Top 10 Caravan Buying Tips

Whether you are buying brand new, pre-owned or building your individual, educating yourself on the basics of caravanning will take the guess figure out of acquiring the right caravan to suit your needs.

Safety of yourself, your occupants and other people on the road whilst travelling is the reason to arm yourself with all the correct information before investing in a caravan. Knowing a few simple tips can also save you 1000s of dollars worth of upgrades or even modifications down the track.

Ask Yourself:

1) What’s your Tow Vehicle Capability?

It’s not uncommon to your standard family car to get considered under rated, unsafe or even illegal to tow the new caravan you want to purchase. Knowing your tow car or truck capacity or tow rating will allow you to decide what fully loaded weight caravan you’ll be able to safely and legally tow line.

When you know the tow vehicle rating/capacity, think very carefully against about investing in a caravan very close for a maximum allowable towing weight rating as there are a variety of variables that can easily overload you or also de-rate/reduce the specified tow line vehicle rating, this can unintentionally put you into the ‘illegal and unsafe’ zone.

The ATM (Aggregate Trailer Mass) would be the total weight in kilograms of the fully loaded caravan. The ideal ATM of a caravan is defined by the caravan manufacturer and it is stamped on your caravans recognition plate. To be safe ensure that your cars tow rating is a least rated more compared to ATM of your caravan.

Think of the extra possible weight (luggage, fuel, camping products, caravan accessories, bike racks and application boxes etc) thrown into or mounted on your caravan whilst visiting, this could add as much as hundreds of kilos and has to be considered to comply with all the maximum ATM (Aggregate Trailer Mass) of your caravan and maximum GCM (Gross Merged Mass) rating.

The GCM (Gross Combined Mass) come in the tow vehicles features handbook. This is the utmost total weight of your car and caravan combined and it is set by the car or truck manufacturer.

Any extra weight applied to your stock standard auto (roof racks, camping products, boot luggage, extra spare tyres and even passengers) is added towards overall GCM which could possibly reduce the tow ranking, be sure to check your vehicle specifications. As a general general guideline, the heavier you create your tow vehicle the less you’ll be able to legally tow. Exceeding the ATM or GCM might make towing unsafe and avoid insurance and manufacturer’s warrantee.

One last little matter to make it somewhat more confusing but is additionally important. GVM is the Gross Vehicle Mass of your tow vehicle, this weight rating likewise cannot be exceeded first of all and would be aware of check before even taking a look at your GCM for protection, insurance and warranty good reasons – check the manufacturer’s features.

2) What is the Tow Ball Mass and also Tow Ball Weight Standing?

Tow Ball Mass would be the physical downward weight your caravan puts on your tow ball when hooked up. As a general general guideline for safe towing, the very least 10% of your overall caravan weight (ATM) must be on your tow basketball. (Unless otherwise specified by means of manufacturer)

Correctly distributing your caravan weight allows for safe towing. Having less than 10% of your caravans ATM while tow ball mass would be the major cause of unmanageable caravan swaying.

Common causes of inadequate tow ball mass are merely by loading too much gear/weight driving your caravan and mismatched elevation between car and caravan for the hitch point, both of which bring about your caravan to experience ‘nose up’ increasing to be able to sway uncontrollably.

Tow Ball Weight is the term for the horizontal pull rating of your tow ball. Make sure you check the tow ball weight rating of your tow ball that has already been fitted to your car or truck, this is not always rated to fit your vehicles maximum towing capability. For Example: 2. 5 tonne rated tow balls are commonly fitted to 3. 5 tonne rated vehicles – be sure to check.

3) What Terrain are you taking your caravan over?

Knowing what terrain you may be driving on will decide the suspension setup. You basically hold the choice of On-Road or even Off-Road type suspension having all single axle caravans. Tandem axle caravans offer On-Road, Partial Off-Road and Off-Road type suspension.

