What should I look for when buying a second-hand caravan?

Buying a second-hand caravan

When buying a second-hand caravan, you should assess its safety, strength, and structural integrity over anything else. These are the things that will either cost a lot to address – rendering the ‘bargain’ you thought you were getting the exact opposite – or simply make the caravan unusable.

Here are 7 things you need to look for:

1/ What is the service and maintenance history? If the owner hasn’t cared enough to get the van serviced regularly, chances are there are problems that are past the point of being easily addressed.

2/ How has the caravan has been stored? If it’s been stored under cover, the van will be far less prone to sealant breakdown caused through exposure to extremes of weather.

3/ Are there any water marks on walls or ceilings? A water mark means there’s a leak somewhere, which is likely to mean there’s some rot in the timber.

4/ Are the seals around windows in good condition?

5/ Are there any soft spots on the floor? These would suggest that there has been a water leak.

6/ Are there any holes in cupboards? How do they feel and smell?

7/ Does the A-frame have any signs of damage?

There are a lot of things that could be missed by an inexperienced eye – or if you are emotionally invested in the purchase. That’s why we suggest investing in a pre-purchase inspection. That expert opinion might cost a few dollars up front, but save you many, many more down the track.

How much does it cost to renovate a caravan or motorhome?

Caravan refurbishment

Many people buy a second-hand caravan or motorhome and then look at some level of modification, renovation, or refurbishment. This is an area where our expertise comes to the fore; we can advise you as to the best (and most cost-effective) ways to get what you want.

Here are a few hints to start you off:

1/ Many second-hand caravans are simply not worth renovating so a pre-purchase inspection could potentially save your thousands of dollars (and lots of frustration).

2/ Always get any safety issues addressed as a priority.

3/ Use your caravan a few times to assess what you like about it and what you want changed.

4/ Remember, you don’t need to have your renovation completed all at once. You can easily plan to do more work in stages, which might help your budget and time constraints.

These are some of the questions you should ask yourself so that we can give you a guide as to how much it might cost to do the work you envisage:

1/ How are we going to use the caravan? A caravan for travel around Australia will probably require a different type of renovation to one that’s going to be used on site in a caravan park.

2/ Is my caravan safe? Has well has it been serviced/maintained? There’s no point in having a state-of-the-art kitchen if your wheels are about to fall off!

3/ Do you want an internal or external renovation, or a complete makeover?

4/ Do you want new appliances? If so, there might be a greater cost than simply slotting a new one in where the old one is if they just don’t make them like that anymore!

5/ Do you want new roof hatches and /or windows? This may require some modification to the spaces to make sure any new windows or hatches are fitted correctly.

6/ Do you want the layout changed? This is one of the places our experience really kicks in, because what you see as a small change might be extremely challenging, and isn’t it better to know that before we get stuck in? Once you tell us what you want, we will be able to advise you on alternative options, where appropriate.

We’re happy to offer specific advice based on your needs, so if you have a caravan or motorhome that could do with a refresh, let us have a look at it and give you our thoughts on what might be worth doing.

Repairing a damaged Winnebago

Damaged Winnebago cabin
We recently had to perform some serious repair work on a Winnebago. The damage was quite extensive. Here’s how the vehicle looked when we were asked if we could repair it. The repairs presented some challenges but we were ready willing and capable of taking the job on. We got to work And the end result is just like new.

Get a regular service from our caravan service centre

The best caravan service center in Melbourne

Ace Caravan Repairs has a dedicated caravan service centre to assist with all regular servicing of caravans, motorhomes and RVs.

We take pride in all our work and ensure that our qualified staff are highly trained in all facets of caravan servicing, assuring you of care and attention to your vehicle.

What We Do When We Service Your Caravan

There is a full list of our caravan service here

However, some of the items included in our service include

  • Check exterior bodywork
  • Inspect brakes, bearings, tyres springs and shackles for damage and deterioration,
  • Damp test interior
  • Check water system, pumps and toilet
  • Check Electrics
  • Check gas appliances
  • Check handbrake
  • Inspect tyres
  • Inspect all latches, locks, doors and windows.
  • And much more

All in all forty-eight separate items will be checked and tested to ensure that your caravan van is in tip-top condition.

Call us today to book your van or RV into the Ace Caravan Repairs Caravan Service Center.

We do motorhome repairs … and we do them very well

Motorhome and RV eletcrical repairs

We do motorhome repairs.

