You’ve planned your caravan trip and are all packed ready to go! Before you head off on your caravan journey, take the time to complete some simple checks to avoid common safety mistakes. Having a pre-trip checklist to work through before setting off is the best way to make sure nothing is forgotten. Follow these quick and easy pre-trip checks to keep safe on the roads.
Caravan Is Packed & Loaded Correctly
Before you hit the road make sure your van is loaded correctly. A poorly packed or overloaded caravan is an accident waiting to happen. Not to mention it’s your legal responsibility to ensure you don’t exceed your vehicle’s towing capacity. An uneven loaded van will affect the tow ball load, increase your fuel usage, place added strain to your car and ultimately impact your safety when towing.
- Pack majority of the weight over the van’s axles.
- While travelling store the heaviest items on the floor close to the centre.
- Store only light items in the overhead cupboards. Storing heavier items higher up can affect the caravan's centre of gravity.
- Avoid packing heavy items behind the axle.
As mentioned, it's your responsibility to make sure you don't exceed your vehicle and caravan's towing weights. If you are new to caravanning, we suggest pack the car prior to your trip and head to your closest weighbridge to weigh your van and check the ball weight. In fact we recommend revisiting the weighbridge from time to time to check your weights.
Outside Caravan Checks
Before you head off complete a pre-trip check on the outside of your van to check everything is in working order and to make sure you haven’t missed anything.
- Inspect the tyres for wear and make sure the tyre pressures are correct to manufacturer specifications, this includes the spare.
- Check the wheel nuts and use a torque wrench to make sure they are tightened to the manufacturer's specifications.
- Make sure the electrical plug is connected and operating.
- Test that the brake lights, clearance lights, tail lights and indicators are working.
- Ensure the coupling and safety chains are fastened correctly and operating.
- Check that the awning is packed away and locked securely into the travel position.
- Towing mirrors, weight distribution, brake controllers and rear view cameras all fitted correctly and operational.
- Make sure your vehicle’s brakes engage and release.
- Power leads and hoses have been packed away.
- Wind up and secure the stabilizer legs.
Secure Inside Your Van
You’ve loaded the van but now it’s time to fasten everything securely to avoid damage and a potential mess inside your van.
- Cupboard doors, drawers, fridge door, roof hatches and windows are closed and locked.
- Remove the plate from the microwave.
- Make sure the gas and electrics are switched off.
- TV is removed from bracket and stored securely. Plus the TV antenna is down.
- Secure any loose items in the van.
- Table is set to travel position.
Knowledge Of Your Destination
Australia has many remote and rugged places and it’s essential for your enjoyment and more importantly safety that you are prepared. Whether you are new to caravanning or an experienced camper, we always recommend finding out about your destination and what the travel conditions will be like. This will allow you to plan and pack the right items, so you don’t get yourself into any unexpected trouble.
Final Walk Around
Take a final walk around the van before you head off every time to make sure you haven’t missed anything. Create yourself a pre-trip checklist and following the same routine each time is the best way to make sure you don’t miss anything. Even experienced caravanners can miss things and that’s when damage can happen or people can get hurt.
Need some service and maintenance advice before heading off? Our caravan workshop has a team of experienced technicians who are on hand to help. If this is your first adventure in your new van, we also encourage our customers to take a maiden trip somewhere close by to become familiar and comfortable with your van. For expert advice on caravan sales in Adelaide our team is more than happy to share our advice and experience.