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Does my Motorhome need an MOT?

Motorhome MOTs

Here at Bristol Caravans, we book your Motorhome or Camper van’s MOT with the additional charge for collection and delivery. Before completing your MOT, our technicians complete a visual pre-check including all exterior lights.

  1. What is an MOT?

An MOT (Ministry of Transport) is a test to check the general health of your Motorhome. Although your Motorhome may seem in working order, it must meet the DVSA’s legal safety and environmental standards.

The MOT must be carried out by a vehicle technician with an MOT qualification, and they must be in possession of specific testing equipment.

 

  1. What will be checked in my Motorhomes MOT?

  • Lights
  • Steering
  • Suspension
  • Wipers & Wash Bottle
  • Windscreen
  • Horn (beep beep!)
  • Seats & Seatbelts
  • Fuel System
  • Emissions
  • Bodywork
  • Doors
  • Mirrors
  • Wheels & Tyres
  • Brakes

 

  1. How often should my Motorhome have an MOT?

It is compulsory for every vehicle to have its MOT once a year. An MOT is a legal requirement to ensure your Motorhome is roadworthy and safe to use.

If your Motorhome is brand new, the first MOT should be carried out on the third anniversary of its registration date.

 

  1. How do I know when my Motorhomes MOT is due?

An MOT lasts for one year. To find your next MOTs due date, you can look on your previous years certificate. You can also go to the GOV website and enter your registration, https://www.gov.uk/check-mot-history

The DVSA do not remind you of your MOT renewal date. If you book your MOT here at Bristol Caravans, we can send you a free reminder a month prior.

If your MOT expires you can be fined up to £1000!

 

  1. What is the difference between an MOT and a Service?

The main difference is that an MOT is compulsory!  The MOT checks the general health of your Motorhome and its parts ensuring it meets the DVSAs legal safety and environmental requirements. Within a Service, your Motorhome will undergo a thorough check of all interior and exterior components including LPG appliances, electrics, and water / waste system.

 

You can find out more on Motorhome Servicing here:

Engine Chassis Service

Habitation Service

 

  1. What if my Motorhome fails its MOT?

If your Motorhome fails, its MOT you will be given a list of advisories. These advisories must be fixed before going for a re-test otherwise you will fail again! At Bristol Caravans we must take your Motorhome for a re-test within 10 working days after its MOT failure.

If possible, we will provide an estimate for the repairs and complete them within the time scale.

 

  1. What are the most common reasons for MOT failure?

One of the most common reasons for an MOT failure is lights. Checking all your lights and indicators are in working order before your MOT is good practice. If we notice a bulb is out, we will be happy to change it.

Another quick check to carry out is to look at your wiper blades. It isn’t often we think to change our wiper blades, but they are an important feature for road safety in bad weather.

It is also important to check your tyre pressure. Maintaining your tyre pressures will maintain the condition of your tyres. It is recommended a Motorhomes tyres are changed every 7 years!

 

Need help booking an MOT?

Go to our Contact Us page and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Contact Us

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FAQ’s when Cleaning a Caravan or Motorhome!

 

Cleaning my Caravan & Motorhome

How often should you clean your Caravan / Motorhome?

We recommend giving your vehicle at least two deep washes a year. One at the start of your holiday season, and one at the end.

Of course, whilst your Caravan / Motorhome are in storage it will gather dirt, algae, and moss; making it harder to clean. If you regularly give it a wash over, the easier and quicker your seasonal washes will be.

 

Should I wash my Caravan / Motorhome with Hot Water?

It is important to bear in mind you Caravan, or Motorhome is made of up many plastic components. Using very hot water could misshapen or deform plastic parts as well as rubber seals used in various places on your Motorhome / Caravan.

To avoid damage, use lukewarm water to loosen the dirt and begin the cleaning process. There are cleaning products to add ease to loosen the dirt further.

 

What Products should I use to clean my Caravan / Motorhome?

All you need to clean your Caravan / Motorhome is:

  • Water Supply
  • Ladder
  • Brush Hose Extension
  • Cleaning Products

We recommend using “Fenwick’s Concentrate Caravan Cleaner” to start the process. It will help remove black streaks and algae without any harsh abrasives. This is key when cleaning your vehicle due to avoiding any stickers or paint peeling off.

