An annual caravan service is vital to ensure your vehicle's health. In this blog, I (Dan) tell you about our recent experience of having the caravan serviced and what I think, pricing, pros and the cons!
We got our hands on our Crusader Storm in mid-March 2017 after much deliberation on choosing the right van. As many of you who have read our articles in Caravan Magazine or have read our other blog entries may know, the van was purchased from Venture Caravans, who are located on the A5 in Daventry!
In the past 12 months since buying this second hand twinny, we've made the most of it. A recent count up at new year revealed we had achieved over 80 nights of touring, not a record by many people’s standard but good going by ours, especially whilst holding down two full time careers!
We've had a lot of great travels: Derbyshire, Isle of Wight, Gloucester and Suffolk, just to mention a few places we've seen from our Rugby base in 2017. It's fair to say that the vans be pretty heavily used but that also means we do our best to keep it in tip-top condition. And talking of tip-top, in the now 14 months of ownership we haven't a single niggle or issue to report. Credit here has to go to the previous owners, Venture Caravans and Elddis, Part of Erwin Hymer Group, formerly Explorer Group).
March came around this year and a little service reminder note from Venture was a good prod to get me thinking about caravan servicing and it’s importance.
But why? Why do I need to have a service? Everything seems ok, the wheel hasn't fallen off.... what's the point? For many people, this can be a question they ask themselves, as after all, servicing isn't particularly cheap, and the caravan usually comes back looking exactly the same as it did when you delivered it to the dealer that morning. It is therefore, perfectly normal to have these doubts, especially when every penny and pound counts!
I contacted Venture to book our service around mid-March and booked the next available service date, being 2nd May. It's worth noting that Service centres can become very busy, especially throughout the season and Spring, so if you've got anything to plan around, make sure you get it booked in early!
The process on the day is simple. Before you arrive, make sure you've left the walkways and accesses to lockers, under seats reasonably clear as it makes the Engineer's job much easier. On service day, it’s a good idea to check what time you can deliver your van. The sooner seems to be better and means that if you're collecting it the same day, it might be early...bonus!
I dropped our van off at 08:30 as I knew there was a lot of work to do. I am a tad embarrassed to admit that the Alde wet central heating fluid in our caravan was well overdue a change, but I left it until the service. Knowing this may take a few hours added to the service time, I made sure the van was there super early! Drive into the service yard, unhitch the van, sign in at reception, drive away and wait for a call... it really is as simple as that!
It wasn't until I received a call from Venture that afternoon, that I realised why servicing is important. The call from the dealer was a courtesy call to tell me that the caravan would be an additional hour or so before it could be collected. It was then I was told that during the Alde fluid change, the engineer has spotted a crack in the expansion header tank which holds the fluid for the system, a defect that I was completely unaware of! As Venture have a comprehensive service centre, this wasn't a problem. Part in stock and fitted before I arrived.
I arrived at 4PM, and the van was ready. The service team at venture talk you through all the work that has been completed and make sure that you understand everything before you leave. The whole experience with Venture caravans was brilliant and a great benchmark for other dealers around.
In our opinion, any regarding caravan owner should have their vehicle serviced every year. There's a lot of things that can happen in 12 months, either through use, wear and tear, or a lack of use, such as seizing, tyre damage etc. Although there's a lot that we like to think that we check ourselves, most of us aren't professionals. Regardless of the age of your caravan, a service will still help to keep you on track. Prices are often not favourable, early drop of can make for a long day but all in all, the knowledge of a professional caravan technical will provide invaluable, as we found out!
Our YoungTourers recommendation is to ensure you have your van serviced annually and make sure that the workshop is NCC (National Caravan Council) approved, as this will ensure the service you receive is up to standard and nationally recognised. Any caravan serviced by an NCC approved should also have a little sticker fitted to the A-frame in recognition of the work which has been carried out.
If you want to find out more about NCC approved caravan servicing workshop scheme, take a look here: