Looking At Caravans For Sale? Here’s A Checklist That Will Save You Money!

One of the primary concerns of anyone looking at motor homes, RVs and caravans for sale is money. You can very easily be up for thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars when purchasing a new van for your travelling pleasure, which is why it makes sense to take a look at your financial situation from the very beginning. To help you save money wherever possible, we have compiled this caravan buying checklist:

  • Check everything that runs on electricity or gas
    Caravan fires do occur more often than you would think, so before buying one it is important that you thoroughly inspect all of the appliances that run on electricity or gas, including their cords. This will alert you to any damage that they may have sustained.
  • Check that the fridge automatically swaps power source
    When your caravan’s refrigerator is turned on, it should automatically switch its power source depending on whether your van has been hooked up to power or not. It is always a good idea to check that a potential van’s fridge does this, as it can require an expensive repair.
  • Check heating and air conditioning systems
    Most caravans for sale do not come fitted with these systems as standard, so it is important to check that these additions have been mounted and wired correctly. Look for dodgy wiring, duct taped wiring and mounted systems that don’t look too stable.
  • Check the bathroom for leaks
    If the caravan has its own bathroom, you should always check the shower, sink and toilet for potential leaks. To ensure that the toilet is in good working order, add some water to the bowl and see if it is still there after 15 minutes (if not, the seal has dried out and cracked).
  • Check for soft spots in the floor
    This is a clear sign that damp has infiltrated the caravan and will require some very expensive repairs. As you walk around the van, pay special attention to how the floor feels beneath your feet, especially in the main traffic areas, like the kitchen area.

By doing each of the above checks when walking through a potential caravan for sale, you can ensure that you save plenty of money down the track by not having to undertake expensive repairs and replacements. It can also help you to spot a bargain caravan and to snap it up for a great price. Remember to make sure that your walk through is thorough, that you open and close everything and that you turn everything on and off.

Download a Factory Auto Repair Manual Online – Do it Yourself

How you can benefit from do it yourself factory auto repair manual.

Cars have become so technologically advanced in today’s automotive marketplace that mechanics, repair shops and dealerships are faced with the difficult task of maintaining current and up-to-date repair guides to match the ever-changing service needs of their customers. Gone are the days of simple and basic repair jobs as contemporary mechanics face an ever-changing barrage of hard to master vehicles and their intricate mechanical systems. Additionally, the outdated repair manual has become another dinosaur of the automotive repair industry as most repair shops are opting to incorporate online factory repair manuals into their arsenal of tools.

Automotive manufacturers, parts suppliers and repair procedure publishers all have adapted their traditional methods of providing repair documentation to include computer-based and online solutions. Original Equipment Manufacturers, (OEM) are the best source for providing timely, accurate and up-to-date repair manuals as well as Technical Service Bulletins, (TSB). The dilemma arises when attempting to find just the right computer-based provider of online repair manual documentation. Evidence has shown that switching the repair shop to a computer or web-based solution, increases productivity and lowers total cost of operation over the old paper based manuals.

An effective online or computer-based repair manual solution is optimal for increasing time management productivity as the manuals and information are made available to any computer worldwide. Additionally, the information provided by an online repair manual can be updated quickly and easily, in real time, thus making the most current information available to everyone in the organization.

This timely information will include specifics such as year, make, model and also intricate elements of automotive repair like wiring diagrams and engine schematics. Also, advice and tips on how to accurately perform the repair job are made readily accessible to the mechanic making use of these efficient, computer-based methods. Factory part numbers and typical labor times are also provided and updated regularly via the online repair manual product. This has proven itself invaluable to smaller repair shops and private mechanics by allowing them to more accurately provide bids on labor and parts.

Industry-specific information like diagnostic flowcharts, maintenance schedules and procedures, vehicle identification numbers, exploded diagrams and specific information pertinent to make, model and year of the car, are at the fingertips of the service manager or mechanic. Also, tech and repair articles specific to most any possible car are made available through these time-saving, online repair manual options. This is important as advice and training can be made readily available to mechanics and managers of service operations.

