ben66 replied on 27/06/2019 07:02
Posted on 27/06/2019 07:02
Both me and my partner attended separate Practical Caravanning training' courses in Evesham put on by the Caravan and Motorhome Club and led by a very informed and entertaining guy called Vaughan. On both he suggested that because Caravan brakes operate differently to car brakes we'd be wise to ensure that any brake servicing we get done is done by a caravan mechanic rather than a normal garage mechanic because the latter don't usually know that caravan brakes are different. .All well and good we thought however we then found it impossible to find a caravan servicer available to check our brakes prior to our holiday so we booked it into the same place that a 'knowledgeable' bloke on our caravan site was having his brakes tested.
Ever since we've been concerned about Vaughan's advice however when I google about how caravan brakes work and I think I know the difference between van and car brakes, I cant see how not knowing the difference could lead to a car mechanic doing something during the testing that could lead to a real adverse impact - I don't see what the real risk is.
The only thing i can think of is as follows....
He might test the brakes as the caravan moves forwards and, providing they work correctly, he then ticks off that test.
He then tests the brakes as the caravan moves backwards and to his surprise he finds that they don't apply.
At that point he might be driven to ask around/google and ultimately finds the answer and so then proceeds to complete the test with that knowledge or he might adjust the brake more and more until,. even in its collapsed position, the shoes can reach the drum and they work and he then ticks of that test without re-testing the forward operation.
I don't know if it is possible to adjust the brakes so that they could be applied even from a collapsed position but if it were and he did that, I would have thought that as soon as the van moved forwards and the brake release switch spring restored the shoes to their non-collapsed position, it would be impossible to pull the van any further forwards by hand such that you would immediately know there was a problem.
Maybe you might pull it forwards with a car but even then i would have thought you would feel that the van wasn't freely rolling.
What I can say is that I didn't notice any issue when I towed it back from the garage however when I set it in place on the caravan site, I didn't have any need to pull it forwards by hand so I will be checking that when I next visit.
So please can anyone advise what the risk or risks are of having a car mechanic test caravan brakes - what could he do wrong that could then have a real consequence?
Please note I only took it to the garage to test the brakes and nothing else.