Caravan Side Damage
One of the first things you will notice about caravans is in most cases the side aluminium panels are easily damaged. The thin gauge is dented easily and a common reason for this is caused by the mishandling of awning poles. Not the end of the world but unsightly, so those last clumsy owners have left you a small fill in repair job.
Also if you see spot small bubble type holes in the aluminium then this can be caused by a glue/aluminium reaction and basically rots the aluminium from the inside. Check for aluminium bulges to in the side wall, this can be down to a poor repair job or the glue coming unstuck so allowing the aluminium to pull away.
The dreaded dent-caravan sides are easily dented and it doesn’t take much to do damage such as this. Damaged panels like the one pictured below can be filled in as a car repairer may do, more extensive damage though would see a new panel being applied. With bonded sides a new panel is simply applied over the damaged one. Again on any used tourer check the extent of damage done so you’re not in for a nasty surprise to have it repaired.
As mentioned earlier damaged panels can be filled in but this can lead to more of a mess than the original damage. If the caravan you’re buying has a poor repair job check how much it’s going to cost to have the repair completed properly. It could also be hiding more problems and therefore it needs to be investigated properly. Also check the interior wall board where the repairs have been carried out for signs of internal damage.
Picture and words © Andrew Jenkinson 2009
When you buy a used touring caravan it is absolutely vital that you check, or if you are not technically competent yourself have checked, the main safety features before you use the caravan. The bearings must be in good condition and be well greased, the tyres must be in good condition and the brakes working properly. Make sure that gas appliances are fully serviced and get a carbon monoxide alarm.
If the visible condition of the caravan indicates that it may not have been well maintained this may be a warning sign that more vital safety features have also not been properly maintained. Build the cost of servicing vital safety features into your budget and have them serviced before you use the caravan.
Consider buying caravan insurance
Before you tow your caravan ensure that you have a stabiliser properly fitted to the correct type of hitch. Familiarise yourself with the correct loading method and load your caravan correctly for towing.