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Caravan Week: Buying a Caravan

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May 4, 2015
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Welcome to Adrian Flux Caravan Week, a series of blog posts aimed at camping and caravanning enthusiasts. This week’s focus is getting started in caravanning, with posts about buying, towing, furnishing and siting your caravan, as well as answering other caravan questions.

Throughout Caravan Week we’d love to hear from you, so if you have any advice to share with our readers, or you’d like us to answer your questions, please comment on the blog posts or get in touch through Twitter or Facebook.

The first post of Caravan Week is about buying a caravan. There are many different factors to consider before choosing a caravan, such as size, layout, weight, price, and history if it’s a second-hand van. Deciding which caravan to buy can be daunting so it’s a good idea to think about your budget, size requirements and how much weight your car can tow before you begin looking seriously.

Where do I buy a caravan? AF2987---Polaroids1

Once you’ve decided on the type of caravan you’re looking to buy, you’ll need to have a look at some vans. There are a number of places to purchase caravans:

  • Dealers will stock both new and second-hand caravans, often with warranty included. You have greater legal rights buying from a dealer
  • Private sale will often mean a cheaper price, but it means you’ll need to do more research and checks to make sure you’re getting a good quality caravan. Check the interior for damp, the exterior for visible damage, the fitted equipment (take a gas cylinder and 12-volt battery with you) and chassis & running gear
  • Manufacturers will occasionally refurbish models, giving you greater peace of mind
  • Auctions can sometimes provide a bargain caravan, although you’ll need to thoroughly check the caravan you’re bidding on. Use the same checks as you would at a private sale to ensure you’re getting a good quality caravan

When people are thinking about how to buy a caravan, they often worry about the history of the van. You can use the CRiS Enquiry Service to identify a caravan that has been reported as stolen or whether there are any outstanding payments on it. This check is mainly for caravans built after 1992, so for an earlier model you’ll have to rely on the paperwork.

Check the ownership and warranty documents, service receipts and invoices and log book. Generally if a caravan has well maintained service documents, it has been looked after. A HPI check will also tell you if the van has previously been stolen, written off, has outstanding finance, mileage discrepancies, and also provides a realistic valuation.

If you’re thinking of buying a static caravan, you can either purchase independently or through the site. Consider the layout of the caravan, and the pitch, for example positioning around the sun, car parking, view, noise and residents.

When should I buy a caravan? AF2987---Polaroids2

Dealers generally get a delivery of new caravan models in March, and will focus on selling those until May. The best time to buy a caravan is before this delivery, when dealers are trying to get rid of their old or second hand stock.

Just after May is another prime time for bargain caravans, as it’s after the rush of new deliveries, when customers have traded vans in for a newer model. This means you can get a good deal on a caravan that’s recently been traded in, making it the best time to buy a used caravan.

Have you recently bought a caravan? What would your advice be for somebody choosing a caravan? Let us know in the comments section.

 Tomorrow we’ll be taking a look at all the rules and regulations around towing a caravan, and giving you tips to make the first time as painless as possible – see you then!

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