In the UK there are more than 555,000 touring caravans and 365,000 caravan holiday homes, so we thought we would bring you tips on buying a caravan. These tips are for those people looking to buy a touring caravan.
Just like buying a car, buying a caravan can be a daunting and complicated task, especially if it’s your first time. We hope our caravan buying guide will make the whole process a lot easier.
Caravans come in different shapes and sizes and you can choose to buy a caravan that is brand new or second hand. It is important to choose a caravan that is appropriate for you and your budget.
How many axles – single or twin?
A touring caravan can be fitted with either a single or a twin axle. In other words, one or two pairs of wheels. A single axle is perfect for someone new to having a caravan on the back of their vehicle and for someone who has a small car. A single axle caravan will help a person when manoeuvring their caravan on a touring caravan site.
If the thought of manoeuvring a touring caravan does make you nervous, then don’t worry. There are a lot of courses available to help beginners.
A larger caravan will have four wheels. This will provide a better grip while travelling on the roads and will be more stable. However, one thing to think about, and this is important if you are a beginner and if you have a small vehicle, a twin axle caravan is heavier. It is not just about being heavier, a twin axle caravan will require a larger vehicle to tow it. So, when buying caravans and buying a touring caravan, it is important to check how much weight your vehicle can pull.
A lot of people make a huge mistake when buying a touring caravan. They go straight to the caravans that look the best and have the most room and buy it without thinking or checking if their vehicle is able to tow it. This could be a very costly mistake. So, speak to caravan dealers before making a purchase and show them your vehicle first. They will be able to tell you if the touring caravan you want to purchase is suitable for the car that you have.
How many people will it sleep (berths)?
Another thing to look at when buying a caravan is how many people will use it (how many people will sleep in the caravan). As you can see caravan buying is not straightforward.
By knowing how many people will sleep in the caravan then you will know what berth caravan to buy. Touring caravans come in different berths, but one thing to note, and that is if you want to save on money then you can buy an awning.
You can sleep adults and children in an awning and by buying an awning it can not only help increase the number of people who can come on holiday with you, it can also mean you can buy a smaller caravan and save money.
Test The Beds In The Touring Caravan
This is a very important tip and one that a lot of people miss. When you buy a bed for your home you test it out to make sure it is comfortable. However, lots of people never think to test the bed in the touring caravan. Imagine buying a caravan with an uncomfortable bed. You will have to either put up with the bed and suffer in silence or go to the added expense and replace it. Buy testing the bed it will save you money and time.
Folding caravans and trailer tents
If you are looking at testing the touring holiday experience and are working with a limited budget, then how about a folding caravan or trailer tents.
A folding caravan and trailer tent are easier to manoeuvre and they reduce the excess fuel that is used to tow a caravan. As well as being more affordable, they are very quick to erect when you arrive at the touring caravan park. The downsize on a folding caravan and trailer tent is they have less storage.
Is your car suitable to tow the caravan?
As previously mentioned, when looking at caravan buying you need to look at the vehicle you have and the vehicle that will be used to tow the caravan. You need to check how much weight your vehicle can pull. You should never exceed the weight of your vehicle. The vehicle manufacturer handbook will provide you with the maximum weight your vehicle can tow.
Ignoring the maximum weight that your vehicle can pull could put you and your passenger’s lives in danger. So, when looking at buying a touring caravan speak to the caravan dealers first. They will check your vehicle and recommend the maximum weight that your vehicle can pull. They will then show you touring caravans that are suitable for your car.
What’s the best caravan to buy?
What is the best caravan to buy is not an easy question to answer? Everyone will have different needs. So, the best caravan to buy could be different for each person. You need to look at your needs and budget.
You need to think about how many people you want to sleep in your caravan. It is also important to think about if you want a shower room, how much storage space you want, and also the kitchen area. We recommend when caravan buying to spend a couple of weekends to look at lots of caravans and test the feel of them. Imagine that each caravan is your caravan and check it for comfort as well as space.
Buying a second-hand caravan
It is so important to think about your budget when caravan buying. I have seen and read so many horror stories where people have bought a touring caravan on finance and gone over their budget. Remember, as soon as you buy a caravan it will lose its value as soon as you tow it from the sales area.
Buying a second-hand caravan is something to seriously look at especially for those people new to touring caravans. There are lots of great secondhand caravans on the market which can help you save thousands of pounds.
You can buy a secondhand touring caravan from caravan dealers, Amazon, and in newspaper ads. You can also buy second-hand caravans from popular motoring magazines and also from eBay.
When you buy a secondhand touring caravan from a dealer you are covered by the Sale of Goods Act. However, when buying a caravan from a private individual you are not covered. Most private individuals who have a caravan to buy will sell it with a receipt that says sold as seen. This provides you with very few legal rights.
How to check if a caravan is stolen
More than 1,200 caravans were stolen last year. That is a shocking figure. Something more shocking is those caravans go on to be bought by people who believe they are legal. If a person buys a caravan that has been stolen and is recovered by the police, then it means that person could lose their money.
When buying a caravan, it is important to check for signs of damage around the wheel trims, tyres, or hitch. If there is damage, then this could be as a result that a security device has been tampered with and forcibly removed.
Also, it is important to ask the person selling the caravan to provide you with receipts and documentation to show they are the legal owners. You want to see the servicing history as well as the caravan registration and identification. Another thing to look out for is if the caravan is being offered at a price that is too good to be true.
Another great way to check if a caravan has been stolen before buying a caravan is a CRiS number check. This can be done at www.cris.co.uk. As well as letting you know if the caravan for sale is stolen or legal it can also provide you with details of its age and if there are any outstanding finance payments.