On-Road Suspension

Generally means non-independent and non-load sharing that’s OK for a smooth ride on sealed bitumen highways. Great for touring the primary ‘on the map’ places of Australia where Caravan Park hopping would be the plan of attack to your trip. The most economical suspension but the capabilities are limited. Do not make an effort to take an On-Road setup Off-Road – they are simply not designed to address the varying and typically corrugated Off-Road conditions. If your caravan has standard On-Road suspension from factory, then chances will be the rest of your caravan might also not be designed or even structurally sound enough to address these conditions either. (Corrugated roads are any killer for On-Road build caravans with this suspension a result of the minimal resistance to vibrations and also uncontrollable swaying)

A widespread example of On-Road, non-independent, non-load sharing would be the traditional Beam Axle suspension.

Partial Off-Road

For tandem axles solely that generally have possibly load sharing or impartial capabilities, but not each. It is important to spot what capabilities your Semi Off-Road suspension is designed for. Independent acting suspension will be what helps your caravan track behind you, minimising the particular uncontrollable swaying and vibration, in particular on corrugated roads. Load sharing suspension helps to spread the load evenly between the tandem axles when manoeuvring over larger dips and humps which helps prevent suspension component failure due to overloading. (Common caravan park speed bumps can temporarily overload one axle during a period without load sharing capabilities).

Total Off-Road

Fully independent and fill sharing suspension is what on earth is classed as Off-Road suspension. Independent means your caravan will certainly track better through corrugations although minimising vibrations. Load giving enables your caravan in order to safe and effectively manoeuvre over large dips and humps similar to speed bumps without overloading the axles.

Shock absorbers can be fitted to nearly all suspension types to help cushion the impact of sharp dips and bumps which also helps to track your caravan and also minimise vibrations (Simplicity suspension might not need shock absorbers a result of the reverse spring, independent and also load sharing design). The addition of shock absorbers may help improve the overall performance of your suspension, but only to the conditions your suspension is capable of, or designed for to start with. Adding new or beefing in the existing shock absorbers will certainly improve, but generally will not let you take your On-Road suspension Off-Road.

4) No cost Camping or Powered Caravan Playground Sites?

Knowing whether you are free camping or getting the convenience of a centric caravan park site or even both, will determine the formulate and configuration of the caravan.

Powered Caravan Playground Sites

This option gives you one of the most variety of choice with deciding on a caravan as you don’t necessarily have to be self-sufficient. Toilets, showers, laundry facilities, electricity, BBQ’s, world wide web, TV reception and running water can all be provided depending on the caravan park. The most basic of caravan setups can still provide a great holiday providing the particular daily caravan park site fees fit affordable.

Free Camping

The longer you travel the harder savings and freedom you receive with free camping since you are not spending your money on caravan park site fees. The catch is you have to be correctly setup to enjoy the same conveniences of the caravan park which may appear at a considerable preliminary expense.

More thought and consideration is required of your caravan layout to add the space for use and storage of the utilities and appliances.

Items to consider:

Electricity will require the provision for residential solar panels and batteries fitted and/or possibly a generator dependent upon your requirements. Toilet, shower and kitchen requires water tanks and pumping systems installed. A Satellite for TV reception and also a BBQ, grill or stove/oven with regard to cooking, not to mention the appliance and dryer for the full free camping setup.

Of course many of these things can already be installed when purchasing the caravan, it’s just a matter of exercising what things are considered important to your household and having the correct information to make an informed choice any time buying your caravan.

5) Size of your Caravan

There are lots of things to consider when determining the length of your caravan.

• Price!
• Size/capacity of tow vehicle.
• Number of men and women to sleep.
• The desire for space invading utilities: shower, toilet, kitchen etc.
• The desire for space invading appliances: TV SET, washing machine, microwave for example.
• The height of caravan for storage in a home garage.
• Fuel economy normally – the smaller, reduce and lighter your caravan, the better for your towing car or truck fuel economy.
• Ease of towing.
• General living advantage.
• Storage requirements.
• Quality of construction and its particular weight.

Generally when choosing the length of a caravan, there is actually always a compromise. It is advisable to work out what you can’t change or manage (like the minimum quantity of beds or the maximum height to suit in garage) as it’ll quickly form a system to base your judgements.