AutoGlym also have a great Motorhome and Caravan cleaner alternative.

To finish your big clean, we advise a protective coat (Bobby Dazzler by Fenwick’s). Not only will your vehicle be squeaky clean, but it will repel water and dirt making it easier to clean next time!

 

Cleaning the Roof of a Caravan / Motorhome:

The best place to start when cleaning a motorhome is the roof. You do not want to get the sides clean to then have the dirt on the roof run down the sides!

To add ease to cleaning your roof, ensure you have a safe ladder (or someone to spot you), and an extendable brush hose connection. Not only will cleaning be easier, but a little faster with the assistance of the brush.

 

If you do not have the time or tools to clean your Motorhome or Caravan, we can provide a Wash & Wax here at Bristol Caravans. To find out more, go to our Cleaning Service Page: Bristol Caravans Wash & Wax

 

Things to keep in mind when cleaning your Caravan / Motorhome:

  • The sun bakes the dirt onto the surface and into the grain of the paintwork and plastic/fibreglass mouldings. To avoid a big clean taking so much time in the future it pays to do a light clean but often.
  • If your vehicle has a solar panel fitted to the roof you will want to give it special attention and care when cleaning. A build up of dirt will make your panel less efficient. When cleaning it, do not be too rough as you want to avoid damage to wiring and seals.
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Is there Damp in my Caravan / Motorhome?

How to avoid DAMP in your Caravan or Motorhome!

Nobody wants to come back to their Caravan or Motorhome after the winter break to see a damp patch. Although it is hard to identify when water ingress is happening, we have some helpful tips to prevent damp in your vehicle.

Motorhome Damp Repair Motorhome Damp Repair

How does damp occur in my Caravan or Motorhome?

The three stages of damp to be aware of:

  1. Condensation

This is caused by damp air being trapped in a cupboard or room. The visual effects are mould on the walls or inside cupboards.

  1. Water Ingress

This is the main cause of Damp! Potentially coming from sealant failure, for example sealant cracking around a window, rooflight, or your awning rails.

  1. Internal Damp Damage

Once the water ingress has moved inside, it can get into the fixtures and fittings inside your Caravan or Motorhome. This can lead to damaged wall boards and timber which make up the structure of your vehicle.

 

What are the first signs of Damp?

In the early stages you cannot smell or see water ingress. The only way to identify water getting in, is through a damp meter reading. At Bristol Caravans, when you book your annual service you will receive a full damp report.

To see exactly what we do in a Caravan or Motorhome service, please go to:

Caravanhttp://bristolcaravans.com/service-repair/caravan-service/

Motorhome Habitationhttp://bristolcaravans.com/service-repair/habitation-service/

If you believe your vehicle has water ingress, we can carry out a full damp report for one hour’s labour. This is subject to the vehicle being empty of all personal belongings and seat cushions to ensure a thorough report.

We recommend a full damp report before any damp repair is carried out. From a report our technicians can provide a detailed estimate on the works needed to go ahead.

Here is an example of a damp report:

Damp Report 

 

How to prevent Water Ingress & Damp:

  • Book your annual service to keep on top of Water Ingress. The quicker it is identified, the easier it is to resolve, the cheaper to repair.
  • At least three times a year, spray all outside black seals with ‘silicone spray’. This will ensure the seals on your windows and locker doors are lubricated, which means the rubber stays soft, are less likely to go hard and crack, which means they will seal the water out! We stock SAS silicone spray on site.
  • Buy indoor storage. Indoor storage is the ideal solution to avoid water entering your vehicle (it is also perfect to avoid damage from rodents, and you know your vehicle is safe and secure).
  • Ventilation is key! Make the most of your Caravan / Motorhome and allow fresh air to enter through your doors and windows. Alternatively, leave it in storage with the cupboards open and all cushions removed.
  • Get a dehumidifier. Anything to soak up unwanted moisture inside your vehicle.

 

Are you concerned about Water Ingress & Damp?

Call us now on 01454 612893.

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How does the RCD work in my Caravan / Motorhome?

How does the RCD work in my Caravan?

 

When you are at a campsite, the last thing you want is for your electricity to trip!

