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Does A Caravan Need An MOT? Legality vs. Practicality

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Does a caravan need an MOT? Legally speaking, no, it doesn't. However, towing a caravan in poor condition may result in heavy fines. Here's how to avoid them.

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  • Does A Caravan Need An MOT? Legality vs. Practicality

In the strict legal sense, caravans do not need an MOT check. They're not considered full vehicles, they are often towed and parked away from public roads, and recent changes in U.K. law have relaxed the standards for their use.

An MOT test is designed to check and confirm if a vehicle is road-worthy. Right now, discretion is left to the driver on whether or not a caravan is road-worthy. You get to decide if it has enough safety features, if those safety features are operating correctly, and when it needs to be serviced.

However, if the caravan is in obvious disrepair or poses a clear safety hazard when on the road, a police officer may pull you over and issue a fine. Discretion is left to the driver, but that's with the expectation that you will have the caravan serviced and repaired when it's necessary.

If you fail to do so, and the caravan is found to be in "dangerous condition," you can be penalized for the lapse in judgment. This may include fines as high as £2,500, alongside penalty points on your licence or a driving ban. So, does a caravan need an MOT in practice?

Should I Get An MOT Test On My Caravan?

The typical cost for an MOT check on a caravan is £54.85, according to the U.K. Government website. While this test is not mandated by law, it's highly encouraged to drivers who plan on towing a caravan. This is especially true because U.K. law has recently eliminated the requirement for drivers to take a special driving test prior to being allowed to haul a caravan.

As such, if you do not have experience driving with a caravan, or you know little about what qualifies as "road-worthy condition" for one, an MOT test is wise. This allows a professional to examine your caravan and ensure it adheres to legal standards. It not only saves you potential fines and penalties, but ensures you do not accidentally hurt yourself or others on the road, should your caravan be worse off than you imagined.

For a caravan, an MOT test is recommended once it reaches three years of age. After this point, an MOT check is wise each year to avoid breaking the law accidentally.

Of course, the MOT test will only identify problem areas of your caravan. The test and the tester will not repair any issues. That will be left to you and a garage of your choosing.

Do Caravans Need Servicing?

If you choose a garage like Autofusion, you can benefit from an MOT test and servicing in one package. Here, a skilled mechanic will check over the caravan for safety issues and faulty components. Should they be found, the mechanic will then discuss the process with you and carry out the necessary repairs or replacements.

Servicing is a more in-depth mechanical assessment of the vehicle. Interim servicing, full servicing, and manufacturer's servicing are the three degrees you can choose.

What Does A Caravan Service Involve?

Since caravans are built differently to cars, they have a number of additional checks that need to be conducted during a service. In general, this includes checking:

  • Brakes
  • Wheel wells
  • Tyres
  • Towbar (ensuring it's the correct type and properly installed)
  • The power of the main towing vehicle (and the weight it will be towing, so you don't lose control of the caravan on the road)
  • Extended mirrors (checking their condition or installing them, since being unable to view the road behind you can lead to a £1,000 fine)
  • Chassis and running gear
  • Bodywork and trims
  • Fuel system
  • Electrical systems

Caravans also have a range of different features than a car, like kitchens, bathrooms, and all the components that are involved in these spaces. As such, a full service will also entail checking over these unique systems, such as the:

  • Water system
  • Ventilation
  • Fire and safety
  • Carbon monoxide health check

How Often Should You Change Caravan Tyres?

On average, caravan tyres should be replaced every five years, with seven years being the absolute limit. That's because of three factors:

  • Design
  • Weight limit
  • Infrequent use

A caravan's tyres, despite looking almost identical to car tyres, need to be capable of supporting and hauling extra weight. For a single-axle caravan, every wheel needs to be capable of holding at least half of the caravan's total weight. This can wear them down.

The weight limit of a caravan is often 1/4th more than a normal car's weight, which reflects in the tyres' stronger, more reinforced design. This design is meant to be long-lasting, which improves the lifespan, but they can't hold out forever.

Aside from that, caravans tend to be used sparingly throughout the year. That means the tyres aren't worn down as quickly, but they are left to sit for long periods. This alone can result in deterioration, especially when faced with extreme weather changes or damp conditions.

Safeguard Your Caravan With Autofusion

If you need a budget-friendly MOT test and servicing package, or your caravan tyres need upkeep or replacement, then get in touch with your local Autofusion. Our experts can provide the work needed to ensure your caravan is robust, cost-effective, and safe on the road.