By writing down your ‘necessities’ as well as your ‘nice to haves’ you may be surprised how narrow the option of caravans becomes the particular further down the list you receive.

6) Materials & Construction of Caravan

Depending with your needs and budget, the materials and construction of your caravan can vary significantly in quality and selling price. There is always going becoming a caravan that is greater and better, but the trick is to discover the caravan that is built and created to an acceptable standard with the objective you intend.

Once you have worked out where you want to take your caravan, you’ll be able to confidently match the engineering requirements geared to. There are always new products and technology being introduced from the manufacturing of caravans (especially wall structure, ceiling and floor materials) which often all have their benefits and drawbacks. It is a good plan to familiarise yourself with what has been thoroughly tested over the years to help compare with new technology that could be considered suitable for your needs.

A few simple ideas

• Wood frame vs aluminum frame – Wood framework caravans are popular when they are generally cheaper to create and repair, but commonly lack strength, are at risk from wood rot and are slightly heavier in comparison to aluminium framed caravans.

• Composite screen, fiberglass, sandwich board, foam infill and also other similar type wall development – These wall development techniques definitely all have their particular advantages, generally (but not really always) strength, reliability, padding and weather proof features. The disadvantage is it is generally more expensive to purchase and repair these materials and can be heavier than the cheaper more prevalent alternatives.

• Aluminium cladding – Is used together with wood or aluminium framework caravans and is the commonest type of cladding as a result of availability, ease of setting up and repair, and the relatively low priced of material, but are inclined to dents and scratches.

• Chassis construction – A fantastic solid engineered chassis can be a critical component for any caravan, but with a compelling construction comes added weight. Hot Dip Galvanising may help preserve the structural integrity from the longer term by avoiding rust.

• Suspension – Match the terrain you want to travel (Bitumen, corrugated dirt or full Off-Road) with all the capability of the suspension, easy as that.

7) Study reviews of similar auto and caravan setups

It pays to read any comments or opinions by caravan owners having similar setups. There are generally always both positive and also negative reviews, tips and tricks that may give you that extra inside information that may persuade you to obtain confidently or sometimes moreover not to buy, helping you save time and money.

8) Condition of Caravan

Unless you are buying brand new, it is a good idea to get a in depth pre purchase inspection from a local caravan service/repair centre. This will give you advisable of the condition from the caravan and possibly save you 1000s of dollars down the track. Ceremony get professional hitching, towing and also combined car and caravan suggestions.

There are a lots of pit falls to keep clear of, here is a listing of common things to check:

• Make sure it isn’t stolen – View the particular registration papers, validate the owner and compare the (VIN) variety matches documentation.
• Any signs of normal water leaks or damage must be professionally inspected for solid wood rot.
• Rust and other structural damage can be a definite red flag.
• Inspect the general condition from the caravan for its age to be a guide to how it is treated. If it’s very nice condition for the age group or price, inspect the chance of the caravan staying superficially repaired and exclude any further structural injury.

9) Insurance

Don’t be left crimson faced (or worse) if something was to look wrong whilst towing the newly acquired caravan. Get insurance when you tow the caravan away to shield yourself from those inevitable outcomes we call ‘accidents’.

Remember that the insurance insurance plan won’t be worth the particular paper it’s written on when the legal requirements regarding caravan hitching and towing are not adhered to – check the manufacturer’s specifications with your car and caravan before towing.

Read your insurance plan, ‘full comprehensive accident cover’ and also ‘manufacturing fault cover’ are generally 2 different things – make sure you are covered for each, especially when water damage due to improper sealing is anxious.

10) Regular Maintenance

Visit your neighborhood caravan and service restore centre before venturing in those weekends away or even touring holidays. The professionals are there to ensure your car and caravan will be correctly setup, functioning properly and throughout road worthy condition ensuring a safe journey for your household.

Caravan Accessories – How to Spot the Best Used Caravans for Sale

While shopping for caravans it is obvious that the client will want to check the age, fitments and other common things about a caravan. However it is caravan accessories that are accessible with each caravan that help you find out if a caravan has been looked after well and whether the price that the caravan seller is asking for the caravan is worth paying or not.

