Checking your Caravan Wheels and Bearings

Often the most neglected part of your van.

What Items to check

  1. When were the bearings last greased
    1. It is good policy to re grease bearings prior to a major trip or once a year.
    2. It is good policy to carry a spare set of bearings and grease.
    3. re check bearings.
      1. every time you stop place your hand on the bearing cap and check for heat.
        1. it is normal to be warm but not normal to be hot.
          1. If they are running hot then it is likely that they are over tight and may need the castle nut backed off one notch
  2. Checking the bearings
    1. jack the van up so the wheel is off the ground
    2. spin the wheel and listen, is there any grinding sounds indicating a possible issue with bearing wear.
    3. does it turn freely?
      1. if not then the bearings may be over tight which will cause it to over heat
        1. Back off the castle nut one notch and check again
    4. Are the bearings too loose
      1. Place a hand on the top of the wheel and one at the bottom and rock it,
        1. is there any movement?
          1. if movement is detected it will indicate that the bearings are to loose
            1. if so tighten the castle nut up one notch and test again.
  3. Wheel Nuts are they tight enough?
    1. How tight should they be? 
      1. The safe way is to use a torque wrench to tighten them to the specified torque 
        1. If over tightened than threads can be stripped 
        2. under tightened can lead to them coming loose with catastrophic consequences
          1. when wheel nuts come loose the holes in the rim get damages and enlarged to a point the wheel will come off.
    2. Always re check your wheel nuts after the first hour of travel , some times they will need to be re tightened as the wheels bed in.

NB if you are at all unsure you are able to complete this check  then take your van to the nearest caravan maintenance business and have them do a thorough check