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.

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