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In the age of inflation, buying yourself a used van is a seriously savvy move. But with some dodgy sorts out there — and the chance you could wind up with a lemon — buying a second-hand caravan means doing some homework before you dive in.
Used caravans can be excellent value for money, but they need a solid checking over first. Thankfully, The Caravan Guys can help. We don’t just repair, replace, and service vans; we can also provide some tips to help you snag a good one.
So, check out our guide to buying a second-hand caravan and make the whole process easy as.
Ask Yourself These Questions Before Buying An Old Caravan
Shopping for a second-hand van can be a lot of fun, and before you begin, it pays to have a think about what you actually want and how you’ll use your van. Asking these questions before shopping around will ensure you don’t overpay for a caravan with more than you need.
- Where Do You Plan On Taking Your Caravan?
Staying in sunny QLD or travelling right around this beautiful country of ours? This can have an impact on the type of caravan you need. Likewise, if you want a van that can go off-road, it needs ground clearance and structural strength to match.
- How Long Will You Be Staying In It?
Some van owners like short and sweet trips. Others prefer a longer-term vacay. Your caravan should suit the length of trips you plan on taking, so if you’re considering living in it for a while, it needs suitable space and amenities.
- Do You Want A Fixer-upper?
If you prefer to save money by fixing up an old caravan, there are plenty for sale that would work. If you need a little extra help, The Caravan Guys are experts at remodels and repairs, so if you see a second-hand van you love and have a vision in mind, get in touch!
- Are There Any Must-have Features You Want?
Caravans can come with all the bells and whistles or be basic beauties. Before buying one, think about the features you’ll really use, so you don’t get swayed by those you don’t. Still unsure? Hire a caravan for a weekend, and you’ll better understand what you want.
- What’s Your Budget?
This is a must. Decide on a firm figure before you start shopping and stick to it. Plan on doing repairs or renovations? Put it in your budget. And don’t forget to factor in caravan servicing in the future.
What To Look For When Buying A Caravan
Now that you know what you’re after in a van, the fun can begin. This ‘Buying A Caravan Checklist’ will help you tick off the essentials so you can be sure you’re driving away in a peach — rather than a lemon.
☑ Suss Out The Service History
Any caravan worth buying will have documents to back it up. At a minimum, you’ll want copies of the service and owner history. Plus, certificates for gas, weighbridge and electrical, if they’re current.
A van that’s regularly been serviced and had no major issues should be pretty easy to spot. And once it’s yours, we can take care of the regular caravan servicing for you.
☑ Questions To Ask The Owner
You can tell a lot about a second-hand van by how well it’s been looked after. Asking these questions will give you an idea of the past life of your potential purchase.
✓ Where do you usually store the van?
✓ How old is the van?
✓ What type of trips has it been on?
✓ Is there anything we should be aware of?
☑ Inside And Outside Checks
Wondering what to look for when buying a caravan? Start on the outside and underneath, and make a note of the following:
✓ Rust, dents, scratches, and other marks. Check the roof and under the van, too.
✓ Can you open and close the windows and doors? How about awnings?
✓ Does it look like there’s paint or tape hiding anything major?
✓ How do the tyres look?
✓ Are there issues with the chassis, axle, handbrake, tow hitch, or jockey wheel?
✓ Does the wiring and piping look okay?
✓ Are all the gas and electrical components working as they should? This is important inside as well.
From here, ask the owner for a squiz inside. And while you’re there, tick these things off your buying a caravan checklist.
✓ Is there any dampness? (Hint: bring a damp meter for an accurate reading and get in all the nooks.)
✓ How does the floor look and feel?
✓ Do the lights, appliances, and water sources all work?
✓ Are the drawers and cupboards opening and closing?
✓ Does it include a working smoke detector and fire extinguisher?
The Caravan Guys To The Rescue
Buying used caravans is a great way to snag a deal. And while overlooking minor and superficial issues is okay, anything that compromises your safety is a no-go. Sussing out a new van and need a hand from the pros? Let The Caravan Guys help.