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Pembssurfer

17 years of specialised cover.. Read on

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So our caravan, Sterling Europa 520 from 2002 (previously parents) has been protected for 5 months in every year by a tailored breathable cover from Specialised covers.  In this 17 years we have gone through 3 of these covers with the newest coming in last year. First time around in 2003 the cost was £120, 2010 was £159 then £160 again in 2017/18. Each was tailor made to accommodate sky light, aerial, fly etc and had a Velcro cut out for doors and attachment for A-frame cover. It also comes with two telescopic poles with special attachments to help lift the cover over the roof. They also come with foam inserts for the awning rail to help protect the cover snagging on sharp metal edges.

 

Caravan is stored in open storage on a farm on hard standing until recently and every March when opened was bone dry with not a hint of damp or mould. It is fairly waterproof and despite the heavy rain last night when I inspected it today it was already dry on the outside and inside bar a couple of areas around the wheel arch. I have never seen or felt it sweat once on the underside. It came with protective felt windows covers that are a bit of a pain to fit to be honest but the only time we didn’t fit them we did get some mild abrasion on the front windows (lesson learnt). 
 

Conclusion: So do I think that spending in excess of £450 on 3 specialised covers over  17 years was worth it. Well the proof is in the pudding. Roof of van has NEVER needed cleaning and has always remained  relatively  clean needing minimal cleaning of front and sides every year. The caravan just had its first proper service including damp check in 15 years and registered pretty much zero damp everywhere (15% on floor on very wet day  on a grass pitch was maximum reading). The service chap also commented on how the external sealant still looked ok and hadn’t shrunk by much and that it looked like a van over half its age and by about 15 years most tourers normally need areas re-sealing. 
 

So the emphatic answer in regards to caravan covers is yes, if you want to keep your van long term they are a worthwhile investment . HOWEVER, don’t bother with the cheap ones as the material is simply not good enough to let the van breath and could prove to give issues. Ya gets what ya pays for! 

Edited by Pembssurfer
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Just checked out their website. They now cost £350+!!

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I wonder if the fact that it only ever moved from the storage to the seasonal pitch means that the chassis didn't flex the same as it would on thousands of miles on road. Plus the 60mph wind on motorway, braking, accelerating, cornering etc. Maybe that has helped? I think the reason for the flexible sealant is to try and retain seals when the body flexes due to miles of towing? The problem is the flexibility doesn't seem to last, it seems to fail after too much flexing and maybe too much UV.

 

I do think your cover has helped a lot as has the care you parents and you have given the van.

Great to hear a 17 year old van still being in great condition.

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On 18/10/2019 at 18:56, pattojones said:

Just checked out their website. They now cost £350+!!

They will Haggle to some degree but this could be a customer retention thing.

On 18/10/2019 at 19:30, Ched said:

I wonder if the fact that it only ever moved from the storage to the seasonal pitch means that the chassis didn't flex the same as it would on thousands of miles on road. Plus the 60mph wind on motorway, braking, accelerating, cornering etc. Maybe that has helped? I think the reason for the flexible sealant is to try and retain seals when the body flexes due to miles of towing? The problem is the flexibility doesn't seem to last, it seems to fail after too much flexing and maybe too much UV.

 

I do think your cover has helped a lot as has the care you parents and you have given the van.

Great to hear a 17 year old van still being in great condition.

Not moving a great deal has definitely got something to do with it but I think people do underestimate the toll UV takes on fibreglass and plastic panels and their associated sealant. Having shopped around for vans we worked out we would need to sieve around 10k or more to get something better than we have now condition wise. 

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