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For Those Looking At Used Caravans; Some Buying Tips

Jun 26, 2008
Caravans are becoming an evermore popular buy for many families in the UK for the freedom they offer and the increased affordability of holidaying. Before you head to the dealership and buy the all singing, all dancing model however it may be worth considering used caravans as a more cost effective buy and in some respects a testing ground to ascertain whether the world of caravanning is really for you. There is however a wide variety of problems that can occur when buying used caravans; above all you need to take as much care with your purchase, as if you were buying a car or house.

Unfortunately some of the used caravans on the market today are of questionable quality. This is not normally the case at professional dealerships as they have standards to meet but private sellers can sell substandard used caravans. That is not to say that all private sellers are selling poor quality outfits, there are many out there who have loved and cared for their caravans and try to ensure its quality at the time of sale. Ultimately you must assess the seller to establish whether they are a caravanner that has cared for their outfit or simply someone trying to make a quick buck.

In addition, when looking at used caravans it is essential to check the maximum towing weight of the car you intend to tow the outfit with. Of prime importance is to tow safely and if your car is underpowered, you may have to reassess whether this is the right caravan for you. As well as the towing weight of your car you should check the tow bar of the used outfit carefully checking for any signs of rust or excessive wear. If the tow bar proves to be faulty it is advisable to walk away from the deal, the last thing you want is the outfit becoming detached while in transit.

Used caravans pose separate problems to new ones, of ultimate importance is to recognise any structural problems that may become apparent in years to come. When checking you should ensure that the caravan's walls are glued together and not just stapled, the glue will help to keep the outfit watertight. As well as the walls it is advisable to check the fixtures and fittings like the cupboard and sink for structural stability and decent levels of support.

Most important when looking at used caravans is to check how well the outfit is sealed. Excessive moisture inside the caravan can be considered a death knell for an outfit leading to damp, rot and eventual structural instability. As part of your checks you must ensure that the sealing around the edges and corners is effective, you can do this by squeezing the panelling at sealed points to assess the adherence to both adjoining surfaces. As well as the walls it is fundamental that you check the sealant around the window frames, doors and the seals between the floor and walls. If you happen to find any water inside the outfit it is advisable to walk away, not only can damp be expensive to remedy but can also lead to the complete destruction of the caravan.

Finally it is important to check the chassis of any used caravans you may look at. Most caravanners will tell you that slipper springs are worth avoiding and instead you should look for shackle type fixings with shock absorbers. In addition it is also worth checking the tyres for wear, they fall under tread regulations and excessively bald tyres may be an added expense, although you may be able to receive a discount from the seller.

By following this advice you should be able to avoid the poor quality used caravans out there, finding yourself and outfit that will provide you with years of pleasure and enjoyment. Remember that purchase is not the final step; you must undertake regular maintenance to prolong its life. The perfect caravan is out there, by using these tips you should be able to find it.
About the Author
Travel expert Thomas Pretty looks into what checks must be made when looking at used caravans.
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