Admit it, there's nothing more satisfying than to own
and be seen in a shiny well cared for outfit when touring.
'As smart as paint' goes the old saying but like cars, caravan
bodies deteriorate with age and you need to take extra special
care with if you want to keep that body beautiful.
Naturally, a van's body can suffer from stone chip damage
on the move and while touch-up paints are obtainable from
van dealers and specialists, they are not as freely available
as car types and the shades can be discontinued quickly.
That said, a good paint specialist should be able to blend
and match up a paint shade to your needs easily enough
if the caravan maker can't supply it anymore.
Actual body repairs can be difficult however, unless it's
left to the professionals. Older vans may have been built
using a thin aluminium skin rather than GRP that's now
employed. Usually, it's easier to replace aluminium panels
than to have them beaten out and filled because that's
a specialist job.
There again, working with fibreglass isn't so straightforward
either, particularly on larger patches of damage where
professional matting or gelling work may be required.
Think very carefully indeed before having your caravan
resprayed. Unless an professional job is performed, repainting
a tourer that's less than ten years of age will significantly
devalue it! It's a very expensive job too, taking a full
week's work, which means that there's little change out
of £2000. Considering their resale values, it could
be money down the drain. However, if you are skilled at
this yourself then you could save a small fortune while
also having the extra satisfaction of knowing you have
done the work yourself.
A much cheaper alternative to the above is brush or roller
painting. On older vans it is certainly the most cost-effective
method of smartening up a tatty tourer. The secret of a
first-class job without the usual brush marks showing is
in the preparation and using good quality brushes or, better
still, rollers, followed by a light rubbing down with fine
wet/dry paper with soap and then a polish.
Moving down to the chassis, most have been galvanised from
new so rusting isn't a real problem these days. However,
if the chassis rails are looking aged, then a run down followed
by a coat of tough and durable Hammerite is the best cure
- fairly cheap and straightforward (if uncomfortable lying
on your back) to apply. If your caravan is in good nick,
then the best thing to do is to keep it that way with regular
washing using Fenwick's Caravan Cleaner and rinsing it off
with Fenwick's Bobby Dazzler.
Take care where you store it and if it's undercover during
the winter time, remove the cover and check it often. Fenwick's
Overwintering is a great product for protecting your
van during a long storage over winter.