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Tuinroete Camping and Caravans workshop

Want your caravan ready for summer? Do this now!

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It’s winter, and for many of us that means the caravan or trailer gets tucked into storage or parked in the garage for a few months until spring comes around.

But just because you are not taking your beloved home on wheels out for an adventure during the colder months, it does not mean you should completely forget about it! During a recent visit to Tuinroete Camping and Caravans, we spoke to Manager Echard Kuhn and his team, who told us that winter is probably the best time for you to get your caravan serviced so it’s ready to rolls when holiday season starts.

From their premises in Mossel Bay, Echard tells CaravanSA: “Overall, the caravan parks are not as full in winter, so we don’t have as many call-outs to, for instance, those guys who have problems with a geyser or water pump that doesn’t work.”

“This means we can spend some more time in the workshop. In winter, we often do bigger jobs, especially wood rot. These jobs require that the caravan be in our workshop for a while. It’s time-consuming work because you have to strip, then repair, then it has to set, then put together again, and sealed.”

Echard says managing the bigger repairs and upgrades during the colder months ensures that their customers’ caravans are ready for the summer months and holidays. This is also the best time to take your caravan for a service.

“We tell people to have their caravan checked at least once a year,” says Echard. “Let us check the seal work and those things. If we pick up leaks and wood rot early, we can still repair it. If it’s left undetected too late, the job gets really big – then we are talking about having to completely replace everything from entire panels to the roof.”

TUINROETE CAMPING AND CARAVANS

“Remember, you can’t always see the damage from the leaks. We have an eye for this, we know where and how to check. We always have at least one caravan in the workshop for wood rot repairs. There’s always maintenance to be done on a caravan – like ensuring your sealing is correct, that the brakes have not rusted, checking the cables, etc.”

“When we do a service, we check everything. We grease and torque chassis components, we take the wheels off and check the bearings, we set the brakes, look for rust and repair, all of that. So, if you want your caravan ready for summer, book it for the service now. Because if there is a problem, it’s going to take time to fix! It’s not nice to realise too late you need work done on your caravan. Then when you want to go on your trip, you maybe won’t be able to because you waited too long.”

“Apart from the time it takes to do the actual repairs, there can always be other delays that are out of our hands, like hold-ups with the insurance claim, or there might be a specific part that we need to wait for.”

Tuinroete Camping and Caravans workshop

Speaking of parts, we asked the Tuinroete team how supply and availability has been recently, because a couple of years ago the market had some trouble from major suppliers, and of course of the impact that Covid had on imports.

“We don’t really struggle to get anything like was the case a few years ago,” says Echard. “The Jurgens brand, now under the ownership of Leefek, is doing well. Their production lines are working and we get the parts we need. And if we can’t get a part, for instance, a specific window, we have a contact who makes it for us according to the caravan specs. We also get a lot of stock from Leisureworld, which has a really wide variety.”

“Plus, we have a fibreglass supplier who has almost everything. Are you looking for a ‘95 Jurgens wheel arch? You’re not going to get it from Jurgens because they no longer produce it, but our supplier probably has one. The lifespan of a caravan is long, and there were thousands of those caravans produced in South Africa. The only issue we still sometimes have is with certain imported items. On the other hand, with items like the newer awnings from Fiamma – those electric ones with wind detection – they have stock locally. We can get it and we can install it for the client.”

If you are planning on booking your caravan for a service, repairs, or upgrade, you’d better do it as soon as possible, especially if you are in the Mossel Bay area, because the Tuinroete’s workshop gets booked months in advance, and their 4×4 workshop is always busy!

One of the reasons Tuinroete Camping and Caravans are always so busy is because they pride themselves in doing the job right the first time, and that’s why they have such loyal customers who come to them time and time again.

“Our customers come from far and wide,” says Echard, “as far as Port Elizabeth, from Cape Town, even the Northern Cape, as far as De Aar and Uppington. Caravan sales are also strong. We actually wish we could get more new caravans. We constantly have clients asking us for this or that caravan, and that we must phone them when we get stock.”

CaravanSA asked Echard about what trends he noticed among caravanners, and he says people are especially looking for off-road and gravel-road caravans. This is something we’ve seen growing in the market for a couple of years, and it’s clearly still growing.

“People want off-road or gravel-road caravans not just for the types of destinations they wish to visit, but also because of the bad roads in South Africa,” he says. “We have also seen an increase in popularity of caravans with a bathroom. A big part of this is, of course, due to Covid, with campers wanting their own ablutions. But it’s also because of the increase in long-term camping. It’s just more convenient when you have your own ablution. Long-term and permanent caravanners want bigger caravans with better facilities. Like the Exclusives, they are still as popular as ever. If we could get ten of them, we could sell ten!”

So, what’s new at Tuinroete Camping and Caranvas? They are now stocking the Tuff Cats brand. “These are very nice caravans,” says Echard. “We’ve sold quite a few already. They are very popular. As with most new caravans, you might have to wait a bit. Not because they are keeping production smaller due to uncertain economic conditions, but more because the demand is so big. They can’t stay ahead.” Apart from Tuff Cats, the dealership also stocks the Leefek range, as well as Bush Lapa and Infanta 4×4.

On the 4×4 side, Tuinroete is just as busy. Apart from the upgrades and repairs done in the workshop, they also sell a ton of gear. We looked around their well-stocked camping showroom, and Tuinroete has everything you need: from snorkels and suspension, to seat covers… in fact, just with seat covers you have three different brands to choose from in the shop.

“We’re lucky to have such a big 4×4 community here,” says Echard, “actually, it’s a widespread community as well – our tyres and rims are the best, we get good deals from the suppliers, so we can pass this on to the customers. We sell all the way into Cape Town.”

So if you want your caravan serviced and ready for the spring, make sure you get in touch with Tuinroete Camping and Caravans to book a spot in their workshop. Or if you want a new caravan, looking for some camping gear, or need some upgrades to your 4×4, call Echard and the team or pop into their dealership at 16 Bolton Road, Die Voor Bay, Mossel Bay.

Or you can contact them via email by filling in the enquiry form below, and a member of the Tuinroete team will get back to you as soon as possible.
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