Frequently Asked Questions and Answers
Should I service my caravan regularly?
There are three very good reasons to service your caravan regularly:
1/ It will save you money, in the long run, by avoiding the need for expensive repairs;
2/ It could save your next holiday from being ruined by a breakdown or something not working properly for the whole trip;
3/ It could save your life and the lives of other road users!
Safety will always be our number one priority, but we also want your caravan to perform at its best in all facets. That’s why our skilled service team follows a comprehensive servicing checklist.
Caravans and motorhomes are also required by law to meet safety requirements, so there’s no danger to yourself or others. You need to be sure that your brakes, bearings, axles, electricals, and mechanical components are not overly worn or damaged before you head out on the road.
For more information see our Caravan Servicing page.
How long does it take to service my caravan?
A service which requires no major part replacement is generally completed in a few hours.
However, it’s important to understand that caravans and motorhomes are made from hundreds of components, some of which are unique to a particular make or model. That means that it’s not always as simple as buying off-the-shelf parts from a local stockist.
If we have to source parts that are more difficult to get, we will notify you as soon as we know that’s the case and we’ll do our best to give you an estimate of the timeframe for delivery of the part or parts.
You can find more about Caravan Servicing here.
What's involved in an annual caravan service?
The Ace Caravan Repairs team will inspect your bearings, brakes, suspension, tyres, wheels, lights, for any signs of damage or wear and tear. We’ll make sure your vehicle is not only in good condition but, wherever necessary, replace anything that is worn or damaged with a genuine quality replacement part.
How much does it cost to service a caravan?
The cost of a regular maintenance service starts from $220 for a single-axle caravan and from $330 for a double-axle vehicle. We’ll check bearing, brakes, gas and electrical, as well as inspecting the coupling, chassis, windows, and doors and looking for any signs of damp.
How often should I charge my caravan battery?
When your caravan is in storage you should recharge the battery every 1-2 months. We also recommend that you trickle charge your battery to stabilise the power level when you’re about to use your van after it’s been idle for a long period.
How do I arrange for an insurance repair?
We specialise in insurance repairs, which means we not only do them well but also streamline the process for both you and your insurer.
We’ve refined the process into five simple steps:
1/ Contact your insurance company so they can give you your claim number.
2/ Call Ace Caravan Repairs to tell us your claim number. We can take it from here.
3/ We’ll arrange to do a quotation for the insurance company.
4/ Once we get the authority to go ahead, we organise parts and book you in to have the repairs done at your earliest convenience.
5/ We get on with repairing your caravan so you can get back out on the road asap!
How much does it cost to renovate a caravan or motorhome?
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.
What should I look for when 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.
Why does my caravan leak?
Prevention is 100 times better than cure when it comes to water leaks in caravans, so regular inspection and maintenance should be a priority.
Having said that, it’s a fact of caravan life that most caravans will leak at some point in their lifetime. That’s because any external opening, part, or accessory has a seal attaching it to the body of the caravan. – and seals have a limited lifespan.
How often any of the seals around your caravan will need to be replaced depends on how you store, use, and care for your vehicle.
Routine road travel alone is enough to start the breaking down of seals, simply through regular movement. Because seals shrink and expand in hot and cold weather, where you go may also accelerate the wearing of your seals. Of course, how you store your caravan while it’s not being used will also impact on their longevity.
Seals should be checked (at least) annually, but we also recommend a visual inspection before and after every trip. 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.
While it might be tempting to try to replace a seal yourself, it’s not worth doing so if you’re shortening the life of the new seal even as your installing it. Apart from the way you handle the seal itself, the surfaces need proper preparation in order for the new seals to adhere properly.
What's involved in an axle service?
Like every other moving or load-bearing component, your caravan suspension and axles need regular and skilled servicing. The Ace Caravan Repairs service team will check your bearings, leaf springs, slipper leaf springs, and tandem axles, as well as ensuring your pins and bushes have not worn to the extent that your springs could break.
Why is my caravan very low?
If you find that your caravan is too low, causing damage to the rear stabiliser jacks, you probably need to install raiser rails on the chassis. Raising the caravan will certainly make it much easier to negotiate slopes, such as steep driveways.
Can I put a jerry can holder, bike rack, or generator on the bumper bar?
If your caravan hasn’t been built with something on the bumper, we strongly recommend not adding anything. Heavy objects often make the van susceptible to swaying, which is very dangerous. Meanwhile, adding a bike rack is more likely to fatigue or damage the bikes due to excessive vibration.
Should I use weight distribution with my new tow vehicle with air bags?
Some vehicle manufacturers state that weight distribution ‘must not’ be used. Others ‘recommend not to be used’. If they clearly state ‘must not’, there’s a good reason they’ve spelt it out!
The air bags do visually make the car appear as if it’s level and supporting the load well, however, with large vans with heavy ball weights some customers using air-bag tow vehicles complain of poor stability.
Weight distribution leverages the ball weight through the complete car, which locks the front wheels down to the road. In some cases, this makes the complete towing rig more comfortable to tow with.
Why does my caravan sway so easily at highway speed?
A caravan that’s swaying easily could have too much weight behind the wheels. A caravan with a ball weight over 10% will not sway as easily. Make sure the caravan is loaded correctly – and we think that a sway control is always a good investment for any caravan over about 5 metres (16 feet) long.