Why fit a caravan tracker and other questions answered
Our caravanning expert Lee Davey is on hand to answer those questions you've been pondering. This time he advises on the benefits of caravan trackers, retrofitting a rubbish bin and going off-grid.
Caravan tracker recommendations
Q Our caravan has been in storage since October and I’d like to fit a tracker to alert me if it moves. I’ve looked at the tracking units fitted to several new caravans and I feel that these may be too expensive for our budget caravan. Can you recommend something suitable?
A Trackers not only help locate your caravan, but units from Tracker, Phantom, etc, attract insurance discounts, with Caravan Guard offering a 15% reduction in premium. However, the cost of the unit coupled with a subscription charge may be prohibitive for cheaper caravans.
I have a 1967 Bailey Maestro that I like to ‘keep an eye on’ so I fitted a Rewire Security Spytrack Plus for £79. The subscription is an additional £85 per year, but this allows me to see where my caravan is via the Rewire app, and alerts me should it move, tracking the route as it does so.
I store my caravan without its leisure battery, so the 50-day battery life is handy and can be recharged with the supplied mains charger. It’s worth bearing in mind that this unit isn’t approved by my insurance company so won’t attract a discount. You might also find this guide to fitting a caravan tracker useful.
How to retrofit a caravan 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 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.
Going off grid with a leisure battery
Q We’ve been reading about Certified Location sites and we’d like to try a few this year. It appears not all have electric hook-up points and I wondered if I’d need a generator for a long weekend away?
A Providing your leisure battery is in reasonable condition, it should outlast a 240V-free long weekend. As a rough guide, our fully charged 110Ah battery generally lasts five days, and we’re charging phones, watching TV, and using the shower.
For extended stays, a solar panel is hard to beat, has no running cost after installation, and makes no noise at all. Find out more about caring for your leisure battery here.
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Caravan servicing – 'one shot nuts'
Q I’ve just had my caravan serviced and the technician gave us a checklist, the damp report, and two large brass-coloured nuts. What are they? Do I need to fit, or keep, these nuts?
A Caravans are often fitted with ‘one shot nuts’, meaning they need replacing each time the brake drums are removed. It’s common practice for the technician to give these nuts to the customer, showing that they’ve been replaced as part of the service procedure. Hope that solves the mystery! Caravan servicing is an essential part of caravan ownership and you can find an Approved Workshop Scheme workshop here.
How to set the noseweight
Q I’ve been doing a spot of homework on how to load my caravan properly, part of which involves setting the noseweight. Can you recommend a reasonably priced noseweight gauge?
A Bathroom scales (with a length of wood placed between scales and hitch) work well, but a noseweight gauge from Milenco is a worthwhile investment and is small enough to be carried in the caravan. They can be found at various outlets for less than £40, including Prima Leisure.
Refilling gas cylinders
Q I must query the endorsement by Lee Davey of the Gaslow refillable system several issues ago. Nothing against this system; however, from personal experience, if one stays at a site in Europe for any length of time as we did with our previous caravan fitted with this system, you might find it impractical. For when refilling we had to hitch up and take the caravan to the point of availability, a complete nuisance.
On changing our caravan to a Inos Caravan I decided to purchase refillable cylinders from Safefill and now when I need gas, I take the cylinder to be refilled and not the caravan. Lee – can you advise caravanners that there is more than one alternative?
A Thanks for writing in, and thanks for mentioning Safefill. The various gas systems on offer are worthy of a standalone feature and this topic is regularly debated on social media forums. Both systems are indeed ‘horses for courses’ with my own experience being limited to a Gaslow system.
With two school-age children, we’re on the move for the majority of our trips which means the caravan is in tow most of the time. Indeed, Safefill could prove a better option for extended stays as the caravan can stay on site while filling the cylinder, although both systems have their own pros and cons when filling.
Adaptors that allow folks to (illegally) fill regular bottles such as Calor have led to a number of caravanners being turned away from LPG points, something which Safefill mentions on its website. This will undoubtedly change as Safefill has been instrumental in amending ‘The Red Guide’ used by garage forecourts. That said, I was turned away from an LPG point in Greece when filling a caravan-mounted Gaslow system! Learn more about gas in our guide.
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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