Saturday, 17 December 2016

Christmas 2016

Christmas in the post-War United States
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Monday the 19th December 2016 will be our last working day before Christmas. You can still book your 2017 service with Chatsworth Motorhome & Caravan Servicing by phone, text or preferably by e-mail at info@chatsworth-service.co.uk 

2017 will be an exciting year for Chatsworth Motorhome & Caravan Servicing so please book your servicing early to avoid disappointment.


Have a Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Mobile Phone web site

English: New Mobile Cell Phone Technology
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Did you know that we have a mobile specific web site. So you can use www.chatsworth-service.co.uk at any time and from any device. However you can bookmark www.chatsworth-service.tel on your mobile to give you a specific mobile app. Let us know what you think.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Motorhome & Caravan Show 2016

photograph of entrance 3 at the NEC, West Midl...
photograph of entrance 3 at the NEC, West Midlands, England. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Its that time of year again when the industry meets in Birmingham. 11th to 16th October 2016 at the NEC

http://www.motorhomeandcaravanshow.co.uk/

Come over and meet your local independent engineer on the MCEA stand. #mcea www.mcea.co.uk




Saturday, 30 April 2016

April update

English: Caravan Site
English: Caravan Site (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Its been a while since I last posted as its been an extremely busy time. Spring is a time when caravaners in particular want servicing and repairs carrying out. It would be much better to plan your servicing, you don't have to have your service carried out before you use your van. Would you organise your car servicing every spring? Engineers have more time to help out, carry out small jobs and give you advice during other times of the year. A good time to have a service is the Autumn before you lay your van up for winter. At the same time as the service we can help drain down the van, grease will be sprayed on moving parts protecting them over winter and generally getting the van ready.

English: A Motorhome
English: A Motorhome (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I still find the caravan and motorhome industry very amateurish in comparison to the rest of the vehicle industry. Did you know that the industry doesn't even advise engineers of serious safety issues. There has been some serious safety concerns about certain underslung motorhome gas systems. The National Caravan Council knew about it, they published safety advice but didn't pass it on to the Approved Workshop Scheme - so no one told the engineers. Oh and the Approved Workshop Scheme is located in the offices of the National Caravan Council. COME ON GET A GRIP.

Monday, 22 February 2016

Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show 2016

photo of the National Exhibition Centre, Solih...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It is the Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show 2016 at the NEC Birmingham from the 23rd to the 28th February 2016.  If you haven't been to one of these shows before then its worth the visit to see the new vehicles, accessories, campsites, tow cars and of course the MCEA.

http://www.caravancampingmotorhomeshow.co.uk/

The mobile caravan engineers association www.mcea.co.uk will once again have a stand at the show. See  https://www.facebook.com/themceapage/ for their Facebook page. If you haven't seen the MCEA its an association of like minded engineers who cover the UK and offer servicing, repairs and accessory installations. Many of their engineers are also members of the Approved Workshop Scheme which means they can even service your new vehicle under warranty.

So if you need your caravan servicing, want to talk technical or just see who we are then join us on stand 2300.

See you there...

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Motorhome recalls.

Just a quick post to update you on the latest recalls - http://www.practicalmotorhome.com/news/35267-motorhome-safety-recalls-ducato-transit-boxer-relay-and-auto-trail


Friday, 5 February 2016

Spring approaches, time to book your motorhome or caravan service.

Here we are at the beginning of February and its like spring outside. I can count the days of frost this year on one hand. Its very odd...

Easter is very early this year and many people like to get their caravans serviced in time for the holiday period. Chatsworth Motorhome & Caravan Servicing has very few spaces left prior to Easter for servicing so please don't delay. Make your bookings soon.

English: Combined circuit breaker and RCD. In ...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We now carry out full testing of your RCD during our service, this is a change to how we carried out the RCD test before. Previously the guidelines were for engineers to electrically and mechanically check the RCD by using the test button. We are now carrying out a full electronic test to improve your safety.




We continue to invest in our business to give you the best service that we can. Take a look at our website at www.chatsworth-service.co.uk or see our mobile site at www.chatsworth-service.tel

Friday, 29 January 2016

Winter arrives

It's important to take care of your caravan or Motorhome in the high winds.  Ensure that you keep everything tied down and don't open your skylights.  Keep safe.

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Merry Christmas

English: merry christmas
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Merry Christmas to all of our customers. Chatsworth Motorhome & Caravan Servicing is now closed for the Christmas Holidays and we will re-open in 2016. We will be providing emergency breakdown advice and service for our service customers during the break.

Remember now is the time to book your 2016 service, Easter is very early and so the demand prior to Easter will be very difficult to accommodate. Please book now to avoid disappointment,

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Rejecting a new motorhome or caravan.

