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 -

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 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.

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.

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 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 -

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

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)

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.

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 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.


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.


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.

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Easter 2015

English: Easter eggs Deutsch: Osterreier im ge...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It will soon be Easter and once again large numbers of people have been taken by surprise! That's right I am still getting calls from caravaners who want a service or work doing on their caravan before Easter. Please plan in advance, caravan engineers are working flat out at this time of year and they don't have the chance to pull in extra work at the drop of a hat.

English: Citroen Xantia diesel - very popular ...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Milton shouldn't be used in your water system. Modern boilers need to have a specialised cleaner that will not affect the casting of the boiler. Just visit your local caravan shop and ask their advice.

You can get a caravan service for £100, but if you want an approved engineer with all of the qualifications, training and ability to work on new caravans or motorhomes without affecting the warranty then you will pay much more. Thats because if your a member of the Approved Workshop Scheme ( then you have membership fees, training fees, insurances, re-calibration fees etc etc all of which have to be paid every year and they are expensive. As caravaners you want an engineer that will be here next year and that means they will charge more but they will do a thorough job at a fair price. You can find all of the details at the Approved Workshop website or see my own site at

I have had a number of people ask me if I have an app. I don't but I do have a mobile specific web page which can be found at

My final piece of advice today is my old topic of wheel loss. Just buy a torque wrench please. Go to your local car accessory shop and buy a torque wrench for your wheels, it is so important.

Have a Happy and Safe Easter.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Wheel loss

Click-type torque wrench, with a socket attach...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I'm coming back to a really important subject - caravan wheel loss.

If you have a caravan then you need a torque wrench. All caravan manufacturers suffer from wheel loss not just Bailey. Bailey were brave enough to stand up and say that they had a problem. They spent a great deal of money on research and have come up with a solution. However it isn't just a problem with Bailey Caravans, its all manufacturers. You need to follow the instructions set out by your manufacturer but in simple terms you should torque up your wheel bolts before you set off and approximately 35 miles later in to the journey.

This is a vital part of owning a caravan. You can also make a big difference by fitting WSL Safety Wheel Bolts. Ask when you book your service and we can fit them for you.

So fit WSL wheel bolts, re-torque your wheels in accordance with the manufacturers guidance and never ever drive off without using your torque wrench.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Free nights away in your motorhome

English: A Motorhome
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
If you have a motorhome then its time to think about where you are going to go this year. There is a fantastic scheme called BritStops

This allows to to stay in vinyards, pubs, cafes etc. for free. Take a look at the BritStops web site or better still support this great scheme by buying the book and becoming a member.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Unique caravan design

If you follow my blog then you will know that I think that there is very little innovation in caravans. I have just been shown a fantastic design

Let me know what you think.

Friday, 23 January 2015

Why have a service - the insurers view.

Why Have A Service – An Insurer View

Why have a service on your caravan or motorhome? We all know that we have to have an MOT on our Car for the insurance to be valid, its clear cut in the policy document but is it the same for Touring Caravans?
I have done a little research and looked at Terms & Conditions documents from 4 major insurers and it appears it is. All insurers require you to “Maintain your Caravan in a Safe & Roadworthy Condition” Question is how do you prove you have?

Many posts on Caravan Forums have said “When I Made a Claim for an Accident the 1st thing they asked for was Service History” So without service paperwork can you prove it in the event of an accident or claim?

My advice – Have an annual Service on your caravan from an approved workshop then the insurer should be satisfied straight away.

What follows is the policy document extracts from the 4 major Caravan insurers, The Caravan Club, The Caravan & Camping Club, AA Insurance & E&L Insurance.

One additional exclusion on E&L is interesting check your storage is compliant.
— Caravan Club Insurance – Terms & Conditions General Conditions
Page 14
Care of the Caravan
You must take all responsible steps to safeguard Your Caravan, Equipment, and Contents against loss or damage, maintain it in a sound and roadworthy condition, and take note of the terms of the Warranty on page 8 of this booklet.

—Caravan & Camping Club – Club Care Insurance Caravan & Trailer Tent Policy Booklet
The Cover (Continued)
Maintenance You must ensure that Your Unit is maintained in a sound and roadworthy condition as Insurers have offered this insurance on that basis. If Your Unit is not in a sound and roadworthy condition and You suffer a loss as a direct result, Your claim could be rejected.

— AA Caravan Insurance
Terms & Conditions For Select Policy
Page 13
3 Care of Property
The property insured must be maintained in sound condition and all reasonable precautions taken to prevent and minimise any claims.

— E&L Insurance Policy Wording Document – Full Terms & Conditions
Section 5 – General Conditions
Page 2
You must take all reasonable steps to prevent loss, damage or accidents and maintain any property covered under the policy in a sound and roadworthy condition.

E&L also exclude as follows
General Exclusions Page 3
17. Any claim where the caravan is stored on a working farm.