Caravan Purchase Check-list:
Step – to get in and out of your caravan easier
There are many types of step on offer, single or double. A double step will be the easiest for you getting in and out of your van.Small steps cost roughly £10-12 and double step usually £25.
Hook-up Cable - this is the cable you plug into the mains power to on-site
you can pay up to £40 for a 25m cable but here at Caravan Source it's £15 for 10m or £30 for 25m. You may also wish to purchase an adapter to allow you to plug in at home.(£7.99 caravan source)
Battery – the battery that is in your caravan to power lights and water pump etc
85Ah Leisure batteries usually do for the odd trip away (£70 caravan source)
110Ah Leisure batteries are recommended for motor-mover users or heavy power users running 12v tv etc (£85 caravan source)
Gas Bottle and correct regulator or adapter – to provide gas to fridge/cooker/fire/water heater
There are 2 types of bottled gas available “Propane” or “Butane” they run at different pressures which means they have a different type of regulator. Propane is the most common as it can but used in lower temperatures without freezing. Propane is in the orange/red bottle and Butane usually comes in a blue bottle. You will be looking for a 6kg Propane usually to fit in the front of your caravan. “Calor gas” is the most common and easiest to swap. Calor requires a £34 deposit when you take out a new bottle and you will need to exchange this in future for a replacement bottle. Caravan Source will provide you with a used calor bottle for £20 saving you £14 and the hassle of taking out a contract with calor.
Water Pump – this is the 12v water pump which your caravan uses to get water through your water system
This usually comes with the caravan but if not there is a couple of different types and they cost about £40-60 new
Waste Outlet Pipe –this is the pipe that gets the waste water from your caravan to your waste water container.
There are 3 main diameter pipes 3/4”, 1”1/4, 28mm flexible or rigid pipe. You may also have 2 outlets on your caravan for kitchen and W/C sink outlets, you can join these with a T-junction in some cases. We currently only stock 28mm T-junctions.
Water Containers – where you store your fresh and used water (not toilet waste)
Most people choose an aqua-roll and waste-master as these have wheels and are much easier to use than traditional containers. They cost about £100/pair new or we sell them for £28 each used. A little tip: They come in 29L or 40L fresh tanks and your pump may not fit into the cap hole in the 29L so make sure you check!
Toilet Chemicals – the chemicals for your flush and to break down your waste
Blue stuff – To go in the tank you emty the waste out of to help break-down the waste.
Pink stuff – To go in the flush system (read the back of the bottle for diluting instruction.
Green stuff – same as blue but herbal and formaldehyde free.
Chemical Toilet Roll – you may wish to purchase the chemical toilet-roll
This is easer for the toilet chemical to break-down
Towing Mirrors – legal requirement for towing a caravan with car or van
The police seldom know the rules but it is a legal requirement to have 2 mirrors for towing a caravan if it's wider than the tow vehicle. We stock 2 easy types ranging from £8-10 per mirror depending on your vehicle mirror size.
Spare Wheel – spare wheel/tyre in-case of break-down
Caravan Tyres are Commercial tyres/Van tyres 90% of the time
Caravan Tyres are recommended to be changed every 5-7 years as they degrade with standing so much of their life. You may not always be able to see this degradation as it often occurs between the treads of the tyres.
Your spare is less likely to degrade but the recommendation still applies.
Stabilizer – to add stability to your caravan while being towed
2 types: The traditional or Scott-Type stabilizer comprises of a stabilizer bar and a bracket on the car and caravan. The second type is the modern “Al-Ko” or “Winterhoff” Stabilizer hitch/head which will tighten onto the ball to reduce movement while towing. You may need to adapt your tow-bar ball to suite the modern type. You do NOT need to buy a new ball from Al-ko costing £30 you can buy a spacer to add depth from your vehicle.
Levelling Chocks – to help you level your caravan on un-even site ground
You may not know this but your fridge won't work properly unless the caravan is level.
Leg-Winder – to wind down the corner-steadies on your caravan
You can get a standard hand-winder for £8 or battery drill bit attachment for £10
Fire Extinguisher – to put out fires
Smoke Alarm – to detect a fire
CO2 alarm – CO2 is a dangerous gas which will put you to sleep then suffocate you, faulty gas fires or fridges could emit Carbon Monoxide.
Recommended, most car policies will only cover your caravan third party.
Insurance will cover you fully comp if you crash and will cover theft and damage.
It is also necessary if you wish to use a storage facility
Hitch-Lock – to prevent your caravan being able to be hitched up and towed away
Depends on your type of hitch, new they range from £30-120 and used from £5-50
You may save money on insurance if you get an “approved” hitch-lock
Wheel Clamp – locks onto your wheel/tyre to prevent towing away
There is a range of qualities and prices vary between £25-100 new and £10-40 used.
You may save money on insurance if you get an “approved” wheel clamp.
Leg Locks – to prevent caravan legs from being wound up when in storage
An in-expensive way of protecting your caravan.
Awning; there's lots to choose from new and used but you should be able to get a decent used awning for under £300. If you'd prefer a light-weight porch-type awning then about £40 used and £80-120 new
Motor-Mover – to help you manoeuvre your caravan when not on the car
A motor-mover consists of motors which you can clamp automatically (with the remote) or manually (with a lever) onto the wheels of your caravan which can then push/pull/turn your caravan and be negotiated by the owner by remote control.
Since motor-movers were invented they've helped thousands of people get about easier with their caravan; whether onto their drive or difficult storage bay or out on a site.
They can be particularly helpful if you struggle to reverse your caravan and/or struggle to push your caravan by hand.
Hitch Cover – to cover the A-frame of your caravan while in storage
This will help protect your hand-break lever plastic and any plastics on your hitch
Things to remember longer-term:
Annual Service: You may not use your caravan that much but an annual service will pick up on the early signs of damp and may save you money in the long run.
They would also pick up on things like Gas and Electrical problems which could if not noticed cause serious damage and/or injury.
Tyres: As mentioned previously it is recommended to get them changed every 5-7 years, particularly if you've not used the van that often. The make/brand of tyre isn't that important as you will rarely wear down a tyre. It is so important because your tyre will degrade and cracks will appear over time standing with weight on them.
The information given in this check-list is provided with the best of intentions and to help you enjoy your Caravanning Experience. Information given is for guide purposes only, individuals must at all times use their own initiative whilst operating and towing a caravan.
We accept no responsibility for damage to your vehicle or to any other form of material property and accept no responsibility for personal or third party injury that may occur in relationship to information provided in this check-list.