From October 2015 new Consumer Rights have been introduced which gives the purchasers of new motorhomes and caravans new levels of protection. You are legally entitles to reject a motorhome or caravan if its "not of satisfactory quality". I should caution you that rejecting a vehicle is not the first thing that you should do. You must give the dealer an opportunity to put things right first. Time is also important as the first six months are important in this process. It becomes much more difficult after six months although the law gives you protection for the first six years.

Further information can be found at -

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/about-us/how-citizens-advice-works/citizens-advice-consumer-work/the-consumer-rights-act-2015/

http://www.trusteddealers.co.uk/blog/archives/mils-update-how-the-new-consumer-rights-act-affects-the-motor-trade

http://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/regulation/consumer-rights-act

If there is a problem with your motorhome or carvan you should go and see your dealer and make them aware of the situation and what you expect them to do. Keep a note of the date, time and who you spoke to. Now give them time to respond. If your not happy write to them with a factual letter (keep copies) pointing out all of the issues and again what you expect them to do. Watch the timescales and if your not getting anywhere you should send them a fromal letter which should be delivered in person or delivered and signed for by Royal Mail. Your letter should be along the lines of -

RE - CrIS number or registration number, Manufacturer, Model.

I ordered a manufacturer & model from you on dd/mm/yyyyy. I was advised once the vehicle became available and I paid for and collected the caravan/motorhome on dd/mm/yyyy  I subsequently discovered that it was not of satisfactory quality due to :-

 1) list your issues and problems in a factual manner.

I made you aware of the problems on dd/mm/yyyy but you have so far failed to make a satisfactory offer to rectify those problem(s). However, the vehicle is clearly unroadworthy/unsatisfactory. You are therefore in breach of contract.
I am legally entitled to reject the vehicle and to be reimbursed for its full purchase price of £xxxx. (Consumer Rights Act 2015)

I look forward to receiving your cheque for this sum within 14 days. If you fail to reimburse me I shall have no alternative but to issue a claim against you in the county court for recovery of the money without further reference to you.


I'm not a lawyer so you should consider taking professional legal advice or seeking helping from your local Trading Standards. The above letter should prompt the dealer to take you seriously but if they don't then you must be willing to go through with the legal action. Usually the dealer will sit up and take notice once a letter like this is received and they will certainly listen once court papers are issued. Remember you must give the dealer the opportunity to repair and rectify the problems, this isn't a licence to just get your money back.

Friday, 2 October 2015

Autumn approaches and servicing

Here we are in October and the phone is still ringing for servicing and lots of repairs. The weather has been amazing and it means the local campsites in Derbyshire are still very busy. Modern caravans and motorhomes have good levels of insulation and great heating systems.

This week I have come across a few scary things. I connected a gas bottle and I could smell gas. I investigated further and found this six year old gas hose. As you can see its rotted and gas was just pouring out of it. Its really important that you have your caravan or motorhome serviced by a fully trained engineer. They need to be either ACOPS or Gas Safe (LPG). These two qualifications will give you the confidence that the engineer is trained to deal with LPG. You could also go to www.approvedworkshops.co.uk and find an engineer and they all hold these qualifications. Chatsworth Motorhome & Caravan Servicing is a member of the Approved Workshop Scheme.
During the same week I came across these tyres, they were both in a terrible condition and to be honest a death trap. My advice to the customer was not to move the caravan until the tyres have been replaced. People seem to take their tyres for granted. They stand for months at a time and then they end up on the motorway doing 60mph. They are prone to damage because of this standing around. You should get a professional service and get the tyres and brakes checked by someone that has been trained in what to look for. So whilst the weather is so good get out in your van but remember to get it checked every year to ensure that your van is safe to use.

Saturday, 29 August 2015

To the rescue

Image result for caravan jockey wheelI had a call from one of my regular customers yesterday morning. His jockey wheel clamp fractured as he was trying to hitch up his caravan for a long weekend away. He managed to get to his site and some people helped him un-hitch the caravan. I managed to get to him within a few hours. I managed to drill in to the thread and extract the damaged thread. A few minutes later a new clamp handle was fitted and the customers holiday started once again. Its very nice to be able to help people out in this situation and rescue their holiday.

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Motorhome & Caravan Supply Chain.

English: Caravan Site
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I am finding that my customers are shocked by the poor supply chain in the caravan and motorhome industry. My customers expectations are that I can order parts today and get them tomorrow. If only that was true! Some parts can take 3 months to come?? Compare that to the car industry and you can see that the caravan industry is 30 years behind and very amateurish.

