With the cost of an average caravan or motorhome in excess of £20,000 it makes sense to do everything possible to protect such a significant investment. Whilst wheel locks and alarms do provide some deterrent, the fact is that a determined thief will only be slowed up by such protection. The best way of protecting and recovering your vehicle is by fitting a tracker.
Which is the best tracking system for your caravan or motorhome, passive or reactive?
Statistics show that fitting a tracking device to your caravan and motorhome is the most effective way of ensuring its recovery in the event of a theft. What’s more, as you’ve seen from Caravan Guard it can also help reduce your insurance costs, many companies will offer a discount if you have a Thatcham approved tracker fitted.
The question is; with all the different tracking units around, how do you know which is the best option for you?
Basically, a tracker is a small device that is hidden within your caravan or motorhome. It is powered by your backup battery and also has its own battery in case power is cut.
All trackers for caravans and motor homes can be split into 2 general categories – passive and proactive.
A passive tracker unit is dependent on the owner informing a control centre that the vehicle has been stolen. The control centre can then communicate with the device to find out its exact location and will liaise with the police and owners to ensure the vehicle’s safe return.
Although this option is the least expensive of the two, you obviously need to know that your caravan or motorhome has been stolen before you can use the tracker to find out where it is.
This is fine if the vehicle is stored on your drive, but if like many vehicles it is stored away from your home when not in use, it could be many days before you realise that it has actually been stolen.
A proactive tracker unit will automatically alert a control centre that a theft is in progress by continually monitoring the motion of the vehicle or if the power is cut. The location of the vehicle can then be tracked in conjunction with the police and owner.
This device is best installed in vehicles that are not under constant supervision, such as a storage site. With a proactive unit, in most cases, thieves will be apprehended within an hour of the vehicle being taken.
So, if your vehicle is kept on your drive or under pretty constant supervision then a passive tracker will be good enough to keep it safe. But, if it is stored in a remote unsupervised compound then you really need a reactive one.
We can obviously only use our own figures which show that; 99% of stolen vehicles fitted with one of our Phantom tracking systems are recovered in less than 70 minutes. 85% of these recoveries catch the thief en-route to their destination, meaning that in most cases, any personal effects are also recovered, and no damage is done to the caravan or motorhome.
Conversely, only 3% of non-tracked stolen vehicles are recovered within a year of the theft. With your valuable and beloved holiday home worth little more to a thief than £500 at resale, protecting and recovering it quickly is a priority.
Whichever option you choose, we at Phantom offer a full range of both passive and reactive trackers designed to meet every need and budget requirement and would be happy to answer your questions. Please visit www.phantom.uk.
Motorhome battery problems and how to avoid them
It is a common mistake to presume that the alternator on your motorhome’s engine will keep your leisure battery charged. The type of alternator usually fitted to a motorhome (and most cars) starts off with a high output current (to replace the charge used on starting the engine) but then drops down to a pretty low trickle.
Typically, this trickle is only a few amps, so for an average 110ah leisure battery where the charge has dropped to 25% while it has been sat unused for a few months, it is going to take quite a few hours of driving to get it back up to fully charged. If you are only driving to your destination for an hour or so then the battery is not going to be anywhere near charged.
So how do you avoid arriving at your destination with no charge on your leisure battery? Well, firstly you can buy a generator to use for emergencies. This means that you need never be without electricity but it is not ideal.
Many people employ a combination of solutions from charging your battery fully from the mains before you leave home, through using a battery-to-battery charger while driving to having a solar panel on the roof to ensure your battery is kept topped up when static.
Like with most things in life, prevention is better than cure. That is why checking your battery is charged before you leave home is always a good idea. Now though you can go one better. Our Phantom customers who have installed our new Pro3 tracker can monitor their battery remotely through a secure Internet portal. This way, even if your motor home is stored some distance away, you can quickly and easily find out what the current charge is on your battery and thus remove the annoyance of a false start to your trip. To find out more, please visit the Phantom website.