The kettle is boiling, kids are watching TV, food is heating in the microwave and it all comes to a halt. This article will help you to manage your electricity better and explain why your electricity may be tripping on your vacations.

 

WHY?

There are two reasons why your electricity trips.

  1. You might be overloading your 230v electrics. This means you are asking one of the 230v circuits in your Caravan or Motorhome to manage too much power (Amps), usually caused by too many appliances / electrical devise on at once. This issue is managed by the MCB’s in your consumer unit.
  2. There is a circuit fault, often called an “Earth Fault” and can be caused by a faulty appliance or cable. This type of fault is serious, and can trip your caravan or motorhome, the site hook-up post or possibly a section of the site. This issue is managed by the RCD in your consumer unit. The RCD is usually a larger switch than the MCB or a different colour.

 

How to manage 230v Overloading

The trip switch is better known as “miniature circuit breakers” (MCBs). MCBs are like fuses in the sense that they can tolerate a small overload for a short period of time but will trip immediately with a large overload.

If you think of your house, you might have a rating of 80 or 100 amps. On a UK campsite it is usually a rating of 10 or 16 amps! With this lower amperage limit, you need to think before switching on all your appliances.

Here is a handy reference to give an approximate Amp rating for appliances that might be fitted into your caravan or motorhome:

 

Your 230v Appliances:

Fridge = 0.4 – 1.2A

Cooker Hob = 3.4A

Charger = 0.1 – 1.0A

Water Heater = 3.4A

TRUMA Combi E = 8.0A

ALDE = 3.0 – 13.0A

 

Please check your handbook to confirm the specific details for the appliances fitted to your vehicle.

 

Managing a situation where your RCD trips:

If your RCD trips, this is the signal for a potentially dangerous situation.

Remove everyone from your caravan or motorhome, remove the hook-up cable from the site post.

Contact the warden on site and seek professional advice.

 

How does an RCD system work?

You will have an RCD in your consumer unit & Earth cables throughout your vehicle.

The 230v flex in your vehicle has three core wires:

Brown / Live Wire = This carries the 230v current to an appliance.

Blue / Neutral Wire = Carries the current back from the appliance.

Yellow & Green / Earth Bonding = Your Protection!

If a live wire contacts an appliance or part, the part can become “live”, potentially causing an electric shock. The Earth system enables the live feed to

pass to Earth via the Yellow & Green wiring. When this happens the RCD will trip, indicating a serious fault.

In normal operation the current in the live and neutral wires should balance. The current level (measured in Amps) that flows down the live wire should return via the neutral wire from an appliance.

If current leaks away (ie goes to Earth), the RCD is triggered due to current imbalance. It is that imbalance sensed by the RCD, which then trips the supply, saving you from electrocution.

 

MCB Overload – Top Tips:

Before going away, look in your consumer box, identify your MCB’s.

Manage your 230v power consumption.

Items that produce heat use a lot more power! Think microwave, hairdryers, kettle…

Think 1000 watts equates to just over four amps at 230 volts!

 

RCD Trip – Top Tips:

Before going away, look in your consumer box, identify your RCD.

Connect to a 230v hook-up point, check that the test button next to your RCD works, and cuts the power.

A “live” wire fault will trip your RCD which can save you from an electric shock. For the RCD to do its job, the Earth cable system MUST be in an operational condition. This will be checked in your annual service or an EICR test (see more down below).

If you cannot identify and isolate the cause of an earth fault, do not continue to use the 230v hook-up.

The most important piece of advice here is to get your caravan or motorhome electrics checked by a qualified electrician.

 

Making sure your electrics are safe:

National Caravan Council (NCC), and The Electrical Safety Council recommend Caravans, Motorhomes and Camper Vans should undergo an EICR (Electrical Installation Condition Report) every three years. As an Approved Workshop, Bristol Caravans are qualified to complete this work for you. We suggest you book your EICR alongside your service ensuring ultimate safety before your holidays!

If you have a question, problem, or would like more information on EICR please give us a call.

 

Contact us on 01454 612893 to book your EICR now!

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Top Five Maintenance Tips for your Caravan / Motorhome

Top 5 tips for maintaining your Caravan & Motorhome.

Motorhome-Water-Roof-Leak-Fixed
AWS Approved Workshop Bristol

You have just bought a new Caravan / Motorhome and want to make the most of it. Do not worry, we are here to make sure you are maintaining and making the most, during the ownership of your pride and joy.