Some of the manufacturers act in a really anti-competitive manner and make it very difficult for engineers. One large manufacturer in the South West will not allow independent engineers to open trade accounts, what is that all about? Can you imagine the outcry if a car company refused to sell spares to the independent sector.

As an independent engineer I can service British built vans and a few continental built ones. But some companies refuse to allow independent and fully trained engineers to service their vans. This should be outlawed and in fact the EU legislation is probably already there but it needs someone with very deep pockets to tackle this behaviour.

Its time for Government to step in and regulate in the same way that the European Union sorted out the car industry. These anti-competitive processes were outlawed in the car industry and massive fines were levied on some well known car companies.

Wikipedia outlines the law as :- According to the UK Department of Business Education & Skills, the empowerment created by this law provides competition in the automobile industry as vehicle owners now have the opportunity to repair and service their vehicle at alternative workshops to the automobile manufacturers. BER provides automobile users the flexibility and benefit to reduce the amount spent on servicing, thereby providing consumers more choice and better value for money.

Tell your dealers and manufacturers that this is not acceptable behaviour.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/821620.stm
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Block_Exemption_Regulation

Monday, 27 July 2015

Summer has arrived.

Summer is here although the weather is more like Autumn. Many people are taking their motorhomes and caravans out for the first time this year. Its really important to do some basic checks before you go out.

Check your lights and tyres
Run the gas system, make sure your fridge, boiler, fire and hob all work
Check your water system, do your taps work?
Charge your leisure battery using a proper leisure battery charger
Plug in your 230v and make sure your fridge, charger and water heater work.

If you go away and something fails don't panic. You can switch to another power source such as gas if something like the fridge or water heater fails. Even if your water pump fails you can manage. Use a bottle to flush your toilet and keep a bottle of water in the fridge to drink.

Remember your on holiday..... Happy Holidays.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Leisure Batteries

Here at Chatsworth Motorhome & Caravan Servicing we are now supplying Banner batteries. http://www.bannerbatterien.com/banner/home/index_en.php

However despite supplying what we consider to be the best no battery is going to survive without being looked after. That means regular charging, removing the battery over winter if your not using your van, keeping it warm and charged.

Image result for banner batteryIf you pack your caravan away in October and open it up again in Spring without looking after your battery then you stand a very good chance that the battery will have been damaged beyond repair. This can be very expensive and it will not be covered by the battery manufacturers warranty.

Do yourself a favour and buy yourself a proper smart charger which can maintain your battery when its not in your motorhome or caravan.

A little bit of battery care will extend the life of your battery and save you money.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Safe working - motorhomes & caravans.


.

English: Button image for use in templates - O...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Would you work on your gas appliances at home? Would you work on the electrical circuits at home? Most people would say "no". So why do so many people take chances and work on their motorhomes and caravans? I can't count the number of times that I have gone out to a leisure vehicle and found extra sockets installed incorrectly and even more worrying unsafe gas installations. Surely its worth paying a trained engineer to carry out the work. You can find a fully trained engineer at www.approvedworkshops.co.uk All of the approved workshop engineers have received the industry approved electrical and lpg training.
Approved Workshop

Look out for the red flag which enables you to spot approved engineers. Chatsworth Motorhome & Caravan Servicing is an approved workshop operating in Derbyshire and the surrounding areas.

This gas fire was found in a motorhome, totally unsafe. We often come across this and other dubious changes. If in doubt please get some advice from your engineer.

Friday, 1 May 2015

Caravan and motorhome stories in the press.

English: Spanish panel for indicate motorhome ...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
So yet another balmy decision, motorhomes have been banned from Cosford Airshow incase it rains and they get stuck in the mud -

http://www.outandaboutlive.co.uk/Motorhomes/News/Travel-and-Sites/Motorhomes-banned-from-Cosford-Air-Show/_ch1_nw4030_pg1

A much nicer story is the family touring the West Coast of Scotland in their motorhome -

http://www.dailystar.co.uk/travel-news-cheap-uk-holidays-luxury-breaks-more-daily-star/437272/Scot-free-Family-fun-tour-motorhome

English: Bamburgh castle at the coast of North...
Bamburgh castle(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Bamburgh wild camping outlawed, once again the nanny state steps in to restrict people lawfully parking up for the night. It seems okay for HGV drivers to park in lay-bys and just throw out their rubbish and urinate in the verges but motorhomes with toilets, sinks, waste bins and occupents willing to spend their money aren't welcome!

http://www.outandaboutlive.co.uk/Motorhomes/News/Travel-and-Sites/Wild-camping-spaces-sealed-off-at-Bamburgh/_ch1_nw4018_pg1

Do you want to join the campaign for proper overnight parking facilities? See the following article for a great letter that can be used.

