Are you going away in your European caravan this summer?

Are you going away in your European caravan this summer?

This article touches on a few important things to know if you want to extend the life of your caravan.

The most common mistake is overloading your European caravan.

Every European caravan will have a manufacturer's plate by the entrance door. This plate displays the vehicle's VIN number, empty weight, and maximum carrying capacity.

In this example, the difference between the maximum payload weight and the empty weight is only 117 kg. If you have many extras fitted, such as motor movers, awnings, extra batteries, solar systems, and tanks, then you should add up the combined weight of all these items, which might be more than 117 kg. It makes sense to weigh your caravan before you leave on your journey.

What are the consequences of overloading?

We have been swamped at Vantage RV repairing vehicles damaged due to overloading or aging suspension.

European caravans were designed to be towed by low-powered passenger vehicles on very well-maintained motorways and highways.

In New Zealand, we tow them with powerful UTEs and SUVs over logging tracks and badly potholed highways. The suspension and body can be compromised if the vehicle is overloaded and hits a pothole.

The suspension construction relies on built-in rubbers that absorb road shocks when traveling, similar to Dura-torque suspension, which we know in NZ. When overloaded, the rubbers become more compressed than normal and cannot absorb the road shock effectively; the road shock is then transmitted through the vehicle.

Tips to avoid damage and costly bills

Avoid overloading or filling all the cupboards with food to save a few dollars, buy your supplies at your destination, and carry most of the weight in the tow vehicle.

Weigh the vehicle before you travel, get familiar with the carrying capacity of the vehicle, sum up the weight of all the extras, and carry most of the weight in the tow vehicle.

If the vehicle has tanks, travel with empty tanks

Go slowly when the road maintenance is suspect.

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