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Used Caravans; A Buyer's Checklist

Jul 22, 2008
The world of caravanning is an understandable lure for many who want freedom of travel and more affordable holidays. But once you have perused the magazines and seen the pictures of large all singing, all dancing caravans it is easy to be put off by the large price tags. This is where it is important to look at used caravans that provide a far more affordable option to buying new. Buying used however can be fraught with danger unless you know what to look for, hopefully this article can help those find an outfit that is in good quality and worth purchasing.

It is easy to be led by sellers on the benefits of caravans without being realistic about any problems. The following checklist should help first time buyers find a used outfit that is a good deal and will provide years of holidaying pleasure.

The largest issue with caravans is damp. Naturally this is more of a problem with used outfits and should be checked for extensively. Places where damp is an especial problem are the corners and walls; when checking, the joins should be checked carefully to assess the levels of damp. You should also check all of the cupboards and beds for any signs of moisture. If you are really lost recognising these signs, a damp meter that should be available from DIY stores can be useful in giving exact damp levels.

Damp is so important as it can result in a loss of sturdiness of caravans. As a result of damp the cupboards and door handles can become weakened. Checking these areas by giving them a strong tug can be useful, although pulling too hard and breaking the outfit can be costly, especially if at a dealership. The reason damp is such a problem with caravans is the repair costs, having an outfit dried then repaired is a costly and time consuming process that can make a caravan that was a bargain, become far more expensive.

Another important point to check is how secure an outfit is. This means making checks of the locks and window fittings to make sure that the caravan is not easily broken into. As well as the locks, the hinges and general robustness of the entrances should be checked to ensure that thieves are put off. If the doors are faulty it may seem that a replacement is not a major expense but with used caravans finding replacements can be difficult. Windows can be similarly difficult to find although they will usually cost less than doors to replace.

The seals should also be checked thoroughly when looking at used caravans. Although these are not expensive to replace they are usually a sign that damp could have ingressed in the past. Seals are usually acrylic, silicone or oil based, depending on which has been used will vary the price of replacement. It is important to check with the seller when the seals were last replaced as some types of sealant will need replacing every five or so years. Poor seals mean that there is a higher chance of damp, if the seals are in an extremely poor state, it will probably be worth walking away from the deal.

In terms of the exterior, the chassis of the caravan should be checked over with a careful eye. Try to see if the chassis has a great deal of play in it as excessive movement can indicate an unstable platform. In the same vein, checking for signs of warping and bending is important; if you happen to find any indicators of previous work, asking the seller when and why this work was undertaken is an advisable course of action.

Hopefully this advice will allow you to find used caravans that will supply you and your family with many years of happy caravanning. Getting stuck with an outfit of poor quality can lead to an expensive repair bill. By being thorough at the time of purchase you should be able to minimise the amount spent on repairs and maintenance.
About the Author
Caravaning expert Thomas Pretty looks into the important factors to check when looking at used caravans.
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