Damage to a caravan or car can cut a trip short and result in high expenses. With caravanning taking you to the more remote areas of Australia where unsealed gravel roads are common, it’s important to ensure your vehicles are protected before the trip.
Follow these guidelines to give your car and caravan the best defense against the damage loose stones can cause.
Even vans marked as ‘off-road’ suitable may still have areas of vulnerability. Check under your van and vehicle for any exposed pipes or unprotected wiring that could be easily reached by flicked up stones. If there are any PVC or pipes that pose concern, cover with offcuts of carpet or protective material and secure to add an extra layer in case of damage. Be sure the wires connecting the brakes of the caravan to the vehicle are heavily protected less a rock sever the connection and leave your van without brakes.
Stone guards are designed to prevent stones from flying up and causing damage to a vehicle or caravan. Most common are RockTamers and Stone Stompers that offer two different means of protecting your vehicles from stones, dust and debris.
If you have a mesh stone guard fitted to the vehicle, check it isn’t pulled too tightly. The loose mesh is designed to absorb the impact of stones and if pulled tight can cause a ricochet effect, potentially damaging the undercarriage of van or vehicle.
For gas cylinders mounted on the drawbar it’s suggested to use a protective covering before taking on any gravel tracks or roads. Depending on the conditions, it may be safer to secure the cylinder inside the van to avoid accidents or damage.
It’s just that simple. If driving on a gravel road or recently sealed road, keep your distance from the car in front of you and maintain a low speed. The closer and faster you go, the more likely you are to cause damage to others and to your own vehicle.
If your car is your pride and joy, you want to keep it looking brand new for as long as possible. There are several options available to protect your paint job and even windscreen from stone chip damage. Talk to your dealership or search online to determine the best solution for you.
For other steps you should take before heading on a trip, here are some tips for preparing your caravan for a holiday.