It’s plain to see that having a computer-based technical manual at the ready can actually pay for itself in a short period of time with the increased productivity and quality control benefits they inevitably provide. In these modern times a company that relies on efficient, accurate and technologically sound information would definitely benefit from an online repair manual software package.

How to Undertake Professional Caravan Panel Repairs

It is not necessary to replace a caravan panel when it becomes damaged. It can be repaired to look as good as new and at a fraction of the cost of a new panel. The following advice is directed at caravan flat panel repairs. Unfortunately, caravan textured panel repairs can only be undertaken using specialist equipment.

The first stage of the caravan panel repair is to prepare the damaged area. With a block and 80 grit paper sand around the damaged area. Take care to sand in multiple directions. This will reveal further high and low spots around the dent. Often the damaged area is bigger than what it first seems. High spots will show themselves as smooth areas. Low spots will show the existing paintwork.

Mix together some automotive filler and hardener (at the ratio of a golf ball to the size of a pea) and smooth into and around the damaged area. Dust spray over the area using black aerosol paint. Allow to dry for a few minutes. The black paint highlights any low spots during sanding.

Using a block and 80 grit paper sand in multiple directions over the filled area. Work around the edges to feather the filler into the undamaged area. Do not sand one area for too long as this just removes filler. This exercise will highlight any areas that are still low. Skim filler over the area again and repeat the process as many times as is necessary until low areas are brought back to the level of the rest of the panel. Keep applying guide coats with black aerosol paint to help the sanding process. Make sure that the filler feathers completely into undamaged areas all around the damaged area.

Use a six inch detail sander with 180 grit paper to over the area to remove the 80 git scratches. This sanded area will be up to 2 inches bigger all around the area to make sure all the scratches are removed. Repeat the process with 320 grit paper. This area will be another 2 inches bigger all around to remove all the 180 scratches. Finally go over the area again, plus an additional 2 inches all around, with red scotch to remove the 320 grit scratches.

The caravan flat panel repair is now ready for priming and painting. Mask off the area around the repair. Spray the first coat of primer just over the affected area and allow to dry for a few minutes. Spray the second coat over a slightly larger area, and the third coat over a slightly larger area still. Spray over the area with black aerosol paint and wait for it to dry.

Rub over the primed area using 400 grit wet and dry paper. This will highlight any low spots. Feather the primer into the existing paintwork at the edges of the repair. Do not leave any hard edges. If necessary respray the area to make sure all high and low spots have been evened out. Go over the entire area that is to be painted with grey scotch to remove any 400 scratches and prepare the existing paintwork for new paint.

Car Repair Prices: Should I Go to the Dealer or My Local Guy?

There is lots of advice on where to service one’s vehicle. Many argue that local shops are best, and that you only need to go to the dealer for warranty work and recalls. Others state that dealers are the real experts even though they’re expensive. These arguments are interesting, but do little to clarify the myths and facts of dealership service versus local shop service.

The two primary objectives of these arguments are money and quality. These two interweaving points need to be fleshed out when determining the appropriate facility in which to service a particular vehicle.

In terms of money, all car repair is expensive. Whether at a dealership or local shop, studies show that car repair prices are extreme. Consumers are scammed tens of billions of dollars every year. Every type of service facility: dealerships, local shops, and franchises, are ripping you off in one form or another. Stating that one facility is more expensive fails to recognize that 98% of ALL repair shops are ripping people off.

Moreover, the expense argument of car repair doesn’t take into account the quality of service for the money. The quality of service between a dealership and local shop is a key factor to consider.

There are vast differences in the quality of car repairs. There are many variables, from the customer service received, the diagnosis of the problem, the quality of parts used, to the technician performing the actual repair.

In short, you could have a water pump replaced perfectly, and at a great price, at a dealership. You could have the same job butchered at a local shop. You could easily switch these scenarios, and add ten more variables.

