Frequently Asked Questions
Victoria’s Leading RV Service and Repair Centre
Check out some of our frequently asked questions!
Parts in the caravan industry are most certainly not as available as you would find in other industries. Caravans are made from hundreds of components and some manufacturers import their own materials and manufacture their own parts/components. This results in parts often being difficult to source and obtain. Caravans manufactured overseas, present an entire new level of part problems, and we sometimes need to design and make parts for such vans if we cannot source them.
Parts often result in the works to your caravan being delayed. Despite our efforts to order parts as soon as works to your caravan have been authorised by yourself or your insurer, we are sometimes still delayed with parts. This may mean, we cease working on your caravan temporarily and start another job. If you visit whilst your caravan is under repair, it may be sitting idle as it is awaiting parts.
It is advisable for you to expect that if your caravan is with us, there is a good chance we will be delayed due to part availability.
Generally, expect that if you are booked for a service your caravan will be with us for 1-2 weeks, at a minimum. If it is completed before this timeframe, this is a bonus!. Caravans with us for more extensive work, may be with us for months. We cannot fit parts that we do not have and we cannot control shipment timeframes to us.
We ask for your patience when your caravan is with us. As, it is not as simple as us buying parts off the shelf from a retail store, as may be the case in other industries.
This is one of the most common questions we get asked. Many people enter the caravan market via purchasing a second hand caravan with a view to having it renovated to suit their needs. So how much does a renovation cost? Well, much like a house renovation, it largely depends on the type and extent of the renovation that you wish to undertake. Here’s a few questions you can ask yourself that will guide you in being able to better decide what type of renovation you actually want. This will help in informing you how much it may cost.
1) How are you going to use your caravan? A caravan for travel around Australia may require a different type of renovation to one that is going to be used on site in a caravan park.
2) Is my caravan safe? Has it been serviced/maintained? If not, this is where you need to start spending your money. It is no point having lovely new bench tops if your wheels are about to fall off!
3) Do you want an internal or external renovation?
4) Do you want new appliances?
5) Do you want new roof hatches/windows? Remember, new products may not be the same size as your existing ones, and so there may work involved in getting these new products fitted correctly into your van. This is often an unexpected cost. New appliances, for example fridges, often pose this issue too. Older fridges were smaller than those available today, and so fitment of a new one often requires a modification to the fridge cavity.
6) Do you want the layout changed? If so, removal of furniture may cause carnage to your walls, resulting in a wall repair then being needed. This is also often an unexpected cost.
A few things to remember:
A renovated caravan is a great way to enter the market, but only if you buy the right caravan. There are many second hand caravans on the market not worth renovating. So, get a pre purchase inspection before you buy. This small cost could potentially save your thousands.
Get the safety issues addressed first. These are an absolute priority.
Use your caravan a few times to assess what you like about it and what you want changed.
Remember, you don’t need to have your renovation completed all at once. Many customers undertake a renovation in stages and as your budget allows. This can be done over a few seasons.
Before you buy a second hand caravan, be sure to conduct a thorough check to the best of your ability, so that you are confident you are not purchasing a MISTAKE!
In purchasing a second hand caravan, you should assess its safety, strength and structural integrity over anything else. Cosmetic issues, ie curtains, bench-tops etc… and appliances and accessories are issues that you can readily and easily address after you have made your purchase. But you may not be able to do anything about an entire rotted out floor for example. Once again, safety is what you should be prioritizing. There is no point making a purchase because you like the colour scheme if the van has water leaks that have already rendered it unusable
Here are some things you need to look for:
1) Ensure the caravan marry’s up with your intended use. You don’t need a tri – axle caravan with all the modern conveniences if you will be mostly travelling off road to remote areas.
2) Service and maintenance history. Ask if the caravan has been serviced and by whom. A serviced and maintained caravan is less likely to have a multitude of problems, as you would expect that these have been picked up and addressed along the way.
3) Ask how the caravan has been stored. Caravans stored under cover are less prone to sealant breakdown caused through heat, cold and water.
4) Do a complete visual inspection of the interior and exterior of the caravan.
5) Look for water marks on walls and ceilings. Water marks, means there’s a leak somewhere. Leaks lead to rot in timber which can result in costly repairs.
6) Look at the seals around windows to check their condition.
7) Take note of soft spots on the floor. Soft floors may mean there has been a water leak and resultant timber rot.
8) Shine a torch in cupboards, to look for holes and smell and touch inside in search of dampness.
9) Look at the A frame for signs of compromised strength or damage.
10) Take someone with you for an independent opinion. Its easy to fall in love with a caravan that looks fabulous and suits your travel needs. Someone not emotionally invested may offer you a different perspective.
11) Invest in a pre -purchase inspection for an expert opinion.
Caravans leak for many reasons. It is reasonable to expect that most caravans in their lifetime will leak. Caravans are held together by many seals. For example, any part or accessory that you fitted to your caravan, like a window, has a seal attaching it to the body of the caravan. The more accessories you have, the more seals you have.
Seals at the point of manufacture, are not designed to be a one off application. They have a lifespan. This means, all the seals in your caravan need to be replaced. How often they need to be replaced will be dictated largely by how you store, use and care for your caravan. Maintenance is the key here.
All seals will break down due to routine road travel as your caravans body moves during road travel, pulling seals away from the body of the caravan. Seals also shrink and expand in hot and cold weather. So, where you go will also impact on your seals. Hail damage can also damage your seals. Lastly, how you store your caravan whilst its not being used will also impact on their longevity. We would expect seals on a caravan that is stored under cover and away from the elements, to last longer than a caravan housed outside in the weather.
Seals should be checked yearly. As a first step, you can check them yourself, by looking, and feeling them. If they look and feel brittle, look as if they are lifting, or peel off when you rub them, these are indicators they need to be replaced.
Replacing seals is generally not a DIY job. The surfaces need proper preparation in order for the new seals to adhere properly.
Dont wait until you have a water leak before replacing your seals. Substantial damage has already occurred, far beyond your seals, once your plywood etc.. is damaged.
Prevention is always better than cure when it comes to water leaks in caravans. Proper and regular maintenance, servicing and care is paramount!