Caravan and Motorhome: Most Common Types of External Body Repairs

A caravan and motorhome are usually subjected to rough roads and really long trips, which make most of their parts heavily used and quickly worn. Aside from the wear and tear of some of the vehicle’s internal parts, a motorhome’s and caravan’s external body also undergo wear and tear. Common Types of External Body Repairs and/or replacement of worn parts must be done immediately to prevent further damage and to promote smoother travel.

Your motorhome’s external body is just as important as its internal parts. Make sure to have your vehicle completely maintained, and repairs must be done as necessary. Below are the most common types of external body repairs for a caravan and motorhome which you should always keep an eye on:

1. Leaking Windows

A leaking window seal can cause a major hassle for caravan owners. Window seal leaks are usually caused by small cracks and gaps forming in the window seals. Depending on the level of cracks and damage, most caravan window seal leaks can be easily fixed using a sealant. However, it’s still best to have the leaks checked by a professional to ensure that the cracks and gaps are sealed properly.

Technician inspects and repairs fibreglass on the caravan in workshop
2. Windows Replacement

If the window leaks cannot be fixed with a sealant, a window replacement is usually recommended. There are different reasons for replacing a caravan window, such as the following:

  • Major cracking – While minor cracks can be temporarily repaired with a sealant, major cracks are usually irreparable. In fact, even some small cracks are likely to grow into larger cracks. This is the reason why caravan owners will want their cracked windows replaced instead.
  • Crazing – Crazing is usually caused by the use of inappropriate cleaning fluid. It typically produces a network of fine cracks and can shroud the outside view. Although signs of crazing cannot be immediately seen, it can develop into a major fracture in the glass. Crazing cannot be rectified, therefore the window needs to be replaced.
  • Delamination – A significant increase of condensation in the inner and outer panels of a glazed window can cause delamination. Delamination usually starts to occur at the edge of the pane of a laminated glass and can progress quickly. This is a serious issue because it can lead to the detachment of the outer panel while driving. Delaminated windows need to be replaced immediately.
  • Broken windows – Broken windows caused by trauma cannot be repaired – they typically need to be replaced with a new one.
3. Full Fiberglass Repairs

The front and rear caravan panels are usually made from fiberglass. Although fiberglass is normally a strong material, it can also be damaged and worn over time. There are different types of fiberglass damage, and repairs are usually made for the following reasons:

  • Tear – Tear is the result when the tensile strength of the fiberglass has been exceeded. Failure of the fiberglass’s tensile strength can also cause the laminate to fail. Tears will usually progress into a fracture which will extend completely through deeper layers.
  • Scratches, Scrapes, and Stress Cracks – These are caused by wear and tear, weather damage, and damage caused by road incidents.
  • Hole or Puncture – A hole or puncture is a damage on the surfacing layers of the fiberglass that is normally caused by trauma, impact, or cutting.
  • Crushed Core – Crushed cores are commonly the result an impact that caused the composite layer of the laminate to deflect. The result of this impact is the collapse of the sandwich core material.
  • Delamination – Delamination is usually the result of impact or stress between layers of the fiberglass. This can cause the layers to separate from each other.

Fibreglass panel damage is typically repaired with the use of fibreglass matting and fibreglass resin. The damaged area is rebuilt, and filler is then added for a smooth finish.

Caravan exterior with significant fiberglass damage on the side,
4. Full Body Reclad

A full body reclad is the process of removing all cladding to expose the condition of your caravan’s framing, which allows the level of framing damage to be examined. All the damaged parts are then removed and a new cladding is installed. A full body reclad is done for any or all of the following reasons:

  • To upgrade the material of the caravan’s external body to a more sturdy one
  • To replace the damaged framing
  • To beautify or enhance the look of your caravan
5. Supply and Fit Accessories

Caravan or motorhome accessories must be fitted to your vehicle. These accessories vary depending on what you actually need and want. Few of these accessories include full body covers, appliances, camping tools, kitchenwares, bathroom materials, doors and windows, rear bike racks, solar panels, reversing cameras, interior lights, air conditioning and heater, electrical and power, and so much more.

