Caravans, by their very nature, spend a lot of time exposed to the elements. Rust on the body can be an eyesore, but corrosion that attacks the caravan suspension and chassis can be a serious safety concern. If you have any concerns about your caravan chassis, please continue reading below.
How Long Should A Caravan Suspension Last?
Many caravans are classed similarly as light commercial vehicles. These types of vehicles endure very high mileage and are usually scrapped or replaced before the suspension starts to rust. Caravan owners, on the other hand, likely only use their vehicles for a couple of holidays a year and the odd long weekend here and there.
Most people only travel less than 5,000 kilometres per year in their caravans, even though they are rated to be able to do far more than that. It’s not unreasonable to expect a caravan to last up to 20 years if it’s cared for properly.
Caravan and trailer suspension mechanisms have barely changed in a century because the old leaf-style designs work well however, they have evolved from leaf spring to coil spring as well as airbags, similar to automotive.
With proper maintenance, caravan suspensions can be expected to last for many years. The challenge is stopping rust before it sets in. Once corrosion starts to take hold, it spreads easily.
Preventing Rust On Your Caravan Suspension
Rusting is a reaction known as oxidation. This occurs when iron (or another ferrous metal) reacts with water and oxygen, forming hydrated iron oxide. For rust to happen, the metal must come into contact with water and oxygen. If either of those things is missing, rusting won’t happen.
So, to prevent rust, you need to protect your caravan from the things that cause it.
- Clean your caravan using a specialised soap to remove salt deposits after off-road use
- Use an oil or wax treatment on areas that are exposed to the elements
- Have the underside of your vehicle jet washed every year
- Inspect and treat the caravan every year, paying particular attention to where dissimilar metals meet
What To Do If Corrosion Is Already Happening?
It’s good practice to thoroughly check over your caravan every year, cleaning it, closing vents, and taking the time to treat and repair any issues that are found. If possible, pay a professional to elevate the van so that the suspension, axles and other areas can be properly inspected.
While the caravan is elevated, have the suspension cleaned. Individual parts will need different treatments using pressure washers, compressed air, a wire brush or just simple hand cleaning. Small areas of rust can be cleaned and treated, but anything that is showing serious signs of damage should be removed and replaced.
Don’t forget to remove the wheels and look behind and under large parts. It’s the areas that you can’t see that are at the most risk of damage. Once the suspension is fully cleaned, it can be treated with wax or oil to protect it from the elements.
Be sure to read the instructions on any rust-inhibiting products you use, and to only apply them to the right components. Mask up any areas that should not be exposed to rust inhibitors, such as plastic or rubber areas that may be damaged by certain treatments.
Corrosion is Inevitable But Can Be Slowed
Rust is a scientific inevitability. Unless the caravan is kept in a climate-controlled environment, certain parts will eventually start to corrode. With proactive care, however, the rate of corrosion can be reduced dramatically, giving you a lifetime of use out of your caravan.
If you are looking for the most reliable caravan suspensions in Australia, look no further than Alpha Suspensions.
Please call us today on 1800 325 742 and get a free quote for any on or off-road caravan suspension requirements you may have or you can leave an inquiry.