Here are the Top 5 Tips for you to maintain your Caravan / Motorhome:

  1. Make sure you book into a trusted workshop for your annual services!

For you caravan owners it is important to book a service every year, ensuring all the water, gas, electrics, brakes, chassis, and A frame hitch assembly are checked thoroughly. Not only does this guarantee safety within your caravan but confirms it is all-in working order. You would not want to arrive on site to learn you have no hot water!

On the other hand, if you are a Motorhome owner not only will your Habitation Service (electrics, water, and gas) need servicing but the engine as well! Here at Bristol Caravans, we are a “one stop shop” offering an engine chassis service, habitation service, and MOTs. Just like your car, your Motorhome will need its oil and oil filter changed every year (or every 6000 miles). And a Full Service inc. Fuel and Air filters every other year.

Carrying out your annual services will not only preserve your Caravan or Motorhome, but it will also ensure safety, working appliances, and a successful holiday!

2. What is the Caravan / Motorhomes nightmare?

Damp (caused by either Water Ingress or internal Condensation)

Nobody wants to learn their vehicle has damp, especially if it new to you. Having an annual damp check alongside your service can prevent, or will flag up, any water ingress before it gets out of hand. Further ideas to avoid damp are:

If it is not being used for a long period of time, it is important in to increase ventilation. Leave the internal cupboard doors open and unblock any airways or vents to prevent condensation build up. Stand seat cushions up to increase air flow.

In the rainy months, try and keep your vehicle as dry as possible. This can be achieved easily with indoor storage or a breathable cover.

Although there is no guarantee your Caravan/ Motorhome will not get damp, arranging an annual damp check and these small measures can assist in prevention. It is important to also take note of your body warranty, and make sure you stay on top of it and book your yearly service within the T&Cs!

3. When was the last time your tyres were changed?

The NCC recommends the tyres on your Caravan / Motorhome need changing every seven years. It is also important to know that you should not use regular car wheels on your caravan / motorhome. This is due to the overall weight of the vehicles being heavier, therefore the wheels & tyres need to be strong to withhold the weight.

Although it is recommended you change the tyres every seven years, it is good to check for any signs of perishing, cracks in the side walls or suspicious bulges. If your tyres are showing any signs of damage they should be changed immediately, even if the tread is not worn!

4. Look after your Water System.

If you want to prevent damage to your water system it is important to keep it in good, working condition. What can go wrong?

  • Burst pipes: In the winter you MUST drain the whole water system. This is because as temperatures get colder, water begins to freeze in the taps. As water freezes, it expands! If the tiniest droplet of water were to expand in your pipework, the taps could begin to split. Split taps = a repair in the workshop.
  • Unwanted Bacteria: After a long period in storage, you MUST clean and flush the system. Being left alone for a long period of time allows unwanted bacteria to grow, therefore you must use a sterilizing fluid to prevent infection or illness.

5. Check your battery.

The last thing you want before going on holiday is a flat / dead leisure battery. If your battery is left to go completely flat, it can deteriorate to a point where it will not be able to be recharged / recover to its full capacity.

Solutions for keeping your battery in top condition are:

  • If stored outside, fitting a solar panel will charge your battery. Here at Bristol Caravans, we fit a range of solar panels to fit every budget and vehicle size, ask for advice on the best fit for you so we can give you a great price.
  • Take your battery home! To maintain the life of your battery we recommend the use of a Smart Charger if your vehicle is not going to be used for a long period of time.  When storing for a long period, remove your battery, store in a frost free, dry place, follow the Smart Chargers instructions. Check every couple of months, this will help prolong the life of your leisure battery!
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Bike Rack Issues Solved

Cannot go on holiday without your bike?

Have difficulty lifting and loading the family’s bikes?

Update to a bike rack which best suits you and your Caravan/ Motorhome.

At Bristol Caravans we are here to help you find the best solution whether it is a new bike rack or electrical bike lift. Important things to keep in mind are, how many bikes do you have, where will the bike rack go, can my caravan/ motorhome withstand the weight?

Before you purchase a bike rack, we recommend a visit to our AWS approved workshop. Upon visit, we will make sure your vehicle is suitable for fitting, as well as giving you an estimate for how long it will take to fit.

