Right now, there’s a huge boom in used caravan sales. This is because many more people are deciding to holiday in Australia rather than going overseas. Especially since our international borders are still closed and may be for some time.
To add to this, there’s quite a wait if you want to purchase new van because the manufacturers here in Australia, had to close down production for a couple of months. So, if you don’t want to wait around 12 months for a new van, used caravan sales are your only option.
There are plenty of websites dedicated to used caravan sales and this will make your search for a suitable van much easier and less time-consuming. Once you’ve narrowed down your list, it’s time to organise an inspection of the vans you’re interested in.
A note of warning here. You should never buy a caravan sight unseen unless it’s from a very reputable caravan dealer. Unfortunately, there are a few scammers around who will happily take your money, never to seen or heard from again.
Once you’ve booked a time to view the caravans that interest you, here are some tips on what to look out for.
What To Take With You To The Viewing
Here are a few essentials to take with you when you’re viewing a suitable caravan:
– Tape measure. This will allow you to check the length of the van and also other specifications that might be crucial.
– Paper and pen. You’ll want to write down any notes that are important, especially if you’re viewing more than one van. It’s easy to forget all the different features once you get home.
-Smartphone or camera. Take photos of the van. This will help you to remember the details later.
-Torch. This will allow you to easily see under the van and also to check other hard to see spots.
-Damp meter. Measuring the moisture level inside the van is important because if there’s dampness inside, the van has likely got a leak and this can be costly to fix.
The Most Important Questions To Ask The Seller
When you first meet the seller of the caravan that you’re interested in, whether it be a private owner or a caravan yard salesperson, here are some important questions you should ask:
-What is the age of the caravan?
-Does the seller have a maintenance record of the caravan?
-When was the caravan last serviced?
-Where has the caravan travelled to?
-Does the seller know of any major problems that will need immediate attention?
-If purchasing from a dealer, ask about the warranty and what it covers.
Things To Check On The Exterior Of The Caravan
When viewing any caravan, you want to check both the exterior and the interior of the van in detail. Here are some important checks you should make on the exterior of the van.
-Check for any rust. This includes underneath the caravan.
-Make sure that the VIN matches the registration papers and the van chassis.
-Check to see if there are any scratches or dents on the outside of the van.
-Rock the van a little and listen for any unusual sounds.
-Look down each side the caravan to ensure that the sides are straight.
-Make sure that the door and windows close and open easily. Also check the seals for any damage or wear.
-Check the condition of the tyres and how much tread they have. Also check whether the tyres are wearing evenly.
-Investigate any obvious paint jobs that you might see as these could be masking larger problems.
-Inspect the chassis to make sure there aren’t any cracks.
-Have a look at the axle to ensure that it’s in good condition.
-Test the van’s handbrake to ensure that it’s working properly.
-Have a look at the tow hitch to ensure that it can move freely.
-Wind the jockey wheel up and down to see whether it moves easily.
-Open and close the awning. Does it move with ease?
-Check the electrical and gas plugs and outlets to make sure that they’re in good condition. Also check if any of the cables are frayed. Don’t forget to check the date stamp of the gas bottles to determine their age.
-Have a look underneath the van to see if there are any oil leaks especially around the shock absorbers.
-Check the bottom of the water tank for wear and tear.
Things To Check Inside The Caravan
Checking the inside of the van just as carefully is also vitally important as this can alert you to any potential problems. Here’s what you should be checking:
-Check for any signs of dampness. Use a damp meter if you have one. Make sure you check inside cupboards as well and in all the corners.
-Make sure the floor of the caravan is in good condition.
-Check to see if the van has a fire extinguisher and a smoke alarm.
-Test all the appliances and make sure that they work.
-Open and close all the cupboards to make sure they’re in good condition and that the locks work.
-Check the water outlets to make sure that they work. This includes the sink, the shower and the toilet flush.
-Turn on all the lights to make sure that they work.
-Close the entry door and ensure that it locks properly.
-Make sure that the bed is solid and relatively comfortable.
-Inspect all the seat cushions to identify any rips or tears in the fabric.
-Have a look at the electrical sockets and test them to see that they all work.
-Check the resource monitor to ensure that it’s showing accurate readings. -Have a look at the date on any electrical tags to ensure they’re still compliant
Once you’ve done all these checks and identified any potential issues, you can negotiate on the price if you’re happy to fix any problems yourself.
If at all possible, you should also do a towing test to see how the caravan handles on the road.
As you know, there’s a boom in used caravan sales right now, so it’s important to understand all the checks you should do when evaluating the feasibility of a second-hand caravan.
Remember to ask the seller the right questions and then carefully inspect both the outside and interior of van. This will give you a good idea of any potential problems that may need fixing when you get the van home. It will also give you some leverage to negotiate on the price you’re prepared to pay.