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Pre Owned Caravans

Not everyone can, or wants to purchase a new caravan. There are thousands of pre owned caravans available in both the private market and the dealer network.
All but the very latest layouts will be available in the pre owned market but a specific caravan model may be hard to find.
 The web has made the process of finding a caravan a great deal easier, with sites like Caravan selector and Caravan Finder which will put the customer in contact with a wide range of sellers.
 Location is important, if the ideal caravan for a customer is hundreds of miles away sometimes it can be a trip worth taking but be aware that committing to a long trip may lessen the ability to haggle or walk away from a caravan that may not be ideal for a customer, due to the "investment" in the time and effort it has taken to travel.
Where to Buy?
There are two distinct ways of purchasing a pre owned caravan, the private market, or from a dealer.
 Private Purchase.
This involves a purchase of a caravan from a private individual.
The most important thing to understand with purchasing from a private seller, is that there is no process to get a refund if anything is found to be wrong with the caravan after purchase.
As a dealer myself, its hard to see any advantage other than price and may be
 If the ideal caravan is from a private seller and is just around the corner, then this could be better then a dealership full of unsuitable vans.
In theory, a private seller may offer the same product for a cheaper price due to not having to commit to a pre delivery inspection or warranty.
 However, I have found that an emotional tie to a product such as a caravan, or having purchased the caravan for a high price in the first place can produce an unrealistic valuation of a caravan.
 It is important to shop around and get an idea of true market value before looking at a caravan to avoid paying too much.
 All the obvious things apply, don't buy in the dark, don't arrange to meet at a lay by or service station. See my section on CRIS for advice on checking a caravans history, using the CRIS system.
What to look for...
 There are a number of things to look out for when purchasing a pre owned caravan, I have been purchasing caravans for years and still make mistakes!
The biggest problem, is water ingress. The key to finding water ingress is knowing where to to look and what to look for.
 I have been astounded over the years by the misinterpretation of what water ingress is, a private individual may say there is no water ingress in a caravan because they don't know what it is, or what to look for.
 If you can smell damp then the issue is very serious, this means that caravan has had water coming in for a long time.
  Dealers use a damp meter to find ingress behind the panel, before it is visible. They are expensive but effective, cheaper damp meters can be brought from a DIY shop, but I'm not sure of their effectiveness.
Normally a visual check is good enough, if you know where to look.
A health wall board will hard to touch and will produce a nice ting sound when tapped with fingernails.
 A poor condition wall board will be soft,may show signs of staining and will produce a dull noise with the finger nail test.
look inside the cupboards, check the front corners, lift the rubber around the windows and check the wood underneath. The more places that are checked the better.
 Check the shower tray, a crack around the waste outlet can be a costly and time consuming thing to replace.
 Check all the windows, again they are easy to ignore but to replace can cost a lot to replace.
 Check the exterior for damage and check the roof if possible. If the appliances can be checked, then that's ideal.
 Test the floor for de-lamination, a caravan with this issue will have a springy floor, normally by the main door or in front of the kitchen area. De-lamination isn't as bad as it feels. I have never had a floor so bad that caravan was unusable.
 It is more a cosmetic issue than a serious structural issue, a small amount isn't the end of the world, it depends on the age and price of the caravan, as to what is acceptable.
 There are kits that contains a resin the fills the void and hardens the floor. They are a bit tricky to use, as holes have to be drilled into the floor, the resin is then injected into the void, where it sets.

Purchasing from a Dealer
 Purchasing from a dealer will give some piece of mind as the caravan will go through a pre delivery inspection.It will have been CRis checked and legally will have to come with a 12 month warranty. If an issue occurs within the first six months it is assumed that the issue was there at time of purchase, if it occurs in the second six months it will have to be up to the customer to prove it was.
It is still a good idea to check all the above points when purchasing a caravan from a dealer, as it is better to find an issue before a purchase rather that after as it can be a bargaining tool or a decision not to purchase can be made.
 The price may be slightly increased due to the work and guarantees that are added, but the fact that there is some come back off sets this.


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