A Guide to Better Driving with a Trailer or Caravan

Whether you’re towing a caravan or a horse box you need to ensure that your trailer is correctly attached to your vehicle. All sorts of accidents and issues can occur if the trailer is not attached correctly. So, we’ve compiled a list of tips and tricks to ensure your trailer is properly attached to the back of your vehicle.

motorhome towing trailer

Check

Before you even take off it’s important to check that the trailer is attached to the car safely and that the brake lights are working correctly.

Check the hitch and ensure that the tongue is over the ball if it’s a ball hitch. Also ensure that the locking mechanism is stuck in place and locked with the pin. If this isn’t secure the trailer could become loose. Trailers should also have two chains, running across from one side to the other in an X-shape to keep the vehicle and trailer tied together in the worst case scenario.

Pull the trailer to check the connection and see if it comes off the hitch. If this happens then you will need to reattach it. In addition check the wheel or stand for the trailer is in the drive position.

Now, check the brake lights and signals are working and get a friend to help you see this is the case when you press the brakes. If there’s no one to help then check the brakes in front of a reflective surface. It’s very important that these work as otherwise no one can tell when you’re braking and this can cause problems.

When Driving

Always be used to your trailer and car before you set off on a long journey. If it’s a new combo then do some practice maneuverers. This will help you get used to the car and help when you need to back up.

Remember that if you’re taking turns in a vehicle like this you will need to overshoot them quite often. Taking wide turns is essential as otherwise you may hit poles, street furniture or other obstacles. No matter what happens, always try to stay calm and take your time.

Remember that the larger the load the longer it will take to stop a horse trailer or a caravan. So, always test your stopping power before doing so. In addition, always ensure that your towing capacity is suited for the car’s engine and braking mechanism. Always be cautious.

Insurance

If pulling a trailer then it’s a good idea to invest in insurance for a caravan or a horse trailer. Some car, equine or holiday insurance will inadvertently cover pulling a trailer – others won’t so check the small print.

Of course, prevention is better than cure and being able to avoid issues when pulling your trailer is the best form of insurance. The best way to avoid problems is to take your time, be careful when backing up and always checking before setting off that your hitch is set up correctly. Follow these tips and you will have no problems when driving your vehicle with trailer.

 

Posted in Towing

How to Care for your Motorhome Battery

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Did you know that a large number of the batteries used for RVs tend to die before they should and the reason for this – under or over charging.

Undercharging is the result of people using batteries until almost dead and then not charging them fully. This results in a sulphate becoming attached to the plates and this causes crystals which cause problems for the battery. Ironically, if a battery is charged for too long this also happens.

Motorhome-Battery

Overcharging of batteries results in severe water loss and this causes corrosion to the battery. This happens most especially to motorhome or RV batteries. People make the common mistake of leaving the battery charging when the RV isn’t being used. It’s thought that this will keep the batteries at a tip top level, however the problem is that though most batteries are 12v, they charge at a 13.5v rate and this means that they overcharge batteries. This will cause an early death to batteries. So, we’ve compiled a number of tips to keep your motorhome’s battery in top shape for longer.

Find the Level

From the above information, we realise that it’s best to keep batteries almost charged by just not at the top of their game. The best way to do this and prevent sulfutation is to use a 12.4v charger and a maintainer and conditioner. This keeps the battery almost charged at all times, within safe paradigms.

Depth

It’s better to ensure the discharge from a battery is lower than higher. For example if a battery loses 50% of its power each day before being charged to full, it’s a lot better than if it loses 80% of its power before being charged back up to the top of its range. AlphaBatteries would also advise you to take note and never let a battery fall below 10.5v charge.
Motorhomes

The motorhome itself will discharge the battery if it’s left with it over time. This can be caused by a number of different variables including TV antenna, clocks, stereos and a number of appliances. If you’re not intending on using an RV for a period it’s best to disconnect the switch and turn it to the off position. Do be aware that it’s far from unusual for a battery to discharge around 10% a month.

Temperatures

As well as overcharging, warm temperatures will also cause a battery life to diminish and you should always try to keep a battery in cool and dry areas. This will help keep the charge up.

Proper Charging

It’s possible to charge a battery to 90% in a short space of time, however to get the last 10% of charge you will need to place the battery on an absorption charge and then on a float charge to keep it topped up. This will get the battery back to full power without causing problems.
Motorhome batteries can take a battering and people often overlook them as they are used intermittently. However, with these tips you can be sure your battery is at the top level and that there are no problems.

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Posted in Motorhome Care

Manufacturer branded vs non-branded car parts

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If you’re wondering whether to plump for manufacturer branded over non branded car parts, or vice versa, then this guide will talk you through the pros and cons of each.

Non branded parts

PROS
They’re cheaper: Non branded car parts are pretty much always cheaper than branded ones; however you can always save a little more by shopping around, bear in mind however that if it seems too cheap, then it probably is too good to be true!
Quality can sometimes be just as good as manufacturer brand parts: This point needs to be approached with care; we know at http://www.cpacarparts.co.uk/ that a lot of non-branded car parts can be just as good as their branded counterparts.
CONS
Quality can vary greatly: The quality of non manufacturer branded parts may vary in quality, even when different parts are from the same range.
There can be an overwhelming selection: For those that are unfamiliar with unbranded parts, the sheer number of parts can be nothing short of overwhelming. Not only that, but you also need to be sure as to the model your part will fit, as returning non branded parts, particularly via the internet, can be extremely inconvenient.
Non branded parts may not have a warranty: Many non branded parts do not offer a warranty, so check before your purchase.

