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Frequently Asked Questions


Q. How often does my caravan/motorhome/horsebox need servicing?

A. Most vehicles should be checked annually. If your vehicle is not used a lot, brakes, damp and tyres may be more prone to give problems; checking these regularly will prevent problems developing and in the long term, keep repair and maintenance bills down.  Ultimately it’s your decision as to how often you service your vehicle but you should weigh extent of use against in-activity and decide what suits you best.


Q. How often should I change my tyres?

A. Manufacturers recommend at least every 5 (five) years, no more than 7. Ultra-violet degradation is cited as the main reason for this outside of the normal tread wear and cracking or perished rubber.  N.B. It is worth noting that should a blow-out occur and your insurance company discovers that the tyre was “out-of-date” they may refuse to honour any insurance claim.


Q. What sort of tyres should I put on my caravan?

A. The short answer is the best quality caravan or commercial tyre you can afford.  I don’t recommend any particular make of tyre but there are a couple of pointers as to the standard:-

  • The tyres should have a load bearing capacity in excess of half (or quarter if your caravan is a twin axle) the MTPLM (see below) i.e. if your caravan has an MTPLM of 1500kg, your tyres should have a maximum load rating in excess of 750kg each if it’s a single axle caravan, or in excess of 375kg each if it’s a twin.
  • Commercial grade (C) tyres sometimes called “LT” (Light Truck) are recommended as they have more layers or ply. LT & C tyres used to be 6 or 8 ply but I believe the 6’s are no longer available so 8 ply is what you need. You may find that these tyres are actually cheaper then the equivalent size of car tyres which are usually 4 ply and are NOT acceptable.


Q. What are MiRO and MTPLM?

A.MiRO - Mass in Running Order; this is the weight of your caravan EMPTY with only the fixtures and fittings it came with from the factory.

MTPLM - Maximum Technically Permissible Laden Mass; this is the total permissible weight with all your equipment, TV, clothes, chairs, bikes, awning, etc. including additions like solar panels, ladders, bike racks and the like.

There is normally a specification plate riveted to the side of the caravan (mostly beside your door) which tells you the MiRO and MTPLM:- the maximum load you can add to the basic weight of the caravan is the MTPLM minus the MiRO.


Q. What should my caravan tyre pressure be?

A. Normally tyre pressures are between 45 and 60 psi (3.1 to 4.5 bar) but you can work it out using the following calculation:-

Caravan Tyre Pressure Calculator

Max Tyre Pressure    On Tyre Wall

Max Tyre Load in Kg  On Tyre Wall

MTPLM of Caravan   On Van Plate


a)  Number of tyres        = 2

b)Max Tyre Load            =600kg

c)  Max Tyre Pressure     = 65psi

d)MTPLM Of Van           = 850kg


a x b = 2 x 600 = 1200

c÷(a x b) = 65 ÷ 1200 = 0.0542*

d x [c÷(a x b)] = 0.0542 x 850 = 46.07

Round up or down = 46psi for each tyre.

*Rounded to 4 decimal places


Q. Can I leave my gas bottle connected and the isolation valve open?

A. In most cases NO! Always close the isolation valve: Depending on your system this could be the switch on the Cylinder regulator or the Cylinder’s own screw-shut type valve.

The exceptions to this rule are the newer type bulkhead regulators (Drive-Safe, Secumotion or Use-Whilst-You-Drive LPG Gas regulator (NOT the standard ones) which can be fitted to your motorhome. These regulators have a special device incorporated which works on the same principle as your seatbelts. If you decelerate too fast (you and I know it as an emergency stop or crash!!) the valve will automatically cut the gas supply. These also have to be connected with special connection pipes which are much more resilient than standard ones – and more expensive.


Q. How do I drain the water system for winter?

A. Caravan.

  • Try to complete this procedure prior to departure from your last excursion of the year.
  • Switch off the water heater – gas and electric.
  • Switch off the pump(s) and disconnect from the outside of the caravan.
  • Open all the taps (mixer taps should be set in the middle to open both hot and cold).
  • Remove the drain plug (Carver Water Heaters) and open any drain valves – these are usually blue with a yellow lever on the top; if the lever is down the valve is shut and will not let water drain; if the lever is up, the valve is open and water will escape.
  • If you have an on-board tank, open this drain valve too.

A. Motorhome/Horsebox

·             As above but normally without the water barrel outside.


Q. I don’t think my battery is charging – how can I check?

A. Disconnect one lead from the battery, plug in the mains lead and switch the charger on. You should still be able to switch the 12v lights on inside the vehicle if the charger is working.  If the battery looks "bulged / blown" or smells of rotten eggs, replace IMMEDIATELY.