All caravans that are put up for sale have regular fixtures available. Accessories such as awning, extra large water butt, sack trolley for the chemical toilet and a chemical toilet itself are not available. The more the accessories that are available with the caravan the better is your bargain. This is said be a good bargain. This also helps you gain confidence that the earlier possessor had maintained this caravan in top condition.

However a question can be asking the relevance of a good caravan with the accessories that are available with the caravan while on sale. It is very true that a caravan can be a good buy despite it not having any accessories with it. However accessories available with a caravan suggest two things about the caravan. One, the previous owners knew a lot about caravanning. Caravanning displays a certain amount of snobbish attitude as only people who have in depth knowledge of caravans know exactly what accessories to put in a caravan and two, the previous owners took care of their caravan and are thus humane.

Caravan accessories are peculiar objects and it does take a person with proper knowledge to know which accessories to fix in the caravan. Thus second-hand caravans that have constructive accessories like the awnings, bike racks and water butts have come from owners who had a good know-how of caravans. It can thus be understood that these previous owners were knowledgeable enough to be able to fix any leaks and damages in the caravan. Thus it is quite clear that caravans that come with useful accessories are well maintained even as second-hand caravans.

If one does not have a good knowledge of caravans buying one can be a taxing job. There is wide variety of things to choose from such as lengths, types, the number of berths (tourer, single, twin axle), width, the number of doors (single or dual). Thus it can safely be concluded that checking out and banking on the accessories available while buying a used caravan for its quality can be helpful in narrowing the choices. If the buyer does not have a good knowledge of caravans and while buying he will have to rely on the sellers ten he might as well look for one that comes with useful accessories.

Purchasing a used commodity is always considered to be a lottery. Buying a second-hand caravan with useful accessories is similar to buying a second-hand car or any other vehicle. You may end up getting a wonderful purchase or it may be a nightmare for you. Thus it is always safer to buy from a dealer than to buy from a private individual who has more chances of selling you a low quality caravan which can be more expensive to maintain given its condition.

Caravan Buying Tips

For people already enjoying the good life, travelling independently in their motorhome, caravan or campervan, it comes at absolutely no surprise that caravan use and caravan sales are booming in Australia.

Pre-purchase or pre-delivery inspection

Whether you’re buying a new caravan or a used caravan, you’ll want to do a pre-delivery or pre-purchase inspection because the last thing you want is buyer’s remorse. Whether you do it yourself or get someone with experience and expertise to give you a hand, you’ll want to make sure you inspect the caravan thoroughly.

To help with this, and so you don’t forget anything, we’ve written a 20 page e book that includes a comprehensive check-list. It’s pretty comprehensive but if you need some help, don’t be shy in calling in an expert to inspect the vehicle you’re thinking about buying.

Getting new caravan skills on board

A lot of people who now own caravans started off renting one for a fairly short holiday. It’s a great idea to do this if you’re new to caravans because there’s a lot to know and learn about caravanning to make it safe and enjoyable for everyone.

Learning how to tow a caravan, parking, reversing and how to handle diverse road conditions are all skills that are learnt over time. And like any new skill, it takes a bit of time, practice and patience to get good at it. You’ll enjoy your travels a lot more if you skill up. So, learning these skills whilst experiencing the lifestyle that’s uniquely caravanning is a sound decision before you go ahead and commit you hard earned cash into buying a new or used caravan.

Buying a new caravan or used caravan

Caravans, whether they are new or used, typically represent a significant purchase for most people. Like any decision involving new Vs used, there are pro’s and con’s to weigh up. New caravans and used caravans are no exception.

Size matters – a lot

One of the first things to think abut is the size of caravan you think you need. The number of people you’ll be travelling with is an obvious consideration as it the type of travel you’ll be doing. If you plan to do long trips, covering large distances each day, you’ll want something that requires the least amount of set up upon arrival at your daily destination.