Branded parts

PROS
More variety: Branded car parts will always have a larger variety than non branded parts, and they’re less likely to suffer from certain issues that are related to how well the part fits. Even the smallest of defects
More availability: Branded parts are always going to be more widely available across all ranges; non branded parts may have inordinate wait times, which mean you may have to purchases a branded part out of necessity.
Easier to select your part: Non branded parts come straight from the manufacturers themselves, and you can purchase them from most main stream shops. This ensures that you get the best advice possible as to what part it is you need, and you’ll only have the one to choose from!
Better quality: Your new part will work just as your old one did. This way you know what you’re getting each and every time.
• Your part will come with a warranty: The majority of manufacturer parts come with warranties as standard, so you can be safe in the knowledge that, should something go wrong, your part will be replaced for free.
CONS
More expensive: There’s no two ways about it… branded car parts are more expensive, but that’s the only real draw back of branded parts.

Purchasing a manufacturer branded part is preferable to non branded parts for many reasons; however the non branded are cheaper and there may be many instances where manufacturer branded parts simply aren’t affordable at that point in time. In such instances you should not only shop around, but you should also do your homework as to the quality of the budget brand you’re looking at.

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Posted in Motorhome Parts

Top 10 Reasons to Hire a Motorhome in Northern Ireland

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If you don’t already own a motorhome, hiring is an ideal way to get to know the motorhome lifestyle. You can tour the picturesque Northern Ireland countryside in total comfort and at your own pace. You can stop at breathtaking panoramic vantage points for a relaxing picnic or to take a stroll and some photographs. You can  discover and explore places of natural beauty in Northern Ireland, the republic of Ireland or further afield at your leisure. You can park up for the night overlooking the coast or nestled in the hills and mountains. When travelling you can stop for a tea/coffee or even a toilet break at your own convenience. You can enjoy the freedom of camping without all the hassles that come with it!

Here are some more reasons why motorhome rental is the way to go:

1. Freedom
Get up and go when and where you want. Use your motorhome rental to see some of the more remote areas of Ireland or stop over at any of the recommended or approved sites around the country. Park up with a fantastic view of the mountains and enjoy a few days of peace and quiet… Utopia!

2. Convenience
A motorhome can be parked up and lived in almost anywhere. You can drive your luxury holiday home to a fantastic beach or to the top of a mountain range and then park up and enjoy the beautiful scenery. You don’t have to find and book hotels before you go. You don’t have to come up with a schedule for when you need to arrive and depart a particular stopover. You are free to leave if you change your mind whenever you want.

3. Comfort
Motorhomes are spacious and have all the facilities that a family needs so there is no need to worry about how your children are going to cope with a long flight, or whether you can fit four or five people into one hotel room. These modern day recreational vehicles usually come equipped with a kitchen, a bathroom, sofas, an LCD Television, a double bed and much more. Some motorhomes have storage for bicycles, jet skis and surf boards. Motorhomes usually cater for 2 – 6 people and provide you with the warmth and comfort of home. After enjoying the countryside on a long walk or cycle, there is nothing better than returning to your motorhome for a hot shower and then a mug of hot tea/coffee and a movie.

4. Specific Events
Why not take your motorhome rental to music festivals, concerts, car races and sporting events? There are usually lots of motorhomes at these events as they are much more convenient than the local accommodation. Hotels and B&Bs may be located many miles from the actual event and often have inflated prices especially for the occasion. Worse still, they may be booked to capacity due to the unusually large numbers of visitors in the area. Why not have the luxury of home and park your motorhome rental “on site” at the event. There is no need to queue for the toilets at a music festival when you have your motorhome with you.

5. Visiting distant family and relatives
If you want to visit family or friends who live a little further away, why not travel in style and stay close by or even on your distant family’s driveway. If they don’t have a spare bedroom or if you don’t want to invade their personal space too much then a motorhome rental is the perfect solution. You can even take them out on a relaxing day trip.

6. An Extra Bedroom
If you don’t have a spare or guest bedroom in your home but still would like friends and family to come and stay over occasionally, then a motorhome is the perfect solution. Motorhome rental costs much less in the low season which means you can provide self-contained accommodation with one or more extra bedrooms at little cost.

7. Choice of Home Cooking or Eating Out
With a motorhome you can decide when and where you want to eat each meal. Use the on-board fully equipped kitchen with oven and hob to prepare a meal for your family. If there is a requirement for a special diet, cooking in the motorhome makes it easy. Alternatively, you can enjoy a take-away in front of the TV or visit a top hotel for special treat.

8. Cost
Motorhomes are expensive to buy and even if you can afford to own one, it is difficult to justify the cost of ownership unless you get good use of it throughout the year. Many Motorhome owners find that they do not have as much time to spend in their motorhome as they would like to. Motorhome rental allows you to “Pay As You Go” without having to worry about annual storage, maintenance, higher purchase, tax and insurance bills. Why spend thousands of pounds on a motorhome or caravan only to have it sit on your driveway except for the occasional weekend away? Hire a motorhome for as long as you need it without all the hassle.

9. Try before you buy
If you are thinking of buying a motorhome but have never tried the experience, motorhome rental can give you the peace of mind to know that you are making the correct decision.

10. A New Experience
If you have never tried it before, you should rent a motorhome so you can see what you are missing and start living. Take your family on a different holiday and enjoy what Northern Ireland and the republic of Ireland has to offer in abundance… beautiful scenery.

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Posted in Motorhome Hire, Northern Ireland
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