Q.  When I pitch my caravan my fridge will not cool or freeze when I switch it onto the 12v setting – is it broken?

A.  No it’s not broken. Your fridge will only work on 12v when the grey (12S) plug is connected to your car – if it ran off your leisure battery it’d be flat in a couple of hours. Modern caravans and motorhomes will only allow the fridge to function on 12v when there is sufficient power i.e. actually in excess of 12v. If your fridge has an automatic setting, when the engine stops it will search for the most economical power source.

REMEMBER to reconnect the 12S plug to the car before you drive off or you could be phoning me to supply and fit a new one!


Q. How often should I change my water filter?

A. Water filters are designed for up to 30 days of use so your summer fortnight and another 8 weekends will be fine. Manufacturers recommend the replacement of filters at least annually.


Q. I am looking at a second-hand caravan which doesn’t smell damp, will it be OK?

A. The only way to tell for sure is with a damp meter assessment.  Look for tell-tale signs like “blown” or peeling wall coverings and mould area(s).  Paying particular attention to areas e.g. aerial through the roof, joints between roof and wall, door etc.

In general when buying a pre-owned vehicle ask to see any service schedules – INCLUDING damp reports – and remember it’s previous owners may not have been as “loving” as you might wish.

Beware of …… air fresheners and lockers you’re told are difficult to open as well as anyone who’s not keen to show you any of the appliances working as this could indicate problems.


Q. How should I care for my battery?

A. It is recommended to check the electrolyte (de-ionised water) level twice a year and charge the battery for 24 hours every month.  Don’t store your battery on a concrete floor - the lead in the concrete may drain the power more quickly so place it on a piece of plywood or workbench.


Q. My Cascade 2 water heater will not heat the water on electric, why?

A. This type of water heater has a re-set button on the cover of the electric element - the RED button in the middle at the bottom.

Pushing this button should re-set the thermal cut-out on the electric element.  














Q. Why does my Fanmaster fan only blow cold air?

A.There is a reset button on the rear of the unit accessed from behind the fire.  It is on the left hand edge of the plastic casing (it's a flexible cut-out of the casing) which when depressed, contacts the reset button on the heater element.



Carbon Monoxide Poisoning


Q. What is carbon monoxide?

A. Carbon monoxide (CO) is a highly poisonous substance produced by the incomplete burning of gas and Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG).  You are particularly at risk from carbon monoxide poisoning while sleeping.


This happens when a gas appliance has been incorrectly installed, porly maintained or repaired.  It can also be caused by flues, chimneys or vents being blocked.


Q. What ARE the symptoms / treatment?

A. You can’t see it, taste it or smell it but it can kill quickly and with no warning.

Unsafe gas appliances produce a highly poisonous gas called carbon monoxide (CO). It can cause death as well as serious long term health problems such as brain damage.

Remember the six main symptoms to look out for:

1.     headaches

2.     dizziness 

3.     nausea 

4.     breathlessness 

5.     collapse 

6.     loss of consciousness 

Carbon monoxide symptoms are similar to flu, food poisoning, viral infections and simply tiredness. That’s why it’s quite common for people to mistake this very dangerous poisoning for something else.














Other signs that could point to carbon monoxide poisoning:

  • Symptoms only occur when you are away in your vehicle and using gas.
  • Symptoms disappear or get better when you leave your vehicle and reappear when you return (including pets).

What should I do if I experience any symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning?

  • Turn off gas appliance(s)
  • Leave the vehicle IMMEDIATELY for fresh air, leaving doors and windows open
  • Seek medical advice - let them know that you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning
  • If you think there is immediate danger, call the Gas Emergency Helpline
  • Contact a Gas Safe registered engineer to inspect your gas appliances and flues before using your vehicle again.

Q. How do I avoid a carbon monoxide leak in my vehicle?

A. Gas Safe register strongly recommend you fit an audible carbon monoxide alarm.


If your vehicle has any of the following, your gas appliances should be regularly serviced by a Gas Safe registered engineer:

  • The flame on your cooker should be crisp and blue. Lazy yellow or orange flames mean you need to get your cooker checked
  • Dark staining around or on appliances
  • Pilot lights that frequently blow out 
  • Increased condensation inside windows 


Before purchasing a carbon monoxide alarm, always make sure it is marked to EN 50291. It should also have the British Standards' Kitemark or another European approval organisation's mark on it.  DO NOT use the "black spot" detectors that change colour when carbon monoxide is present. 


If you are unsure about ANYTHING to do with you caravan, motorhome, campervan, horsebox, etc, please contact us and we'll do our best to help.

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