Ace Caravan Repairs are committed to providing quality service and we ensure that all motorhome repairs are treated in the same simple straightforward manner.

The process in the event of all repairs and insurance work is simple.

Step 1: We conduct a comprehensive inspection of the damaged motorhome.
Step 2: We then provide a full and complete quotation for work to be completed to the customer or insurance company.
Step 3: When all the relevant parties are in agreeance we commence work.
Step 4: Professional repairs to the vehicle are carried out as specified in the aforementioned quote
Step 5: The motorhome is ready for the customer to return to the road.

We understand that your motorhome is a precious asset and we will take all possible steps to ensure that the vehicle is returned to its former condition.

No job is too big or small for Ace Caravan Repairs and its professional team.

Call us today to discuss your Motorhome repair requirements.

Ace Caravan Repairs have an established reputation for quality caravan and motorhome repairs throughout Melbourne.
– Only employs suitably qualified, skilled tradesmen capable of performing work to a high standard.
– Is equipped with all the necessary tools and equipment to perform any motorhome repair job.

Our number one priority is to always provide a professional repair service to you.

The importance of the annual motorhome service

Jayco Conquest as good as new

Regular mechanical servicing of your motorhome is a must, but it is also imperative that the living area of the motorhome is serviced at least on an annual basis.

An annual servicing of the interior of your motorhome will take care of all those annoying what if this goes wrong scenarios that will keep you up the night before you set off on your vacation.

At Ace Caravan Repairs our servicing includes a damp test, testing cooking appliances and refrigerators as well as plumbing and electrical systems.  We give your motorhome a thorough inspection from top to bottom and identify any  problems that have or are likely to occur.

Damp testing is done to measure the interiors exposure to moisture and will indicate potential difficulties with condensation as well as highlighting potential moisture hazards.  Moisture can be a huge factor in how long an interior is likely to last and without a damp test, there is every likelihood of latent moisture problems going unnoticed until it’s too late.

Annual servicing is reltively inexpensive and can guard against expensive uncomfortable situations occurring and spoling your time away.

 

 

3 things you need to know about making a caravan insurance claim

We'll tow your caravan

 

All insurance companies do their best to offer policies that cover the most important things for the policy holder, and most also do their best to make it as simple as possible to make a claim.

However, for those of us who rarely have the misfortune to have to make a claim, it can still be a somewhat confusing, even daunting prospect.

To help you out, here are three things that you need to know:

  1. What does your policy cover?

Before you take your caravan, campervan or RV out for the first time, don’t just insure it, but read and understand your policy, what it covers, and what you need to do to comply with all of the conditions.

For example, are you covered for tyre damage caused by your own poor driving? What about if an awning breaks because the van moved while it was raised? If you don’t secure something inside when the van is moving, and it shifts and breaks a fixture or fitting, is that covered?

Does your policy specify that you need to take all reasonable steps to keep your caravan well maintained, meaning you have to keep having regular services to be able to claim without issue?

If you find something in the policy that you’re not 100 per cent clear on, best to ask your insurer first, rather than risk penalising yourself through a misunderstanding.

  1. What’s the claim process?

Even the best drivers can have an accident. In fact, the more time you spend out on the road, the more likely you are to come across someone else not paying as much attention as they should.

So, please don’t get caught thinking ‘it won’t happen to me’. Of course, we certainly hope you never have an accident or any cause to make an insurance claim, but the whole point of insurance is that you’re covered in case.

Check out the steps your insurer requires when you have to make a claim.

Do you have to contact them before arranging to get a badly damaged vehicle towed away? Can you choose any repairer, or do they prefer only qualified and certified caravan repairers? How many quotes do they require?

Can you talk to a person, initially, or do they want you to file your report online?

As we said, they aren’t going to try to make it hard for you, but at the time you’ve just had an accident, it can seem a lot harder than it really is.

  1. What’s the repair process?

We can’t speak for other repairers, but because we specialise in insurance repairs, we have created a simple process. It’s one of the reasons that Ace Caravan Repairs is a preferred repairer for almost all Australian caravan insurance companies.

Start by just calling us to tell us about your situation

We’ve been in the caravan repair business for nearly 40 years, so we’ve seen and heard it all before, and we promise to lend a friendly ear from the outset.

Arrange for caravan inspection

We can arrange to inspect your caravan and we’ll even tow your van to our inspection site for free. Then we’ll carry out a thorough inspection because not all damage is immediately apparent.

