7 Essential Checks for Safe Caravan Travelling

Posted In: Caravans

Imagine this: You’re cruising on the highway, caravan in tow, and suddenly you spot a wheel — your wheel — making a break for it. Or, dusk creeps in and your brake lights fail to alert the driver behind you.

Towing mishaps can quickly turn a dream journey into a nerve-wracking ordeal. Fortunately, many of these scenarios are easily avoidable with the right precautions. Equip yourself with these seven essential towing checks to ensure a safe and seamless caravan adventure

7 Essential Towing Checks

By checking these 7 key areas before you head off on your trip you can avoid potentially dangerous situations and trip delays. If you’re not sure how to check these yourself, make sure you see a professional like DAPCO to check them for you.

1. Nuts & Bearings

Imagine driving down the highway, music up and spirits high; you glance out the window and see a wheel bouncing down the road – only to realise it’s from your caravan! This is exactly the sort of thing that can happen if you don’t check your wheels before you set out on your trip.

What to do:

  • Conduct regular wheel bearings inspections; keep them greased and lubricated.
  • Securely tighten all nuts on all wheels before you head off.

2. Brake & Tail Lights

Driving out on the open road with faulty brakes or lights is a hazard, especially at night-time. Check that all your brakes are in good condition and make sure that your brake lights, tail lights and indicators are all in working order.

What to do:

  • Conduct routine checks to make sure your caravan’s brakes are in top condition.
  • If unsure, seek a professional assessment before embarking on your journey.

3. Brakes

Imagine you’re driving through a picturesque mountain pass with your caravan in tow. As you start descending a steep slope, you tap the brakes, expecting a smooth deceleration. But instead, there’s a delay, a sponginess, a feeling that something isn’t quite right. You press harder, and panic begins to set in as your caravan doesn’t seem to be responding as it should.

Such brake failures, while rare, can be incredibly dangerous, turning what should be a leisurely trip into a potentially perilous situation.

What to do:

  • Conduct routine checks to make sure your caravan’s brakes are in top condition. It’s best to book in a check with a professional for regular checks, just as you would with your 4WD.
  • If there’s a hint of inefficiency, seek a professional’s viewpoint before journeying out.

4. Weight Distribution

Look at the side of your trailer and think of it like a seesaw. If all the weight is at the front, the front end of your trailer will be pushed down. Likewise, if you have heavier gear at the back, the trailer will want to tilt back and lift the car. Either way, uneven weight distribution puts extreme pressure on the tow ball. 

What to do:

  • Maintain balanced weight distribution when preparing for the road.
  • Proper alignment reduces strain on the tow ball and assures a stable journey.
  • Ensure you are not overloading your Caravan. If you regularly carry heavy loads or have added significant extras to your Caravan you may need to consider a ATM upgrade to ensure your suspension can legally and safely handle the load.

5. Safety Chain

It’s easy to overlook, but a very important feature. A safety chain serves as a backup in case your trailer becomes unhooked, and it needs to be strong enough to tow your trailer or caravan. 

What to do:

  • Regularly inspect the chain for sturdiness and ensure its secure attachment.
  • Be on guard for any wear and tear signs.

6. Tyres & Spare

Your trailer or caravan has probably been sitting in the shed for a while, so tyres that were in good nick last time might not be this time. It’s important to check they are still roadworthy, and that your spare is still reliable when needed.

What to do:

  • Consistently check tyre pressure and tread on all tyres, including the spare.
  • Maintain vigilance for punctures or wear indicators.

7. Secure Your Load

No one wants to reach their destination only to find that they have arrived with less gear than what you left with! Secure and cover your load to avoid any items flying out of your trailer and potentially harming others.

What to do:

  • Ensure every item within is securely stowed.
  • Double-check the integrity of locks and storage compartments.

Embrace these essential checks before setting out on your caravan adventure. When armed with knowledge and foresight, all that remains is to relish the journey and the destination. For that added layer of reassurance, a thorough check-up at a reputable caravan service center always pays off. Safe and memorable travels to you!