What is the perfect Bike Rack for you?

We recommend FIAMMA Bike Racks.

In particular, the XLA Pro has improved functionality that provides stability and ease of use. With a hooking system that is easily manoeuvrable, this bike rack is sturdy and safe ensuring your bikes get to your holiday destination. The secure design also promises to minimise noise whilst travelling.

How about the no hassle Bike Lift!

Upgrade your motorhome with the BR-Systems Bike Lift. Simply load your bikes at ground level and watch the lift do all the work for you.

  • The platform itself can bridge a 110CM height.
  • The platform can be lowered to ground level on most vehicles it is mounted on.
  • The maximum load is 60kg, suitable for up to 3 bikes.

Are you interested in a new bike rack/ lift?

Call us today on 01454 612893 or go to our Contact Page and complete the form.

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Caravan & Motorhome Presents

     

 

Need a last-minute gift that is going to blow them away?

 

Here at Bristol Caravans’, we have come up with five quick, easy ideas to solve your Christmas Shopping quarrels. Already finished your Christmas Shopping? Then download this blog as a PDF for your fellow caravaners next Birthday or Event.

 

Awning Accessories:

Spruce up your awning with FIAMMA’s adaptable accessories.

  • The LED Kit provides a strip (with customisable length) which can be fitted to either the outside or inside of your awning. The perfect solution to brighten up your evenings! You can arrange for us to fit in time for your next adventure.

 

  • Know someone who obsesses over organisation? Make packing easy with FIAMMA’s Storage Bags. Coming in both small and large sizes you can keep you Motorhome or Caravan tidy all year round. These storage bags are the ideal functional and useful gift.

 

  • Looking for a secret Santa gift? FIAMMA has the ultimate solution with their Awning Repair Kit. A simple yet fitting stocking filler.

 

Modified Chopping Board:

Does your kitchenette have a big enough worktop to make your favourite meals? Get a bespoke chopping board, made to fit over the sink of your Caravan or Motorhome. Not only will you have more workspace, but it would be a unique, personalised gift.

Decide the material, size, and engraving to make it extra special!

 

Magazine Subscription:

On holiday is when we get the time to sit back, relax, and read! Purchase your touring enthusiast a magazine subscription to magazines such as,

  • Practical Caravan
  • The Caravan & Motorhome Club
  • Caravan Dream Destinations

“Did you know?”

If you are a member of Amazon Prime, using their function ‘First Reads’ allows one free book or magazine per month! You can also subscribe and download magazines for free onto your kindle.

 

 

Similarly, there are many

Themed Travel Books:

Want to find some new sites to visit? Find a new active hobby?

There are plenty of books and journals discussing

  • Secret escapes
  • Coastal Stays
  • ‘What to do’ when touring

A gift that inspires you to get ready for your next adventure and plan the ultimate itinerary.

It would also be a good idea to gift book on bike routes, where to paddle-board, and scenic walking routes. It is always exciting finding a new place and exploring what it has to offer!

 

Hamper Ideas:

Want to really treat someone this year?

Put together a fun and useful hamper for their Motorhome or Caravan. You can make it themed and include things such as,

  • Cleaning Products
  • Maintenance Sprays (We recommend SAS)
  • Electrical Accessories
  • Pet Essentials

Whatever you think your happy camper would appreciate most.

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ALDE FAQs

ALDE Heating System

  1. What is ALDE Heating & How does it work?

The ALDE Heating system for Caravans and Motorhomes works in a similar way to your central heating at home. The system heats a transfer liquid, which is pumped through convectors and pipes then back to the boiler.

The ALDE Heating system is very efficient, and only uses 1 amp when in operation!

The convectors are placed in an optimal position all along the walls of your leisure vehicle, providing an ideal barrier against the cold. As heat is pumped around the vehicle, hot air rises creating a circulation of heat throughout. Once risen, the air cools causing a process called self-convection.

All program settings can be made from the control panel, latest versions of the control panel also enable connectivity to your smart phone via an app. Using these tools allows for daytime and night-time programming.