Motorhome stopover (Stellplatz) in Freyung, Ba...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
http://www.outandaboutlive.co.uk/Motorhomes/News/Legal/Motorhomers-take-up-the-good-fight-with-your-local-authority/_ch1_nw3968_pg1

Monday, 13 April 2015

Adria magazine for caravan and motorhome owners.

English: Spanish panel for indicate motorhome ...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
For my Adria customers (or those interested in Adria) the latest edition of the Adria inspirations magazine is available. http://digital.edition-on.net/Adria_Inspirations_00/No3_eng

Remember we are an Adria Service agent so just call us and we can service your Adria Motorhome or Caravan and maintain the warranty.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

How do I prepare for a caravan service?

English: A spanner (wrench)
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
For a service you need to -

Empty out as much as the van as possible. The floor area and lockers need to be clear.

Connect the 240v, 12v battery, gas and fill the water system.

Ensure that the toilet is clean and empty

Old: Banks of conventional lead-acid car batte...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Ensure that there is 1 metre all around the vehicle and that it is on flat and level ground.

Ensure that any awnings and covers are removed.

Do not expect us to service on the public highway. It must be on private land with access for our service vehicle.

Please ensure that all keys (lockers, wheel bolts, doors etc) are available on the day.

If we are working on a storage site or camp site ensure that the owners/wardens are aware.

We do not take any responsibility for the security of the vehicle, it is your responsibility to remove and refit all security devices.

A service consists of a standard check list for which time has been schedules. Any additional work must be notified at the time of booking the service and it will be charged in addition to the cost of the service.

Motormovers and other equipment that is not part of the original vehicle will not be checked (unless you advise us in advance)

Monday, 6 April 2015

What is included in a service?

English: Caravan Site
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
One question we get on the phone and by email is "what is included in a service"? A service is a set checklist of things that we work through, it isn't a repair session so if you have repairs or things that need fitting then you must let us know at the time of booking. We allocate the time needed to run through the service and we will give you a report of things that might need repairing. Obviously for small repairs then we will do them as we go but larger works will need to be booked in at a later date. You can see an example Approved Workshop Worksheet at http://www.approvedworkshops.co.uk/assets/AWS-TC-Annual-Service-Checksheet-120316-V4-SAMPLE-Part-1.pdf you will also receive a summary sheet and a damp report.

We will arrive on the allotted day in our fully equipped workshop. The following photographs and text are there to show you just a few of the checks that we will be carrying out.












The service will include -

Chassis & Running Gear
This is an example of a caravan being lifted by our air jack and the inside of a modern hub.



  


240v and 12v electrical systems

This picture shows our test box plugged in to the caravans towing electrics. We can test the lights, fridge, charging circuit and traction control systems.


A test of your leisure battery will be carried out. I find that this is an area that people tend to cut corners on but if your engineer says that your battery is failing then you should seriously consider changing it. If you use a motor mover then a failing battery will mean that one day your mover will let you down.Even without a mover a damaged battery will be putting additional strain on your charger.





Here is a test of the 240v sockets and it shows a correctly wired up socket. A surprising number of faults are found with this simple test. I even found a customers garage with no earth when testing his caravan.



This is an example of a modern consumer unit. On the left you will see a miniture circuit breaker (MCB) and on the right is the Residual Current Circuit Breaker (RCD).






Gas system

Here you can see a manometer connected to the gas system. This will be used to check your regulator and ensure that you have no gas leaks. Your appliances will all be checked for safety and operation.



Water system

This caravan has been connected to our water carrier and the system has been primed and is ready for use. Please remember to drain the system once we have completed the service.




Ventilation

Caravans need air so that the gas appliances burn correctly. This is provided by ventilators and skylights that ventilate even when closed. They allow fresh air to circulate at all times. Poor air circulation also causes condensation and this can lead to mildew growing on cupboards.




Fire & Safety

How to Recharge Fire ExtinguishersYou should have a fire extinguisher, smoke alarm and preferably a Carbon Monoxide (CO) alarm. People die every year in caravan fires and also from carbon monoxide poisoning. Take care, enjoy your holiday but spend just a few pounds to help protect yourselves.







Bodywork

We will be checking the bodywork, locks, hinges etc. In the event of damage we can give you advice and help prevent further damage whilst you seek a full solution to your problem.
This is a professional damp meter being used to check around a door frame. This particular model uses pins to pierce the surface and take a reading, it is used on most caravans. We also carry a pinless meter which is used on caravans and motorhomes that are built without timber.



I hope that you have enjoyed this basic run through of what is involved in a service. There are many more checks carried out which you can see on the example work sheet. At the end of a service then you will need to ensure that your vehicle is secure and you should then re-torque the road wheels before using the caravan.