If you’ve decided to make the leap and buy a caravan we’re sure you’ll have a ton of questions. For this reason, we’ve listed all the tricks regarding what you need to look for and avoid, whether you’re buying a new caravan or a second-hand one.
Tips for buying a caravan and succeeding
You’ve convinced the family and you’ve saved the money. Now all you need to do is put your plan into action. If you want to succeed, take note of the following pieces of advice.
1. Should I buy a new or second-hand caravan?
This is the key question. A brand new caravan has two advantages: you can choose the level of equipment you desire, and it will come with a guarantee of between 3 and 10 years, depending on your choices.
With a second-hand caravan you’ll save a significant amount of money. However, neither the guarantee nor personalisation will be as extensive.
2. Where should I keep it? How will I move it?
The second step before buying a caravan is to ensure your vehicle can move it safely and legally. In general, the weight of your caravan should not exceed 85% of the weight of your car. Ensure you have the necessary driving permit. Some motorhomes may require a superior license. Furthermore, you may have to make some changes to your vehicle, such as adding a hook for the trailer. You should also check if your insurance covers these scenarios and take out extra coverage if required.
Another thing you must do is think about where you are going to keep your caravan. If you don’t have enough space at home, you may have to factor in the monthly cost of renting a garage.
3. Have an expert accompany you
If this is the first time you will by buying a caravan, you would do well to go accompanied by someone who is familiar with the subject. Of course, don’t forget to ask the seller or owner all your questions.
If you will be buying a second-hand caravan, and especially if you will be doing so privately, it’s a good idea to take a small battery and gas canister with you to check that its electrical appliances work.
4. On the hunt for signs
In second-hand caravans there are certain signs you need to look out for to ensure everything is in good working order.
For example, pay attention to the floor and carpet: check for damp or imperfections. These may indicate leaks in the air conditioning or water systems. Furthermore, damp is enemy number one in caravans! Another thing you should check is the insulation of doors and windows. It’s also worth inspecting the caravan’s upholstery and textiles, as well as any cushions and curtains.
The bodywork is another element worthy of attention. In particular, you should look for possible signs of rust. These may lead to future repairs that, in general, are costly. Dents and external scratches can also give you clues as to the care and maintenance the previous owner has put into the caravan.
5. Its history on paper
Asking to see the caravan’s service history is a good way to check all maintenance tasks have been performed routinely and that the caravan hasn’t suffered an accident or undergone any serious repairs.
6. There’s a caravan for every camper
Finally, be realistic about your needs. Your caravan should not be too big or small for you. The bigger it is, the more maintenance it usually needs, although comfort is always a key factor.
As a final piece of crucial advice, don’t buy on impulse. If you’re still not sure about buying a caravan the best thing to do is experiment beforehand. Start by renting a caravan or trying fixed caravans available at a campsite like Villamar.