Phreeway Tips & Tricks

What to Look For When Buying a Caravan

Regardless of whether you're considering buying an older Kiwi caravan or a more modern import, it's advisable to check out your 'product' before purchasing.

Evidence of leaking: (and yes, even modern caravans can leak).
Any staining on interior linings will indicate the caravan has been, or still is, leaking. This is usually evident in the top interior corners (most of the older caravans tend to leak in the corners because of racking whilst under tow). Leaking is often the result of the breakdown of the type of sealer used when the caravan was manufactured. It can also be caused by the corrosion of the steel screws used (which is why Phreeway Caravans use stainless steel screws & aluminium rivets). Evidence of leaking might also be found under window frames and around hatches; again this is likely to relate to the breakdown of sealers under awning tracks, mouldings and flashings.
Corrosion on fastenings indicates they are old & due for replacement, and are likely to have been leaking.
Note: Blobs of sealer stuck around corners, hatches or windows are evidence that a caravan has been leaking. This method of 'repair' will not last.

Windows Catches & Window Seals:
If the window catches have a blue/grey look about them it's likely they were originally black & UV rays have degraded them over time. They're due for replacement.
If the actual glass seals in the window frame are short or pulling out, this means the seals have shrunk with age; and consequently will allow in water. The same goes for the window frame seals.

Chassis: On most older Kiwi caravans the chassis was originally painted so it's likely to be showing signs of rust to a greater or lesser degree; depending on how well the caravan has been maintained over the years. Whilst some will look beyond redemption, they may not necessarily need replacement.  The same goes for tow-hitches and draw bars.

Brakes: Some older caravans were built with mechanical brakes, some with hydraulic and some came without any brakes. If the braking equipment is still intact but not functioning, it can be remedied & brought back to operational. Some of the smaller caravans were originally built without brakes; which are not required for WOF purposes.

Panel Damage: All panels are replaceable, and fibreglass panels are fixable.


Phreeway Caravans (Caravans Revisited) take pride in achieving a high stand of restoration when rejuvenating caravans.

take to the freeway with a Phreeway Caravan ...

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Hot Tips for Newcomers

In broad terms: a 15/1600cc car will pull 400-600kg caravan, and a 2litre car will pull between 600-800kg caravan.

Take it slowly.

It helps to have an extended wing mirror for added vision.

Practise reversing in an empty car park or subdivision to gain confidence.

Choose destinations close to home to begin with.

Use wooden blocks to lower the stablizer legs on to, and a slim piece of wood under the jockey wheel (particularly when parking on grass).

Carry a scissor jack for levelling.

Carry a spare wheel.

Regional Parks offer low-cost camping on a casual basis. Annual passes can be purchased from the City Council and DOC.

Join a Caravan Club and/or the NZ Motor Caravan Association.

A Self-Containment Certificate gives you more camping options.

Have Fun!

take to the freeway with a Phreeway Caravan ... 

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