 

  1. What is the ALDE system fluid?

ALDE use a specific type of glycol fluid in the system, which is similar to antifreeze. As the glycol fluid ages it becomes less effective. If not changed at the correct interval, your system could be at risk of permanent damage. The damage is usually to internal components, when the fluid becomes acidic, the acid corrodes aluminium components.

When first built, manufacturers fit Pink or Blue fluid. The blue glycol must be changed every two years. Alternatively, ALDE have produced a pink antifreeze which lasts up to five years – we highly recommend you change to pink.

 

Which colour liquid do you have?

Need to change your fluid? Call us today on 01454 612893 to get a quote.

 

  1. How do I refill my ALDE heating system?

To refill your ALDE system, you must first locate the header tank (usually located in the wardrobe or a cupboard). Remove the top part of the plastic covering the pipes and top up the fluid. If the system is hot/ warm the level should be under the maximum, and if cold, above the minimum. This ensures there is room for the fluid to expand.

Before topping up, check what colour fluid you have!

 

  1. How do you Bleed the system?

To bleed your ALDE system, you will require ALDE specialist tools. The tool provides pressure and a large reservoir outside the vehicle, pumping fresh fluid through the vehicle removing any excess air. You can sometimes bleed individual radiators through a bleed point, however if you have a fault, a full bleed is required using the specialist tool.

If you are experiencing a drop in fluid, you could have a leak. We recommend you check all rubber hose joints to aluminium pipe joints, and radiator points to identify the cause.

*Quick Tip

A quick and easy way to check for a leak is to leave a piece of kitchen roll under the suspect joint. The fluid will drip out, leaving a visible pink or blue stain!

 

  1. Can you run the system without Water?

There are two types of water used within the ALDE heating system.

The first is fresh water that is heated by the system and sits in the hot water tank. You can run the system without fresh water.

Second, is your coolant within the ALDE heating system, the coolant is a mixture of distilled water and glycol fluid. You can not run the system without this fluid.

 

For more information you can go to the ALDE website at,

https://www.alde.co.uk/

 

Have a question, drop us an email or give us a call via our contact page,

http://bristolcaravans.com/contact-us/

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WINTERISATION

What is Winterisation?

Winterisation is the Winter preperation for your Motorhome/ Caravan. Bristol Caravans have put together a check sheet of all the things your vehicle requires before it goes into hibernation this winter.

Top-Tips-Winterv1.5

Drain Down:

Watch out for ‘The First Frost’. Try to beat Jack Frost, by emptying your water system and any water tanks.

Why should your water system be emptied?

As temperatures get colder, water begins to freeze in the taps. As water freezes, it expands! If even the tiniest droplet of water was to expand in your pipework, the taps could begin to split. Split taps mean new taps, a repair you want to avoid.

In case you did not know, we offer a Winterisation service in our workshop – taking the pressure off you!

The Winterisation & Drain Down service includes:

  • Drain down of all water tanks/ system
  • Check all external lockers are locked securely
  • Check & Spray sealant
  • Prop up soft furnishings
  • Disconnect gas
  • Remove batteries where required
  • Internal & External inspection for damage
  • Open cupboards and adjust furniture to allow air flow

Carrying out these actions will not only keep your vehicle in good condition for longer, but it will mean when you return in Spring, it will require less work.

Benefits of Winterisation:

  • Reduces mould risk
  • Maintains seals
  • Prevents damage to pipes
  • Reduces risk of vermin entering
  • Maintains vehicles overall condition!

 

Wash & Fenwick’s:

Want to go the extra mile for Winter?

Give your Caravan/ Motorhome a Wash & Fenwick’s.

Giving your vehicle a final clean before it goes away for the winter can be extremely beneficial. Rather than a just Wash & Wax, we recommend a Wash & Fenwick’s Overwintering fluid. The Fenwick’s Overwinter product is formulated to protect caravans and motorhomes during winter storage. Its unique formula protects against algae, mould, fungus, airborne pollutants, acid rain and bird lime, to keep your vehicle protected throughout winter.

This treatment also means it will be easier to clean next spring!

You can grab yourself a bottle of Fenwick’s in our store or you can book the treatment with us. Keep your Caravan or Motorhome in great condition.

Now you and your vehicle should be prepared for the Winter season!

If you would like to enquire for any of these services, give us a call on 01454 612893 or go to our contact page http://bristolcaravans.com/contact-us/

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