Helping you along your caravan journey.

What caravan should I buy?

Table of Contents

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Choosing the right caravan with confidence.

A caravan can incur considerable costs if you are not careful. This guide is intended to help any new adventurers looking to buy a caravan for the first time without breaking the bank.

What type of caravan should I buy?

Caravans come in all shapes and sizes, but the choice you make has to fit in around your families needs. The most common categories are separated by berth size, meaning how many people they are able to comfortably accommodate with designated sleeping areas. Berth size usually comes in 2,4,5,6 and sometimes 8 berth denominations. Each denomination can be laid out in various ways depending on the make and model of the caravan in question. Most caravans are manufactured similarly, the interior styling/ quality and layouts are what can set them apart.

What caravan can my car tow?

As cars and caravans can vary greatly is size and weight, please refer to the website below, which will help you find the perfect match. It is worth mentioning here that choosing a caravan which is too heavy or too light for your car can be unsafe and/or illegal to tow on UK roads.

You can also check the legal restrictions in place depending on when your driving licence was issued…

towing guide2022
The information provided is correct as stated on the DVLA website June 2022. Changes after this time may conflict with information provided above.

Should I buy a New or Used Caravan?

Buying a caravan is a significant investment and depending on how deep your pockets are you can spend anything from £1500 – £100,000. If you are new to the hobby and just getting started, we would always recommend starting at the lower end of this scale. Before you invest all your hard-earned saving, it is worth getting familiar with caravanning to see if you actually like it. Any damaged panels or equipment is easier to accept when the van is older and less costly to repair. It can also be helpful to become familiar with the various DIY fixes that might be required on an older caravan, which will inevitably make you knowledgable about how things are put together and how things work. Towing a caravan for the first time can also be quite daunting, which is only amplified when you have a shiny, brand-new caravan in your rearview mirrors.

What should I check when buying a Used Caravan?

Please feel free to use our handy checklist below when buying a used caravan…

  • Damp – get a damp meter and check every internal wall panel that you can, especially below the windows and under benches. Buy a good quality damp meter and don’t rely on any paperwork or hearsay.
  • Check for cracks or dents around the outside of the caravan.
  • Check floors are solid. Springy floors can indicate damp.
  • Check the windows for cracks or water ingress. Sunroof or ceiling windows are especially expensive to replace, so check for cracks and that they slide open and closed properly.
  • Make sure all the door and window seals are in good order with no splits.
  • Check the all the door locks are working properly, including door hatches to cassette toilet, gas and battery.
  • Ensure all the rubber seals on door lockers are all in good condition with no splits.
  • Check the condition of the tyres. Special attention to cracks in the sidewalls and the age of the tyre are essential. Even old tyres can have good tread on a caravan, so make sure the tyres are less than 6 years old by checking the date on the side.
  • Check underneath the caravan for excessive rust or cracks in the A-frame.
  • Check the brake away cable is attached and functioning properly.
  • Test the hitch mechanism and ensure it works correctly
  • Check the jockey wheel is straight and tyre is undamaged or split.
  • Check all the exterior lights are working including : brake lights, reversing light, indicators, and road lights. If you can’t connect to a car, you can use the device below…
  • Connect the water pump and water barrel and check the 12V is on and water is flowing from the taps. If you are able to connect to 240v check the water heats up after 10-15 minutes.
  • If there is a control panel (newer vans) check for any faults or warning showing on the display.
  • Check all appliances are running on gas supply and oven etc is burning blue. A yellow flame can indicate high carbon monoxide (CO) levels and should isolated immediately.
  • If connected to 240v check electric heating and fridge is working correctly. Also check power points are all working.
  • If there is an alarm system, get the owner to demonstrate it to you.
  • Ask the owner to demonstrate the motor mover working in all directions and look out for any unusual sounds.
  • Check the battery condition using a multi-meter as a new leisure battery can set you £150.

If you are not confident checking all of this on your own, take a friend with you or someone that already owns a caravan. There are also many caravan technicians dotted around the country which will check the caravan for you for a small fee. Checking your caravan thoroughly before committing your hard-earned cash can save you thousands, so take your time and make sure you understand what you are buying.

Need more advice? Why not try our Facebook community…

You can also find caravan essentials, which we recommend checking when before buying a new caravan.

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