The concern over the quality of repairs is heightened by the fact that the majority of technicians lack the appropriate training, which can also increase the price. Furthermore, depending on the facility, the technician will be limited by the facility’s resources–equipment and expertise, as well as by the service center’s internal policies and practices.

For example, at a dealer, a technician can only use factory parts (parts built by the manufacturer). In most cases, this is great. Factory parts are perfectly designed for the vehicle. However, a twelve-year-old car doesn’t necessarily need a factory part. While it can’t hurt, the age of the car may not justify the expenditure, if the repair can been done for significantly less elsewhere. The technician may know this, and have a great alternative solution “outside company policies.” It’s unlikely, however, that he’ll speak up, or that he’ll even be allowed to speak up.

In cases like these, the customer suffers, having to pay significantly more than necessary. Dealership by-the-book protocols often dictate replacement of expensive parts, and thus dealer personnel will not and/or cannot offer alternatives. Following these mandates isn’t necessarily bad, and this example is not intended to frame dealerships in a negative light. However, repairs in a dealership environment very often exceed the value of the vehicle being repaired.

The point here is to illustrate that depending on the year, condition, and value of one’s vehicle, a dealership “may” not be the best alternative. However, this is rapidly changing. Technological advancements require dealer service more and more for computer updates, software updates, intricate electronic coding, and a host of mechanical concerns outside the scope of the local garage.

Unfortunately, a local shop may not be a good alternative either. At a local shop, a technician has a whole range of parts from which to choose. However, this presents problems. First, most local shops will use local parts suppliers regardless of quality because of speed, convenience, and business relationships. This means that you may get a better price (refer to Car Repair Prices: Who Charges More, Dealerships or Locals @ http://www.repairtrust.com/articles.html for an in-depth discussion on car repair prices). However, the use of many aftermarket parts (parts not built by the manufacturer) can cause numerous problems, and may even cause other systems to fail. This is common–and, you pay for it!

Local shop technicians–the good ones anyway–know the difference between quality parts and cheap parts. However, as mentioned above, the good ones are rare. In light of this, many local shops are turning to the use of factory parts because it’s just less headache. There’s nothing more frustrating than installing an aftermarket component that has to be bent, twisted, tweaked, and manipulated to fit correctly or work properly. Not only is the part made poorly, it’s been modified before it’s even installed. Comforting, isn’t it?

Car repair concerns are not limited to parts. The quality of the worked performed–diagnosis, labor, experience, and installation procedures–is a critical factor. In this arena a dealership technician and a local shop technician are often worlds apart.

A dealer technician has all available information and proper equipment at hand, although he may lack the training to know what to do with it. Nevertheless, he does have a team of co-workers to turn to, and he can draw from their experience. Dealer technicians also see your car and its types of problems daily, and what might be a complicated repair for a local shop is quite easy for a dealer.

However, the structure and flat-rate environment of dealerships very often cause even experienced technicians to overlook even simple problems. This is exacerbated by the lack of effective of communication of an inexperienced or overwhelmed service advisor who is supposed to be advocating on your behalf. While there are numerous other obstacles, the point is that dealers are in the dark ages in terms of consistent quality service.

Before discussing what’s better, a dealership or local shop, a final point to consider is the condition of your vehicle after several years. What facility keeps your vehicle in “better” condition: a dealership or local shop? And, does this “better” condition translate into dollars?

Given the current state of the service industry, it would be an aberration to receive consistent, quality service anywhere. Nevertheless, both local shops and dealerships are a vital component of the automotive service community. The consistent use of inferior parts and poor workmanship continues to be the local shop’s downfall. Vehicles need to be maintained according to manufacturer specifications. There’s no argument on this. Although dealers still struggle with good customer service and consistent positive results, a well-maintained vehicle from a state-of-the-art dealership results in a significantly better quality vehicle, long term. A better quality vehicle increases its value.