Four things to look out for when buying a preowned caravan
There are plenty of great preowned caravans available to buy right now, but this doesn’t mean that all of them offer good value for money.
With many private and dealership tourers for sale, here are four things that you should look out for when viewing a preowned caravan to ensure that you don’t end up having to shell out for repairs or upgrades that you failed to spot before signing on the dotted line, or worse still, paying good money for a tourer that’s been reported as stolen.
One of the most common problems in second-hand tourers, some unscrupulous sellers will try to hide damp to achieve a higher price for their tourer.
Not only does damp weaken the structure of fibreglass and plastics which are bonded together to create the outer shell of the tourer, it can also leave a musty smell that many experienced caravan owners will spot within seconds.
If the caravan you are looking at smells strongly of cleaning products, or the owner seems to be guiding you away from certain areas, make sure that you inspect both the outside and interior of the caravan at length. Feel free to ask that items be moved out of the way so you can better see any areas that you suspect damp might be hiding.
Window seals are often the main culprits of leaks in touring caravans and can let in damp if not properly maintained.
To check that the seals are in good order, use your finger to check that the rubber is still soft and pliable to the touch. This means that the seal is still doing its job.
If you feel wetness or spot condensation, this is a sign that the seals may need to be replaced shortly. Although this isn’t as expensive to fix as damp, it still takes time and money. Be sure to check each window and open and close it to see if the seals require replacement.
Electrics and wiring
There are two main caravan electrical systems on most tourers, the 240v mains electric for larger appliances such as fridges and a 12v onboard battery that powers items such as water pumps and strip lighting.
If you are viewing a caravan and the owner cannot show you that the electrics are in good working order, move on as repairing damaged electrics can be costly and time-consuming especially in newer tourers. Electrics are becoming increasingly complex as our need for power has increased in recent years.
Any good caravan sales company will be able to prove that the electrics are working by using a leisure battery or by hooking it up to mains power. Ask to see this and take a look to see if any visible wires and plugs have been well looked after.
Any reputable caravan owner will be able to provide you with a history of the tourer, but sadly caravan thefts have spiked in recent years so you still need to be vigilant.
Ask to see receipts of sale or as proof that any maintenance works have been carried out on the caravan and if none are available, warning bells should be sounding if the van isn’t brand new.
Also, check the hitch isn’t damaged as this could be a sign that the van may have been stolen. For that extra peace of mind if buying privately, make sure that you carry out a CRiS check. This enables you to search by serial numbers against a database of stolen tourers.
If in any doubt, it’s always best to use a reputable tourer dealer who will have carried out all of the relevant safety checks, a full appraisal of the caravan and carried out a database search before the tourer finds its way to the forecourt.