Ahhh, the summer time. With hay fever sufferers starting to approach their peak levels of irritation, and the sweet sound of baby birds nesting in your roof waking you up at 5.30 every morning, what’s not to love? But not only is the summer perfect for those summer time clichés, it’s also the right time of the year to start thinking about that other great British summer time cliché: the caravan get-away. It’s not to say that driving the motorways of the world with a hefty metal/acrylic box in tow is everybody’s ideal way of spending a week or so, but for those of us who call ourselves Caravanners, there’s potentially nothing better than heading to that perfect pitch and enjoying the warm British (or otherwise) sunny weather.
General Pre-Flight Checks
Of course, before you set out on your caravan journey, there are a number of checks that every respectable caravanner should make, including ensuring:
- Your breakaway cable is correctly attached to your towball (breakaway cables are legally required while towing)
- All road lights are working (main lights, hazards, left and right indicators etc.)
- The caravan is properly hitched to the towing vehicle.
- Various gas struts are all in good working order.
There are a number of guides online and elsewhere to help you with most of those bullet points, but one that hasn’t really had much time in the limelight is the last one: checking, repairing and replacing gas struts for your caravan.
So What Are Gas Struts Anyway?
If you’re an engineer or even if you fancy yourself a bit of a caravan pro, there’s a high probability that you already know what gas struts are, so you can just go ahead and skip past this short section. Otherwise, hang tight because you’re about to find out.
In simple terms, gas struts are a generic piece of engineering equipment that are used for a number of purposes and in varying situations. The gas struts themselves are basically hollow tubes that are air pressurised, allowing them to hold heavy weights. This makes them the perfect tool for keeping heavy doors and windows propped open in your home, your boot and bonnet open in your car, and your windows, gas compartment and sun roof in your caravan.
Finding Your Caravan’s Gas Struts
So, now we all know what gas struts are, it’s time to locate them on your caravan. The good news is that most caravans have their gas struts in the same locations, with some variation depending on the location of a number of your caravan’s basic features. So where are your caravan’s gas struts?
- Under your bed and your seats
The first place to check is under your caravan’s foldable beds (i.e. beds that open and close for extra space). The opening mechanism is implemented by a gas strut.
- In your roof light hatch
Your caravan’s roof light is an essential part of your ability to control both light and air flow into and out of your caravan. This hatch is kept open with a gas strut.
- In your gas bottle locker
Getting into your caravan’s gas bottle locker would be a real difficulty without the help of a gas strut to keep the vertical hatch from falling back down on itself.
Fixing and Replacing Gas Struts
Now you have located your gas struts, you can go about replacing them.
For your roof light finding the right strut is essential. Please search for the part number on your original gas strut to find a direct replacement on our website or contact our sales team who can quickly find a match to the correct strut. Similarly, for your gas bottle locker, you can order your struts online or over the phone from us and we are always on hand to help you find a direct replacement.
For a bed or seating gas strut, if additional weight has been added through a thicker mattress or extra bedding then this extra weight will mean the original gas struts no longer have the force required to lift and hold the bed. In this case, order a replacement from SGS Engineering and we can manufacture a gas struts to the same dimensions but a greater force and still deliver it to you next day.
If you would like to fix struts to a new application on your caravan then you can take advantage of our free design service, where we can advise you on the correct struts, fixings and mounting locations. Virtually any panel or hatch can be controlled with the addition of gas struts so please contact our technical team for more information.
So if you intend on spending your summer in your caravan this year, make sure your gas struts are good to go. Make gas strut maintenance a part of your pre-flight routine and you’ll be glad you did.