Tips and Tools

We'll be updating this section regularly with handy tools and tips for the traveller.  If you have a tip that you think should be included just send your suggestion to the webmaster using our Contacts page.

Weights and Measures

It has become obvious that some caravan manufacturers do not weigh every van that is manufactured.

In some cases the Tare (unladen mass) stated on the VIN plate may be understated.

The van ATM (Aggregate Trailer Mass) will be set above the Tare based on the manufacturers specifications. The difference is the payload (permissable load).

The issue is that a van owner may not have the calculated payload available to them because of the fixed limit of ATM and the higher than stated tare. In extreme cases this could mean that  the van could exceed the legal towing limits of the tow vehicle without the owner knowing.

All new owners should take their empty van over a weigh bridge to verify the weights quoted. If there is a significant difference you should return to the dealer/manufacturer to resolve the issue.


Kerb Mass / Tare Mass = the unladen mass of the vehicle
Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) = the total mass of the vehicle including its load
Gross Combination Mass (GCM) = the total mass of a loaded vehicle and its loaded trailer
Gross Trailer Mass (GTM) = the mass supported by the axle/s or wheels of a loaded trailer
Aggregate Trailer Mass (ATM) = the total loaded mass of a trailer including the tow ball download
Tow Ball Mass / Download = the mass transferred by a trailer onto the rear of a tow vehicle

 


Queensland Useful GPS Coordinates

Queensland Main Roads have just released a range of GPS waypoints for rest areas, truck stops, car stops and lots more.  The waypoints are found here.

Install a smoke alarm before going on a trip

Fit a smoke alarm in the caravan and test before leaving on holiday and once a week when the caravan is in use.  A photo electric type smoke alarm with a hush button (that desensitises the alarm for a short period during cooking), and powered by a 10 year life, non-removable, non-replaceable battery, is recommended.
Note: Ionisation type smoke alarms are not suitable for use close to cooking facilities.

Travel Costs Analysis Tool

For those travellers who like to keep a track of their travel expense, you can download a Microsoft XL Spreadsheet here that will allow you to track many of the costs involved in travelling around our great country. Note: That the Per Tank fuel analysis and the Save Button on the first page do not operate via the buttons on MAC computers using Excel from Microsoft Office 2008.  All other functions are available.

If you are using Microsoft Office 2008 on the Mac, then the following manual operation will fill in the details for the tank by tank fuel analysis on the 3rd page.

1. Open the Travel Spreadsheet.
2. Go to the Fuel Analysis page
3. Invoke the Advanced Filter from the Excel menu
Data>Advanced Filter
Click Copy to Another Location
Set List Range:       to     Costs!$J$24:$N$1024
Set Criteria Range: to     $A$1:$A$2   
Set Copy to:            to     $A$12:$E$1014
Click OK

This should update the sheet.

You will need to do this each time you purchase fuel.

Numbers for Mac and iPad/iPhone

The spreadsheet will work, with limitations, for Numbers on Mac and iPad/iPhone.

The Fuel Analysis and Save button on the first page will not work and the spreadsheet is not protected, so make sure the cursor is in the correct cell before entering data.

Gas Bottles

Remember, when re-connecting a re-filled gas bottle to the gas lines to check for leaks. This can easily be checked by brushing a soapy water solution over the join and checking for bubbles.

Before Moving Off

Before you move your caravan make a routine check to ensure that everything is in order for travelling:-

  • Check internal items - cupboards fastened, fridge door locked, windows locked shut and all items stored safely;
  • Check external items - gas is turned off, your power cord and sullage pipes are disconnected and stored, legs and step are all up, wheel chocks removed and jockey wheel removed; and
  • Finally - check electrical connector to car is plugged in, all lights (stop, side, tail, indicators and number plate) are working, van handbrake is off and safety chains secure.

Unhitching

When parking your van make sure:-

  • the van hand brake is applied firmly; and
  • the van wheels are chocked before disconnecting from your tow vehicle.

If you have to use ramps to level the van from side to side its a good idea to pull it up the ramps rather than back it up as if the van settles on its brakes when the ball is released then its less likely to roll forward into the back of your car.

Fresh Air

A van is a small confined area so it is necessary to ensure adequate fresh air is circulating when using any appliances which uses combustion.  When using gas stoves & ovens in a van make sure there is a window open and adequate fresh air circulating. Do not use heating appliances which rely on combustion when your van is sealed up with no adequate fresh air circulation.

Finding a Doctor Online

Knowing where your nearest GP or pharmacist is located can offer peace of mind for those travelling around Australia. 

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) and the Pharmacy Guild of Australia (PGA) can assist provide online services which may assist you in locating appropriate health professional care. 

If you‚re looking for GP the RACGP have an online tool that can help you locate your nearest practice.  Using the Find a practice tool, you can locate details of your local practice by entering your postcode or suburb and have the results displayed on a Google Map. 

To locate your nearest GP,
visit the RACGP

Perhaps you need a pharmacist that can help you manage your asthma, cholesterol problems or to provide mobility equipment.  The PGA offer an online Find a pharmacy tool which can help you find a pharmacy offering a range of services, trading hours and even languages spoken. 

To locate a suitable pharmacy for your needs,
visit the PGA.