Do caravans have to have an MOT?

In this blog post, we will answer the following question: Do caravans have to have an MOT? We will explain why technical inspection and proper maintenance of your caravan are essential and how to carry them. 

Do caravans have to have an MOT?

Caravans do not need to have an MOT, still as owner, you must ensure that your vehicle is safe to travel and live in. Annual inspections of the caravan’s gas, water and electrical systems are more than recommended. These are important parts for your safety, for the safety of other road users and for the environment.

Thus,  make sure you regularly check your caravan’s: 

  1. Braking device (service brake, emergency brake, parking brake)
  2. Lights (clearance lights, rear position lights, signal lights, ..)
  3. Axles, wheels, tires and suspension
  4. The chassis and the body
  5. Water, gas and electrical systems. 

Each part to be inspected is evaluated against different parameters. The wear of parts important for road safety is also checked. This makes it possible to detect possible dangers.

How to service your caravan?

A caravan is a vehicle that you need to maintain just like the car you use every day. Maintenance is not that different, but we still want to give you some tips on how to properly maintain your vehicle:

  • Washing your motorhome can reveal small flaws.
  • After a long period of rest, the batteries should be charged. Then check if all devices are still working.
  • Clean the water and waste tank and check for leaks from the pump or filter.
  • Also, check for leaks in the gas line. You do this by exerting pressure on the pipes and measuring whether this pressure decreases.
  • Tires: Check tension and check for wear. Tires older than six years old should be replaced.
  • Replace the timing belt every five years or after 100,000 kilometres on the odometer.
  • Break for winter? Make sure to place the motorhome in the garage with the tank full to avoid condensation in the fuel tank.
  • Have the frame checked for damage every two years.
  • To protect your motorhome, you can wax it better. Put a little oil on door locks, door hinges, bicycle racks, etc.
  • Check the oil level and replace the brake oil at least every two years.
  • Coat the contact points of the awnings with oil or grease.
  • Check the corners of windows, domes and gaskets for moisture.
  • Provide good ventilation or opt for humidity sensors. You can find more information on humidity sensors here

Always check your caravan’s gas hoses

During the checks of caravans during the annual holiday exodus, the police still find the same shortcomings: overloading, worn tires, faulty lights and … expired gas pipes. It is recommended to replace the orange gas hoses every 4/5 years (the year of production is indicated on the hose). 

In the meantime, check them yourself by looking for damage and cracks. Immediately replace kinked hoses. Don’t save on this. Replace the pressure regulators that you screw into the bottle every ten years.

Caravan moisture measurement and warranty

Some manufacturers still use wood walls, roofs and floors, but more and more brands are switching to plastic and innovative glue methods. Thus, you can obtain a water resistance guarantee for at least 12 years. 

Provided, however, that such a vehicle passes a humidity test every year. As part of it, the caravan is checked on thirty points, windows, doors, drawbar and corners. Such a check costs around 50 euros at a caravan dealer.

Caravan tires, answers to your questions

The tires on the caravan never wear out from the way you drive; because they are only used very little during this one. They do wear well, however, due to the cracks which can then cause a puncture. 

Do not ride with caravan tires older than six years, some insurers do not compensate for accidents with older tires. You can find the age of the caravan’s tires on the DOT code on the sidewall: DOT 3213 means the tire was produced in week 32 of 2013.

When should they be changed?

Caravan tires should be changed at least once every 6 years, even when they appear to be in good condition. Indeed, these tires tend to deform during long periods of parking, to which caravans are often prone. A good indication of wear is the presence of small slots near the edge of the tire rim. To avoid or at least delay tire deformation, three methods exist:

  • Replace the wheels with suitable metal supports
  • Lift the caravan and turn the wheels a quarter turn every month or so
  • Use jacks to lift the caravan and lift the tires off the ground.

Which tires to choose from?

The main factor that you should pay attention to when choosing your tires is the load index, indicating the maximum load supported by the tire. Being equipped with tires with a rating lower than the actual load of your caravan creates a risk of a tire bursting and is therefore very dangerous behaviour, and obviously reprehensible from a legal point of view.  Of course, you must also adhere to the dimensions recommended by the manufacturer, as for a car.

You can also opt for reinforced tires, designed to withstand heavier loads than conventional tires, always taking care to ensure compliance with the tire dimensions, and load and speed indices.

How to inflate your caravan tires?

Usually, it is advisable to inflate your caravan tires about 0.5 bar above the reference inflation pressure, as these are often pushed to the limit of their load capacity. For conventional car tires, this means inflating them to around 3 bar, and to around 3.5 bar for reinforced tires.

It is also allowed to inflate your tires with nitrogen in order to maintain constant pressure inside them. In fact, nitrogen greatly limits pressure losses via the rubber of the tire, thus slowing down the process of tire wear. 

Finally, since the difference in atmospheric pressure between sea and mountain hardly influences the pressure inside the tire, it is not necessary to take it into account when inflating the tires.

The bottom line

Besides biannual maintenance at your dealership, you can obviously maintain your caravan yourself. Checking the gas line for leaks with soapy water for example, but also the ventilation openings, the refrigerator and the stove to check that they are not clogged with dirt or dust.  You can replace the pressure regulator’s rubber washer if necessary and, inside, remove the stove panel to vacuum behind.

If you have any comments, questions or tips on how to better maintain a caravan, please feel free to share them.

FAQ on Do caravans have to have an MOT?

Which vehicles do not need to pass a technical check?

Vehicles exempted from technical control are in particular motorcycles, 2 wheels and 3 wheels but also cars without a license, caravans, trailers, tractors or even cars registered in the diplomatic services or similar.

What maintenance for a caravan?

Maintenance tips for your caravan or motorhome:

  • After a long period of rest, the batteries should be charged. 
  • Clean the water and waste tank and check for leaks from the pump or filter.
  • Also, check for leaks in the gas line. 
  • Tires: Check tension and check for wear.

What class is a motorhome for MOT?

A motorhome is class 4 MOT.

When should I carry out the technical inspection of a motorhome?

This is the first question you ask yourself when you own a motorhome. The answer is quite simple and does not depend on the total authorized weight of your vehicle.  Indeed, any motorhome must undergo a technical inspection within 6 months preceding the 4th anniversary of its first registration. The control then remains valid for two years.

References

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