A caravan can be a really exhilarating purchase for anyone who likes to get out on the road and tour different places. But, new caravans don’t come cheap, which, for most people, means having to buy second-hand. Like any pre-used vehicle you buy, you need to consider a number of factors, to ensure that you’re getting a good deal and not landing yourself with a pile of rust. Here’s all you need to know.
Do your homework
Caravans come in different sizes and to suit a range of budgets, so before you start caravan shopping decide what sort of thing you’re looking for, and how much money you have to spend. With this in mind, start doing some research. Have a look on the internet to find out what’s available and what you can get for your money.
When you’re looking for a caravan, make sure to factor in for extra costs such as insurance. Will you have to buy extras, such as battery chargers, gas bottles, electric hook-ups and other essential equipment? These will all mount up and eat into your budget.
Check for damp
One of the biggest problems associated with second-hand caravans is damp. So, when you’re inspecting a caravan, keep a vigilant eye out for any telltale signs of damp. Check in corners, around windows, etc. Let your nose guide you, as well.
Check the sealing
It might not be the first thing you’d think of inspecting but it’s really worth checking the sealant around doors and windows to ensure that they are watertight. Any problems with the sealing could lead to damp problems.
Check windows and doors
Make sure the doors are secure and close/lock without any problems. Have a look at the windows to see what sort of condition they are in. Replacing caravan windows and doors isn’t easy, and can work out quite costly, so avoid any caravans that look like they could have potential problems.
Check the flooring
Have a good look down at the flooring of the caravan to see if there are any areas that sag or appear weak – especially in well-used spots such as near the door, in the kitchen or living areas. If sagging is a problem, the floor will need to have rigidity foam injected into it, which is expensive.
Check the appliances work
Don’t be afraid to ask if you can turn appliances on to check that they are in good working order, such as taps, water systems, gas appliances, electrical points, etc.
Check the history
Find out about the history of the caravan as much as you can before making any decisions whether to buy it or not. Don’t be embarrassed to ask the seller questions such as its age, what work it’s had done, any accidents, how far it’s travelled, etc. Ask to look at documentation or receipts.
When deciding which caravan to buy, it’s important to weigh up the size. Remember, that you’ll need a powerful enough car to tow your caravan, so bear this in mind. Decide also where you plan to take the caravan and which routes – this could have an impact on the size you choose.
Dealer or private seller?
If you buy a caravan from a private seller you may get a better price than if you buy off a dealer. However, you’ll have less protection if anything is wrong if you buy from a private seller compared to a dealer.