Tue 06th March 2018 category - general In this first part, we're looking at the exterior and what needs to be checked and carried out to make your tourer all ready for its first outing. Picking a decent day for the weather, make a start by opening up the van and pulling up the blinds and opening some of the windows. Let the air get into the interior as even just half an hour gives the van a little bit of an airing blowing away the cobwebs. While you’re doing this, and before you tackle any cleaning, it's a good idea to check the tyre pressures. Use an accurate gauge and check the handbook for the correct pressures, over a longish period of being stood tyres can deflate losing a few pounds. In Good Working Order If it’s possible to get the towing vehicle in front of the caravan, plug in the car electrics and check the road lights are all working – also check the light lenses for any water that’s possibly entered over the winter period too; if it has, empty it out and also check the bulb. Make sure the corner steadies are easy to operate, in other words, they may need a spot of grease to make this essential job easier. Check under the van for any possible frost damage to the waste pipes in case any water was left in when you laid it up and has split the pipe. Connect the water pump up and making sure your battery is charged too, check the water is coming through okay clearing any airlocks. It’s a good idea to clean the water pipes out to after they have been left unused. There are sterilising products available from caravan accessory shops to carry out this. Check the coupling and handbrake for operation and if your tourer is due a service then get it booked in for one. This time of year is one of the busiest for dealer’s service bays as people like to give their tourer a full health check before for the new season. Now For The Exterior Now is the time to work on cleaning up the exterior of your tourer. If you took our winter tip by giving your tourer a good wash and waxing, then this job isn’t going to be as difficult. Even after having a cover on it's still worth giving your tourer that “new” finish with a cleanup. Not forgetting to close up all the roof vents and any windows from the initial airing it's time to get cracking. With that bucket filled using quality car shampoo, a sponge and using an extendable soft brush-available from caravan accessory shops - and if you have a hosepipe - you're ready to begin. Oh, and a good sturdy pair of step ladders with somebody holding them is also a good idea. Lightly spray the caravan with the hose to loosen any dirt, then, using the extendable brush wash the roof first rinsing off straight away once finished. Don’t go physically on the roof as you're likely to cause damage. Using the soft brush, clean one side at a time (especially if you have a drying wind) then rinse off (those more stubborn sealant stains will be tackled shortly) for the more difficult fiddly areas around the grab handles a sponge is ideal to use. Using a large drying towel or a good absorbent cloth/leather, dry off the panel making sure you get around the areas on the van that trap water. If the polish before the winter lay-up is still working, water should bead off making the drying process a far easier task. Which Car Polish To Use? With so many car polish products on the market, there are some brilliant ones to go for. Be prepared to spend around £16 on a 500ml bottle from one of the smaller quality producers. A polish with a cutting agent will remove the remaining streaking from the panels caused by the seals. Use this on the windows too and use microfiber cloths for a good final finish. Add polish on sections of the panels using a circular motion, do this and polish off with a separate cloth – if your tourer wasn’t given a good polish before the end of the season you will need to work that bit harder to remove those stains! Using polish on the windows will also give them a shine as well as a clearer outlook and help remove fine scratches caused by a cover moving in the wind. Also don’t neglect those alloys, using car shampoo and sponge / drying off then adding polish will enhance them. Badly scratched alloys can be refurbished if needed for around £60. For that added finish a tyre gel really gives that final detail as well as protecting the tyre walls. The Hard Work Pays Off Cleaning your tourer or motorhome is no easy task, but once done that hard work pays off. Next month, we're going to do an interior spring clean and check all the essentials are working such as the fridge and heating system. Don't forget - it's important to make sure your tourer is kept serviced either by your supplying dealer or an NCC approved workshop. . Thanks to Andrew Jenkinson for these tips and advice.