Towing a caravan can be a stressful experience for anyone, but with the right checks and preparation, it can be a breeze. Here we’ll share some of our top tips and products to use for a safe towing experience.
Tyres are amongst the most important components fitted to your caravan (or any other type of transport for that matter. They are the only thing which connect your caravan to the road so ensuring that they are in the best shape is crucial.
Whilst not a legal requirement, it is good practice to change your tyres when they reach 5 years of age. To date your tyres you need to locate the age indicator on the tyre sidewall which will comprise of 4 numbers. The first 2 are the week made and the last 2 are the year.
Making sure your caravan tyres are at the correct pressure is one of the most simple and effective changes that you can make. If your tyres are under or over-inflated it affects the contact patch that they make with the road.
Consult your owners manual or call your local dealer to find out the correct pressures. Because of the water content in air, the temperature of the tyre alters the pressure. With this in mind, you should always check and adjust your tyre pressures at the start (or as close to) of a journey.
First and foremost is the tread depth of your tyres. The U.K legal limit is 1.6mm across 3/4 of the tread depth and, whilst not a legal requirement, you should also ensure there is visible tread over the rest of the tyre. Bear in mind that this is is the legal limit, we would recommend that you change your tyres when they reach 2mm of tread.
The overall condition should also be assessed. Check for cracks in the tyre sidewall, indicating that the tyre rubber is deteriorating. This usually goes hand-in-hand with flat spots due to your caravan sitting for long periods. An easy way to overcome this is to inflate your tyres to their maximum pressure (found on the sidewall of the tyre), just remember to reset the pressures before you tow again. Alternatively, Milenco Tyre Savers provides a rounded, rather than flat, surface for your tyres to sit on when your caravan is in storage.
Assessing the condition of your caravans wheels from a static view can be difficult as a number of the problems you can face will be difficult to see (buckled wheels etc..). A really easy check is to look at the rim lip of your wheel to make sure they aren’t distorted. If your caravan is fitted with allow wheels then check the entire wheel for cracks in the metal which can cause tyre pressure loss.
A wheel coming loose (or worse, coming off all together) is a frightening prospect. The correct tightness of your caravan wheel to the hub is defined by wheel torque setting. Simply put, the torque setting is how much force has to be applied. To do this you will need both the torque setting as specified by the manufacturer (typically in NM or lb/ft), a torque wrench and the correct socket for your caravans wheel size. Available in our online shop is the Milenco Torque Wrench Safety Kit which includes a torque wrench (28NM – 210NM range), extension bar, 19mm & 21mm sockets and 20 x wheel nut indicators.
Perhaps the niftiest inclusion is the wheel nut indicators (19mm nut/bolt head only). Typically seen on heavy goods vehicles, these provide an easy visual indication as to whether your wheel nuts/bolts may have loosened. If you already have a torque wrench but like the idea of the indicators then they are available separately in packs of 10.