your tyres for signs of perishing, sidewall cracks and bulges which increases the risk of tyre failure. Regardless of their visual condition, tyres should be regularly checked by a professional and any aged over 10 replaced.
Check your safety chains for structural integrity and sufficient length and that your shackles are correctly attached. Avoid towing with full water tanks, unless you’re heading somewhere where water is scarce, as it can increase wear and tear.
Maintain power and water
Caravan gas and electrics must be checked regularly, as do any internal appliances that use them, to ensure there are no leaks or faults and everything is working correctly. Empty water tanks and leave taps open so air can pass through them when the caravan is not in use to avoid stale water smells from permeating the caravan as these can be hard to remove and bad smells will impact resale value negatively.
As a rule, new vans should be serviced within three months or 100 kilometres of purchase and then every year or 10,000 kilometres, whichever comes first. It’s one of the biggest favours you can pay for your caravan, and your bank account, as up to date service records can greatly improve resale value.
Ready to make the leap into van ownership? Check out the range of caravans available at Pickles fortnightly recreational sales!