Used Caravans – late model with dealer warranty

If your budget can withstand it, buying a new caravan is always a better proposition from a risk perspective although you do then face steeper depreciation in the early years after your initial purchase than what you would normally experience if buying a used caravan.

Many caravan dealers offer pretty solid warranties on late model used caravans so its worth thinking about the peace of mind a dealer warranty can provide if you’re weighing up a dealer v a private seller. Like any warranty, you need to make sure the fine print makes the warranty workable as some have such onerous conditions and ‘get out’ clauses that they are essentially worthless.

What to look for if buying a used caravan

There are a few things to look out for when buying a used caravan and we list some of them here:

Rust is a big problem.
Rust is a big problem for used caravans. Check around the chassis area and underneath the van. If there is fresh paint and its all looking lovely,then it could be the sign of a quick rust cover-up job. Rust is a big problem with caravans and is very expensive to fix. Beware of rust.

Make sure everything works.
There’s nothing worse than getting your van home, or even worse, out of holiday, to find that the stove or fridge don’t work properly. Or that the beds don’t stow or the windows and hatches leak. You have to be diligent and check everything.

Water leaks.
Check for all windows, doors and hatches for signs of water penetration.

Tow hitch.
The tow hitch needs to be in good order and the handbrake needs to hold the caravan stationary even if on a hill.

Thinking a new caravan might be for you?

The new caravan market is awash with options so give yourself plenty of time to get to know what’s on offer before buying. One of the most important things you need to get very clear on it the weight of the caravan you’re thinking of and whether your towing vehicle is up to the job. The shape of the caravan also is important because the shape affects its aerodynamics and hence its level of drag and hence its fuel consumption. With fuel not getting any cheaper, this one thing can really affect the cot per kilometre of owning your caravan.

You can do

When Is It Ideal to Use a Caravan?

People use caravans for many different things. They are not just used as holiday homes for people who can’t afford to go abroad. This is a negative misconception by people who have probably never been in a caravan.

The caravan industry is booming at the moment and a lot more people are investing in caravans for different things. Caravans offer people a lot of choice and they can pick and choose features based on the price of the caravan.

Prices range from £1000 for the smallest and most basic caravan, to the price of a house for a modern caravan that can be equipped with all the latest technology.

Read on for some insight on what people use caravans for in their lives.

Holiday Homes

The most obvious one is the holiday home. Customers can rent caravans on holiday camps, or they can buy their own and pay land rental on the camps. When they buy them, they tend to go to the caravan a lot and it is almost like a second home to them.

They can also make an income on the caravan by renting it out during the times that they are not using the caravan. They can have a website and rent it themselves, or they can pay the camp a fee and they will deal with all the rentals for the owner. In the latter case, the camp will take a cut of the rental payment but it saves the owner a lot of hassle.


Construction company owners will hire caravans to house their staff in if they are working on a project away from their usual area. Some companies will even buy the caravans and just arrange for them to be moved from site to site.

They have a wider pick of workers if they pay for accommodation for workers. So, it benefits them a lot if they pay for the caravan and then just put the caravans on their construction site, that way they don’t have to pay for land rental.

Some constructions companies will hire the caravans and have them changed into other things. For example, static caravans can be made into offices or canteens and refreshment rooms for the workers.

Sometimes, a personal user will hire a caravan and house it on the property where their home is located because they are having renovations done on their house and they want a place to stay.


Some actors and actresses will hire or buy caravans to be used as their trailer when they are on a set. They will have state of the art caravans that almost look like a luxury home and they will have somewhere to rest and change between takes.

Some people will buy the caravan and have it moved between sets. They do this because they feel comfortable in the caravan that they have already. They can keep personal items in the caravan and they don’t have to worry about settling into premises that they are not comfortable in.

Alternative Homes

With the economy being the way that it is, a lot more people are turning to caravans as an affordable alternative to buying a house. They can get a state of the art caravan for half the cost of a modern home.

Plus they can live on a holiday camp with amenities and entertainment provided for them. They can only choose certain camps though because a lot of camps don’t allow residents to stay on camp for 12 months of the year.