Things to consider when buying a touring caravan

In a world filled with endless possibilities and breathtaking landscapes, nothing compares to the freedom of embarking on a journey in your very own caravan. But with a wide variety of models on the market, finding the ideal caravan can be a daunting task.

This guide will help you understand how to find the perfect caravan for your needs, the important considerations to take early on and key checks you should carry out before purchasing the caravan.

Questions to ask before buying a caravan

touring caravans

Before you begin looking at caravan models there are some important things to consider.

1. Can your car tow a caravan?

Not every model of car is suitable for towing, especially something as heavy as a touring caravan. As a general rule, an engine size of at least 2000cc is needed, but this will vary depending on the weight of both the car and the caravan.

Your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) will tell you the weight of your car. The caravan should not exceed more than 85% of your vehicle’s weight, and if you passed your driving test on or after 1st Jan 1997, the caravan and vehicle cannot exceed a combined weight of 3500kg. There are various tools available online that take your vehicle model and caravan model to determine whether or not you are safe to tow.

2. Where will you store your caravan?

If you have the land available at home to store your touring caravan whilst it’s not in use, check your property deeds to ensure that you are allowed to keep a caravan on the property.

If you do not have a means of storing it at home, or if you want the reassurance of higher security, there are a variety of storage solutions designed specifically for caravans. There is, of course, a cost associated with storing a caravan in this way, so do some research into local storage facilities in order to factor the cost into your budget.

3. What is your budget?

Before you begin browsing caravan models, you should have a rough idea of how much you’re planning to spend. Your total budget shouldn’t solely take the initial purchase price into account though, as there are many other expenses involved with buying and owning a caravan.

how much can you afford to spend on a touring caravan

As previously mentioned, you may need to consider storage costs if purchasing a touring caravan. You should incorporate estimated pitch or site fees, utilities, and regular servicing costs per year into your budget. You should also allocate funds for insurance. The best way to estimate your premium cost is to get a quote.

4. What are your essentials?

With so many models on the market, you should consider what you and your family need and want most from a caravan. Is the purpose of buying a caravan for long-term use or short-term breaks? What is the minimum berth needed for your family? Do you want a full shower or washroom? What additional features do you want, such as air conditioning, heating, or storage space?

What to look for when buying a caravan

Once you’ve taken all of the above into consideration, you can begin searching for your perfect caravan. Be sure to check reviews for the make and model to find out any positives and negatives that existing owners may have experienced.

touring caravan pitched

Always view a second-hand caravan before purchasing so that you can assess its condition. Most problems are fixable, but you should factor potential repair costs into your overall budget. The key things to look out for are:

Damage to the exterior – Check for any scratches or cracks around the exterior of the caravan. Consider whether you’re happy with the exterior or if you’d want it repainted after purchasing. If there is any discolouration or bulging, there may be water damage – which can be costly to repair.

Chassis and suspension – Look for any signs of corrosion, cracks, or damage to the chassis, including the hitch and coupling. When the caravan is parked on solid ground, check that it sits level, and that the suspension is in working order.

Interior – Check for signs of interior water damage. This could be dampness, mould, stains or soft spots on the ceiling, floor or around windows and doors. Consider whether you’re satisfied with the design of the interior. While it’s entirely possible to re-fit the interior of a caravan to suit your personal style, remember to factor the potential renovation costs for this into your budget.

Utilities – Test the gas, electric and plumbing of the caravan. Check for leaks or damage to the gas lines, fittings, and any appliances. Test all electrical outlets, lights, utility hookups, and appliances to make sure they are all working.

Windows and doors – Check the seals and locks on all windows and doors. Ensure that they close securely and there are no cracks or other signs of damage. Faulty windows and doors can not only pose a security risk but also impact the insulation of the caravan too.

Tyres – Check the overall condition of the tyres, including the tread depth, and keep an eye out for any objects embedded in them, such as nails or stones. Also, check the alignment of the wheels. If the caravan has a spare tyre, be sure to check this too.

Fire safety – Check whether the caravan has a smoke alarm and whether it is functional. Find out if there is a fire extinguisher or fire blanket.

Documentation – Request the service history and maintenance logs from the seller. Be sure to check whether the caravan has been in any accidents or undergone major repairs.

parked touring caravan

A touring caravan can be a great investment, but it’s important to not get caught up in the excitement and neglect these important factors. Once you’ve purchased your dream caravan, be sure to take out a robust insurance policy to protect it.

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