Review your quote

Once we’ve completed our inspection of your caravan we’ll supply you and the insurance company with a comprehensive quote detailing the cost of repairs. Our reputation within the insurance industry means our insurance quotes are accepted the first time more often than not.

We repair your caravan

Once the insurance quote is accepted, we’ll swing into action to get your caravan repaired with a minimum of fuss.

Don’t be caught out at any stage of the insurance claim process. If you need any advice, even if you’ve just bought your caravan and aren’t sure what sort of cover you need, feel free to give us a call.

Basic caravan maintenance before you go on holiday

 

Are you thinking of pulling the caravan out of your garage and going on holiday?

Are you worried about all the dust, insect families and maintenance issues it has acquired while it’s been sitting in the shed?

Are you thinking about giving up on your road trip because the cleaning task daunts you too much?

Never fear. With these fast and simple pointers your caravan will be good as new in no time.

1. Pest Control

It’s no secret that ants, spiders and sometimes even snakes or possums can be a real problem for anything you might be storing in your shed. Especially your caravan as it’s the perfect place for creepy crawlies to hide and make a comfy home. The best way to get rid of them is bug spray, a broom and a little bit of caution. Don’t go charging in there without thinking. You need to be slow and careful if you want to avoid a snake bite. If the infestation is really bad it’s best to bug bomb your caravan to be safe.

2. Check the fridge

A common mistake people make when cleaning out their caravans is that they don’t go near the fridge. It hasn’t been turned on, right? You didn’t leave any food in it either so why would it need cleaning? The truth is the leftover moisture from the last time it was turned on is likely to have created mould. It’s a good idea you take a look before setting off on the road. You don’t want to be in the middle of nowhere and realise your fridge needs a good scrub. While you’re at it, make sure the fridge still closes properly. Over time the rubber seal tends to erode away and it’s well double checking.

3. Fresh water

You need to give the water tank the best clean you possibly can. You don’t know what has built up in there overtime. It’s a good idea to bring along water purification tablets and bottled water on your trip. Just in case your water tastes a bit odd and you start to suspect you didn’t clean it well enough. It’s good to be prepared!

4. Lubricate latches

While your caravan has been sitting in the shed, it has been cooking away and drying out all the lubricants on your hinges and latches. Grab the WD40 and get to work on all the cupboards and furniture. Last of all, make sure everything is secure and held down. The roads will get bumpy on your trip and you don’t want the inside of your caravan falling apart.

Of course, if you need repairs that go beyond basic maintenance give Ace Caravan Repairs a call today

How we successfully repair your caravan awning

No repair is too hard

side view

A caravan awning is one of the most important elements to your Caravan when you are planning to park up and relax in that perfect spot. You always need to make sure you have a good source of shade for the sun and something to extend your dry area in the rain. One of the most common issues with the awning is Slacking sides which then causes drooping of the material and a lop sided awning. This can be caused by too much tension, an awning that is too big for your caravan or misplacement of the awning on your caravan. The best way to avoid this issue is to set your caravan up and asses the awning before you intend to go away. Try working on the tension of your poles first – too tight can do the opposite to what you think so if you visually see an issue , loosen the tension and re asses. If you can’t seem to fix the issue with the tension you may need to asses the size and fit of your awning to your Caravan. A good rule is to ensure that there is at least 12cm in distance from the lower panel of the awning to the ground. This allows the rubber to be fully utilised.

Sometimes there can be greater issues than this which will require you to have a few things on hand. So what are the 4 basic repair tools/items you should keep handy when travelling?

Clear awning repair tape

Extra awning material

Water Resistant Caravan Glue

Water based cleaning solution

Each of these items are super handy to have in your Caravan to make things a little easier when things go wrong in remote places. The next common issue with Caravan awnings is of course, a tear or rip. It’s important that before you commence the repair that you give it a good wash down with a water based cleaning solution. This will help you to get a much better seal with the repair tape once the surface is prepared. If the whole is quite large you may want to cut some spare material to cover the whole entirely and seal it with awning repair tape on top of the hole. If the rip is small you will most likely be able to get away with just using the Repair tape itself. Most awning repair tape have a strong adhesive layer which allows for a highly cohesive layer.

A few simple tricks to make sure your next trip is stress free. Stay tuned for more Caravan Repair tips to come.

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