Helping you along your caravan journey.

Top 10 caravan questions

Table of Contents

Below, we have compiled a list of our most commonly asked questions from people starting out in the hobby.

Are caravans braked?

Yes, the vast majority of modern day caravans are braked. If the fully laden weight of the caravan is over, 2000 kg it is a legal requirement in the UK to have a working independent braking system. To identify whether your caravan does/ does not have one, you can check the hitch. There should be a handbrake lever and break away cable attached.

There could be some vintage or retro style caravans which are not braked. If you are unsure, it would be worth contacting your local caravan repair centre to confirm.

Caravan questions hitch
Braked caravan hitch

Are caravans a good investment?

Yes and no. Unfortunately, as caravans get older, they will depreciate in value similarly to cars or boats. All caravans are prone to damp problems are general wear and tear due to the way they are manufactured and used over time. The ageing process can be delayed by regular servicing and careful maintenance, but ultimately components will deteriorate and wear over time depending on how much it is used.

However, you cannot put a price on memories and spending quality time with friends and family alike. The investment in enjoyment and time spent in the countryside, away from technology, is a huge plus. Camping and caravans sites in the UK and across Europe can offer excellent value for money in comparison to ‘hotel’ style holidays. Depending on what you choose to spend on a caravan, it is possible to make a considerable saving when opting for this type of holiday.

As with all types of transportation, there are retro and classic style caravans which are becoming quite fashionable. Choosing the right one and renovating it carefully could set you up for a rewarding profit over time.

Can I park a caravan on the road?

Yes, you are able to park a caravan on the road in the UK, however trying to find an insurance company that will cover you in these circumstances may be challenging. As with cars, the caravan cannot obstruct property, other road users and pedestrians. The caravan should also be well lit so that it can be easily seen by other road users. Certain local laws may vary.

What caravan can I tow?

There are 4 things you need to check the suitability of the caravan you are towing.

  • Vehicle kerb weight
  • Caravan mass allowable weight
  • Vehicle tow ball weight
  • Driving licence type

The easiest way to determine the correct match is to visit a website like https://towcar.info/ where this can be calculated automatically.

Otherwise, you can check the documentation of your car and caravan and calculate the maximum weight your car can tow, all you need to do is subtract the gross vehicle weight (GVW) from the gross train weight (GTW). This is the absolute maximum weight your vehicle can tow.

The maximum tow ball weight of the car should be written in the vehicle handbook.

Depending on when you passed, your driving licence will also determine what you can tow. Use this illustration below to check…

towing licence guide
Towing licence guide, UK, 2022.

Which caravan club is the best?

Both ‘Camping & Caravan Club’ and the ‘Caravan & Motorhome Club (Caravan Club)’ offer a huge selection of sites, both self owned and privately owned. The quality and facilities of the sites for both clubs can vary significantly, and both clubs offer a discount to its members. Some sites are members only, but the majority are available to non-members at a slightly higher cost.

Before making your choice, it is important to check the type of regions you are likely to visit, as there can be more sites in a certain area depending on the club. For example, in Kent there are 2 Camping & Caravan club sites and 3 official Caravan Club sites. Of course, you could just join both if you can’t decide between them.

Another option would be to join neither club and to search for alternative caravan sites which are privately owned and can easily be found on Campsites.co.uk. Here you’ll find over 2000 caravan sites to choose from and if you look carefully many offer similar facilities and value.

AdobeStock 6036344
Caravan site in the UK.

Will caravan damp dry out?

Yes, the damp found in a caravan can be dried out, although structural damage can be compromised which is much harder to restore. Once the hidden wooden panels/ frame gets wet they will begin to rot making them weaker and the only way to restore the strength is to replace the water damaged wood. This can be a long-drawn-out process which often involved removing cupboards, fixings and sometimes windows in order to access the damaged areas.

Unless you have a large, dry garage to work in and the carpentry skills to renovate such a caravan, we would advise to steer clear or to seek professional help. Due to the amount of hours required for this kind of repair, professional renovation can often be expensive and depending on the value of the van it might be more beneficial to either sell or avoid the caravan in question.

All caravans will have some damp due to the way in which they are built, but anything over 15% damp should be investigated as this could spread and worsen if it’s not eradicated.

What should caravan tyre pressures be?

Caravan tyres are designed to take a larger, heavier load ; they will often require a higher pressure to match. Most caravan tyres will display their maximum pressure PSI on the side of the tyre wall, but the correct pressures can also be found in the handbook that came with your caravan. Make sure you look for the correct van model and wheel size which is the same as the ones fitted to your van to get the correct pressures. If you are using a 12V tyre inflator, you may need to increase the maximum PSI as most have a safety cut off to prevent you over inflating your car tyres.

Can caravans use the outside lane on the Motorway?

Sometimes referred to as the ‘fast lane’ and used to overtake slower traffic ahead. All lanes can be used when towing a trailer or caravan. The only exception to this rule is when there are three lanes or more. When towing a trailer or caravan, a maximum speed limit of 60mph is permitted and 50mph on a dual carriageway.

How do you load a caravan?

It is absolutely essential that you load your caravan correctly, as ignoring the guidelines could lead to catastrophic consequences of your van jackknifing across the road. Most handbooks supplied with your caravan will illustrate the best way to load your caravan, in most cases the heaviest items should lay across the middle of the van directly above the axle. Too much weight at either the front or rear of the van could lead to it snaking, especially in higher winds.

When is it too windy to tow?

The best way to remain safe when towing is to plan ahead and check the weather forecast. Anything above 40mph wind gusts could make for an unpleasant trip. Anything above 50mph would be considered unsafe and potentially life-threatening. High winds can cause the caravan to jackknife or snake across the road, and in some cases overturn the van altogether.

We would always advise choosing another day if you’re not sure. It is better to get there late, than not at all.

AdobeStock 326530327
Caravan Traffic Accident at Highway

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