Archive for November, 2011
Top tips for storing your caravan over the winter months
Laying up your caravan for the winter is not just a simple case of parking it off the road and locking the door. A surprising amount of damage can occur from the weather and general wear and tear if it is not protected properly. Even if you are lucky enough to have indoor storage for your caravan it is still at risk from small animals, nesting insects and dust.
Here’s a brief checklist for over-wintering your caravan outdoors.
The interior – cleanliness is the key.
1) Make sure it’s clean and don’t leave anything lying around that could attract animals or rot, causing unpleasant odours. Hoover thoroughly, shake out loose furnishings and clean out the fridge and cupboards.
2) Drain off the water system. This is not only hygienic but will prevent burst pipes in the event of freezing weather.
3) If you’re worried about condensation invest in a couple of moisture traps and replenish with new crystals as required. These can be purchased from most caravan stores.
4) Check window seals and doors for leaks. Now is the time for those little repair jobs.
The exterior – it’s a case of vigilance.
1) Make sure snow doesn’t build up under the caravan. This can cause problems with external cables.
2) Check the tyres. If the van is not moved for months they can develop flat spots. Either move the van regularly or consider removing the wheels and jacking the caravan up. But, check with your insurance company before removing the wheels – some policies insist on wheel clamps for security.
3) Don’t get stuck. Handbrakes and other moving parts can tend to cease up if they are not used. It is advisable to check these regularly.
Make a wish list – be the first with the new season’s gadgets.
1) Take advantage of the long winter nights to browse catalogues and online sites for new gadgets and must have items so you can impress your fellow caravanners when you set off on the road again in the Spring.
Think like a Boy Scout this winter and Be Prepared for bad weather with an essential cold car kit that could be a lifesaver.
Last winter, thousands of motorists found themselves stuck in their cars for up to 15 hours as snow, ice and gridlocked roads left them stranded.
In addition to your reflective warning triangle, jump-leads and first-aid kit there are other essentials you need to in order to be ready for whatever winter has to throw at you.
Specialist insurance broker Adrian Flux has compiled a list of 10 things you won’t want to be without if you find yourself stuck in a snow-bound jam.
- If the temperature has plummeted, don’t leave home without checking your mobile phone is fully charged. Don’t, however, rely on your phone as your only line of defence – Murphy’s Law dictates that if you’re going to break down, you’re more likely to break down in a signal black-spot. If your phone has a camera, you can also use it to record any unfortunate accidents that might take place.
- A torch is essential. Swerve any potential battery nightmares by carrying a wind-up torch which requires only a few hand cranks to power-up. Many torches designed for use by motorists are also clever multi-taskers that include alert sirens, glass-breaking hammer tops and seatbelt cutters.
- There’s nothing worse than standing in the cold scraping ice off your windscreen with a credit card or a CD case. Take an ice-scraper.
- A blanket or a sleeping bag will make any enforced stay in your car during the winter months far more bearable. If you’re really organised, pick up a heat-reflective blanket – they take up very little space and help you to retain up to 90 per cent of your radiant body heat.
- If you have to drive in bad weather, make sure you take emergency supplies of high-calorie snacks, such as cereal bars, and bottles of water. Don’t be tempted to leave a large bottle of water in the boot for emergencies – it will undoubtedly freeze solid. Take fresh water for each journey.
- Take a folding shovel to help you dig your car out of trouble. If you’ve got any left-over pieces of carpet, store them in the car boot and use them for a little extra traction under your tyres. A bag of road grit or even cat litter can also be a lifesaver.
- In addition to your blanket, try and take a change of clothes, Wellington boots, thick socks, a hat and gloves. Make sure you have enough supplies for you and each of your passengers.
- Take a tow-rope. Again, an all-year-round essential, but when it’s below freezing, the ability to get moving quickly isn’t one you’ll want to miss.
- In addition to a well-stocked first aid kit, if you’re setting off in bad weather, make sure you have enough of any medication you need to last you for at least 10 hours.
- A notebook and a pen are handy – you can write a note to leave on the dashboard if you have to abandon your car or make a start on your novel if you find yourself stranded for 15 hours.
A new breakdown policy for mobility scooters has been launched in time for winter.
The policy was devised by Chartwell Insurance in response to feedback from customers worried about getting stranded away from home, particularly as the cold weather closes in.
Gerry Bucke, general manager at the specialist insurance broker, said the breakdown of a scooter could be a traumatic experience.
“The number of requests we had for breakdown cover showed that there’s a real concern among our customers about being left high and dry away from home,” he added.
“Mobility scooters give people their freedom and we’re delighted to have negotiated a special deal for existing or new customers who take out our scooter insurance.”
Cover costs £35 a year, and includes roadside assistance, the cost of getting home and hire of a replacement scooter while repairs are undertaken.
If the breakdown occurs on a day trip and cannot be fixed on location, the customer would be taken back to the bus or minibus for free.
Chartwell’s mobility scooter insurance covers purpose build scooters, power chairs and electric wheelchairs, plus adapted manual wheelchairs.
Cover includes third party liability up to £2million, theft, lost keys and overseas use.