Do you really need a motor mover for pitching your caravan?
Our DIY expert Lee Davey certainly knows his caravans – and he's on call again to answer your questions and dispense advice on a range of topics, including security devices, damaged kitchen worktops, motor movers, electric cars and tracking down a trim for an older model...
Do you have any recommendations for caravan security devices?
Q We’ve just bought our first caravan and I’m looking at security devices. Do I need one for the hitch, wheel, or both? So many options!
A It’s worth checking with your insurance company before buying hitch or wheel locks. Most companies insist on hitch AND wheel locks being fitted as the minimum security requirement, with some insisting on approved locks, or offering a discount when such locks are fitted.
Most caravan-related insurance companies are incredibly helpful and only too happy to discuss their particular requirements, which gives peace of mind going forwards. I hope that helps and, most importantly, keeps your caravan safe and secure.
How can I repair damage to a dented kitchen worktop?
Q I accidentally left the turntable in our microwave and it fell out whilst travelling. We now have a dented worktop. Any ideas on how to make the damage less visible? I'm quite annoyed at myself.
A This is a common occurrence with the worktop often coming under fire from microwave plates or falling items from cupboards above. The four most common methods of dealing with this are:
- Replacement. Generally, the worktops are hollow to save weight and replacement can be somewhat expensive due to it being a labour-intensive process that requires a specific part.
- A repair from a specialist company, such as Magic Man, or similar.
- A DIY repair using Colourfill Worktop Compound. Certain worktops can be colour-matched to help ‘lose’ the repaired area.
- Covered. Some folks have filled the hole with car body filler and wrapped the entire surface in a coloured vinyl. However, this type of surface isn’t as durable and is affected by heat. The main thing to work out is really how much it affects your enjoyment of the caravan and how much you can afford to spend.
Help! I need to track down some caravan trim
Q We have an older caravan with aluminium strips running down either side. These strips have a black trim in the centre, some of which is missing. Do you know what this trim is called and where I could buy some?
A You’ve come to the right place! Working on caravans from the 1960s and 1970s, we’ve often encountered missing or shrunken trim strips. We purchased ours from woolies-trim.co.uk.
To make fitting easier, you’ll need a new nozzle from a tube of silicone and a bucket of warm water. Snip the end of the nozzle so that it fits inside the aluminium trim and put the coiled Herzim trim into a bucket of warm water. Once pliable, feed the trim through the nozzle while pushing it into the aluminium channel.
Will caravan sales by impacted by electric cars?
Q How will caravan sales be affected by the new electric cars? Why do I ask? My new 520d BMW isn't capable of towing – no towbar is listed as an accessory. Of course, there was no mention of this at point of sale! What are your thoughts on this matter?
A This is something a lot of caravanners will undoubtedly be thinking about. At the moment, few pure electric vehicles have the towing capacity suitable for the average caravan, but despite that, caravanning’s future looks rosy. Since towing a family-sized caravan with a Mitsubishi PHEV, I’ve kept a close eye on electric vehicles and the infrastructure that we’ll need on site to ‘go electric’.
The UK Clubs have been making plans for a number of years, with the Caravan and Motorhome Club planning well into the future in terms of charging points, capacity, and so on.
As for the cars, instant torque coupled with battery weight make the perfect recipe for a tow vehicle, although vehicle choices aren’t as widespread as we’d like – yet.
Towbars and towing capacities may have taken a back seat to date, but technology is advancing at quite a rate. In just a few months, I’ve watched one manufacturer adapt to change with an ‘everyday’ EV that could tow a sub-1,000kg caravan with range to spare.
As for your BMW 520D, Witter can equip a 2017 onwards G30 variant, with a towbar for the F90 currently in development. Stay tuned...
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Do I need a motor mover?
Q I’ve seen several people using motor movers on site and I wondered if they are useful beyond actually pitching the caravan upon arrival?
A Someone once said to me ‘I didn’t think I needed a motor mover until I bought a new caravan that came with a mover fitted. From then onwards I couldn’t leave home without one.’ I’d agree with this as a mover can be a handy piece of kit, especially when manoeuvring in the dark, levelling and/or fitting wheel locks, or pitching at a site which is particularly narrow. A motor mover is one of my ‘must have’ items.
Is a TPMS system worth buying?
Q Have you used a TPMS system on your caravan? If so, are they worth buying and do they give added piece of mind while towing?
A There are several brands of tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS) on the market, with the Tyre Pal system being the only one I’ve tried so far. It monitors both pressure and temperature, giving the driver an early warning if something untoward happens.
Should the pressure drop below a predetermined level, the temperature rise unexpectedly, or the tyre lose pressure suddenly, the system warns the driver. Also, it’s easy to swap valve-mounted monitoring systems between caravans so I tend to use it each time I’m towing.
Where can I buy a door-mounted rubbish bin?
Q I’ve seen several caravans fitted with door-mounted rubbish bins, but ours doesn’t have one. Do you know where I could buy one that will fit?
A Prima Leisure (primaleisure.com) sell door-mounted bins and it also sells the spare parts should something break. It’s worth spending a few minutes measuring your door beforehand as some shapes/types of door won’t allow easy retro fitment of this type of bin. Carrier bags fit well until you buy the correct bin bags.
Got a query?
Our expert team is happy to answer your questions whether they relate to touring or towing, DIY or disasters! Whatever it is that's been causing you bother or making you scratch your head, we are on hand to help!
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