3 things to check on your caravan tyres before you hit the road
Chances are you're about to take your caravan out of storage for the new season. You'll be looking around your van to see how your van has dealt with a winter of inactivity.
One vital but often overlooked component of your caravan to check is its tyres. TyreSafe urges caravan owners to review the state of their tyres before towing it for the first time after you take it out of storage.
TyreSafe's chairman, Stuart Jackson, said:
"The excitement of bringing a favourite vehicle or holiday home out of storage should not obscure the urgent need to make sure that the vehicle is roadworthy. Tyres need to be checked regularly and bringing them out of storage should prompt a thorough series of visual checks especially the tyres' condition and air pressures."
Checking your caravan's tyres is easy when you follow these three steps:
Step 1 — Look
Look at your tyres and inspect them for any noticeable 'lumps, bumps and cuts' on them. Tyres can crack, especially on the walls. Often tyres can crack when you've not used them for a while.
On close inspection, you can often see any foreign objects stuck in the tread. See if you can remove them with a blunt tool. It's not just old tyres you need to check. New tyres are just as prone to damage and weathering.
Potholes can cause more damage than you realise, and a thorough check to see if you damaged your tyres in the previous season will save you time and stress at a later date.
Step 2 — Tread
Once you've done your general visual check, you need to look at the tread left on your tyres. If the tread on your tyres is too low, they risk being illegal, which might get you into trouble with the police.
The minimum legal tread depth for cars, trailers, motorhomes and caravans is a 1.6 mm depth across 3/4 of the tyre's width and its circumference.
How you can you tell?
One approach is to use a tread depth gauge. A simple version costs less than £2. It will tell you the depth of your tread quickly and easily.
Alternatively, TyreSafe suggests using a 20p coin. Insert into the tyre's tread on its edge. If you can see the coin's outer rim anywhere in the tyre's tread, it means it's too low.
Step 3 — Pressure
All tyres lose pressure after a while, and your caravan tyres are no exception. It's important to inflate your tyres on your car and your caravan to the right pressures.
For your car, check in the owner's manual, the plate on the vehicle or the filler cap to find the right pressures. For your caravan, check the manufacturer's manuals that came with it. If you can't see them, look on the TyreSafe website here. You can also use their website to find the right tyre pressures for your car.
Another useful gadget for checking your tyre pressures during the season is a tyre pressure management system (TPMS).
Connect a set of sensors to the tyres on your car and caravan, and you can check your pressures as you tow. Michelin has a TPMS which allows you to monitor your tyre pressure on up to eight tyres for Michelin tyre pressure management system. The central system costs around £80.
Now you know what you need to check and what to look for on your caravan's tyres, you can prepare yourself for the new season confident that your journeys will be safer and more enjoyable.