Vehicles parked on a dirt road in a forest clearing, with camping gear visible on the roof rack and chairs set up outside
6. Structural Repairs

Caravan and motorhome structural repairs are necessary to ensure that your vehicle adheres to the local health and safety standards. Structural repairs and modifications typically include the whole of external body, its interior, and the internal parts of the vehicle. The vehicle’s body is checked for cracks, leaks, and other major damage and repairs are done accordingly.

7. Roof Hatches Repairs or Replacement

Roof hatches or roof vents for caravans can be easily damaged and are prone to water leaks. Problems with roof hatches include cracks that can cause leaks and foam seal failure which can cause trapping of water. Depending on the level of damage, roof hatches may be repaired using a silastic. Sometimes, if damage is irreparable, a roof hatch replacement is recommended.

Close-up of a caravan undergoing repairs with new parts visible
8. Resealing to Stop Leaks

A leaking caravan is an urgent issue that must be addressed immediately. It can cause major inconvenience and can progress to bigger problems when left untreated. It might cause your metal screws to rust, wooden frames to rot, and leave you with more parts to repair or replace.

It’s important to know how to accurately locate the source of leaks if you’re planning to reseal the cracks yourself. Also, choosing the right sealant is equally essential to ensure success in resealing any leak. If you’re unsure about this, or if there are just too many leaks in your caravan, it’s wiser to have it checked and serviced by a professional.

9. Hail Damage

Caravans are likely to suffer considerable damage during a hail storm. Hail can cause the sides and roof of your caravan to be dented, and this reduces the resale value of your vehicle. When repair is done to the caravan which is damaged by hail, all fittings are essentially removed, and the damaged side must be sheeted and new sheets are installed. Sometimes, a full body reclad is done to totally fix the damage.

Caravan receiving meticulous attention to repair hail dents and restore its value and safety.
10. Roll Out Awnings

Caravan awnings are a great tool to protect yourself from too much heat from the sun while camping. However, your caravan awnings can get damaged during your trip due to bad weather, such as storm. Regular maintenance and servicing are necessary to ensure that this caravan accessory can be used for much longer.

Proper care for your roll out awning is also essential to extend its life. Make sure to set your awning roller bar correctly. And if you think it’s going to be windy while camping, peg your awning roller bar to the ground to provide extra support. Also, when you notice a damage on your roll out awnings, remove them as soon as possible and have them repaired right away. Continuous usage of a damaged awning can worsen the problem. For instance, if your awning has a tear, it might get bigger when you continue to use it.

11. Annexes

The annexes for your caravan and motorhome are used to extend your living space while camping. Although annexes are much stronger than the awnings, these are still prone to damage due to bad weather, such as high winds and storm. To prevent damage to your annexes, make sure to tie them down with really strong ropes. Regular maintenance checks is necessary so minor damage such as a small tear can be addressed right away before it gets to big and costs a small fortune.

12. Stone Guards

A campervan trip can take you through rough roads and harsh environments. Stone guards are a caravan and motorhome accessory designed to protect the vulnerable parts of your vehicle from stone chips, scratches, and deeper damage. The use of stone guards can help prevent chipped fibreglass, broken water fittings, eroded galvanising, and stress-damaged rear window of the tow vehicle.

Regular Maintenance Check

The external body of your caravan and motorhome is equally important as the internal parts. A regular maintenance check and servicing must be done to both the internal parts and external body at least every 10,000 kms or once a year. Through a regular maintenance check, certain issues that don’t have signs and symptoms can be seen and repaired immediately to prevent further damage. As they say, an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.

Contact us today by phone on (07) 3869 2969 or email to find the right external body repairs for your needs.

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