Purchasing A Caravan Tips
The very first thing to do is to get experience of a caravanning holiday.
You can do this by renting a caravan yourself or by going away with family/friends who already own one. In the current circumstances - a pandemic - the former is recommended.
Ok, now that you have made sure this is the holiday investment for you – what next?
This is the single most important thing that you can do.
- What do I want from the caravan?
- Is style important? How about gadgets?
- How many people would I like it to comfortably sleep?
- How important is the layout? Do I need an area for the children to play?
- Is my heart set on a new model or can it be second hand? (don’t be afraid of second hand!)
- Where will I store it when it is not in use?
- The main caravan layouts.
- The major caravan manufacturers.
- Go to a caravan show. But not to buy.
- Take the family (or whoever you are planning to go caravanning with in the future) and sit in the caravans. Is it comfortable?
- What, if anything, will you have to compromise for your budget?
- What size caravan will your car tow? This will limit your purchase, unless you are also in the market for a new car.
- Do you need a single or twin axle? A single axle is helpful when manoeuvring on the caravan site – especially if you are a beginner. Larger caravans will need a twin axle to bear their weight – they may also require a larger towing car.
Now you have come up with a preferred shortlist. What next?
- This is an obvious one, but don’t buy the first caravan that you see. There are lots of options available. It may have ticked all the boxes, but don’t rush - simply show that you are interested and tell the salesman that you will think it over. Even if you are offered a ‘one day only’ - too good to be true deal – don’t jump at this purchase. You may regret it.
- Don’t bid on web auctions without seeing the caravan. Research is extremely important here. Gain as much knowledge as you can before committing financially. Find out the make, model, year and do as much research on the vendor as possible – are they recommended by others? Web auctions may seem like the place to get a bargain, but if you don’t do your research it may be a costly error.
- You’ve found the perfect caravan: before making a purchase take a good look around. If it smells a bit mouldy, then look carefully for signs of damp: discoloration, odd stains, mould or soft wall-board. Don’t forget to check inside cupboards and roof locker areas. If water has found a way inside, this usually indicates an issue with the bodyshell and may be costly to repair. You must also pay close attention to the body of the van for signs of excessive wear and tear, dents or bulging side panels and areas that have been repaired.
- How can I be sure that it isn’t stolen? Visible signs might be damage around the hitch or the tyres. Always ask to see the ownership and servicing documents. And if you have to meet for a viewing away from the seller’s premises or are being offered a large, twin-axled caravan very cheaply – then you have reason to be suspicious.
You can also contact Theftcheck Service on 01342 336885 to check whether it is known to be stolen and check the CRiS number at www.cris.co.uk
- Aftersales Service: What sort of warranty is being offered? If none are you happy with that? If the dealer has agreed to carry out any repairs as a condition of sale - then make sure that you get this in writing.