Age?

Jul 18, 2020
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On the search for a new to us second hand caravan, can't afford new.

My question is at what age should I be comfortable looking at, how old is starting to take on too much risk?
As a general rule I have noticed pre 2010 vans are in four figures and post 2010 vans five figures.
Maybe a second question is what kind of money would secure a good van, or is that you get what you pay for?
 
Nov 11, 2009
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On the search for a new to us second hand caravan, can't afford new.

My question is at what age should I be comfortable looking at, how old is starting to take on too much risk?
As a general rule I have noticed pre 2010 vans are in four figures and post 2010 vans five figures.
Maybe a second question is what kind of money would secure a good van, or is that you get what you pay for?

Many older caravans will have been looked after by experienced owners, as will newer ones. but your question is quite open ended in that you dont say what weight you can tow with your licence (B or BE), nor what your car can tow. How many berths, do you have any restrictions on length where the caravan is stored and most important what is your budget? There can be no guaranteed that any money will secure good caravan. Like cars there will be gems out there and there will be lemons in all price ranges.

I would recommend that you refine your search criteria a bit more and narrow down your requirements and budget, then look at sites such as Autotrader and CaravanFinder to see what is out there that might get your needs. Then go and visit some dealers to actually get a feel for what the caravans are like in reality. As you are inexperienced I would recommend buying from a dealer in preference to a private purchase as you have more rights under consumer law should things go topsy turvy. Only buy private if you have a knowledgeable person with you.

i have just come back from a trip and the neighbours on the next pitch had just bought Bailey Pegasus from a couple who where giving up. they got everything right down to knifes and forks, and the Seller had even had it serviced and any faults fixed. But they had done their research and took an experienced friend along with them. It was a real beauty.
 

Mel

Mar 17, 2007
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Condition is more important than age. Look at vans in a range of age within your requirements and budget. Don't discount purely on age. Watch out for Damp!
mel
 
Jul 18, 2020
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Thanks Clive. You refer to "older" caravans, whay would you consider an old van?

Looking for anything bar a two berth. Storage not a problem, for towing I am BE and have a 4.6 V8 Range Rover.
Not quite set on layout yet, side dinette, u shaped side dinette, front and rear dinette all in the runing, no fixed beds.
Budget not decided but I am a Jock so looking for good value.
I think I am trying to balance mid 2000's at a few £k or getting to 2014 ish and £15k.
It is quite a gulf.
 
Jul 18, 2020
20
5
15
Condition is more important than age. Look at vans in a range of age within your requirements and budget. Don't discount purely on age. Watch out for Damp!
mel
Yep, got the damp message from reading around. I thin if it was a car or motorbike I would be okay, whole new field this.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Sometime post 2005 as in that year Bailey introduces the Series 5 ( ours was good) which had an improved build. Followed by Series 6 and 7. Then around 2009-10 Bailey introduced Alu Tech construction. By 2013 Swift introduced their improved SMART construction and then progressively Eldiss came along too. The more modern vans circa 2013/14 onwards reduced the amount of wood in the construction and used less permeable materials. So if damp occurred through water ingress it would do less damage.

Wherever you buy from look for a good service history with service sheets/ invoices and a recent damp test report. For around £50 you can have one done independently for assurance. Check tyres are they a recognised brand. If over five years they should be replaced even though they will probably have lots if tread. Caravan tyres age differently to cars.
 
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Damian

Moderator
Mar 14, 2005
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Whatever van you may decide to go for, if you have very limited knowledge of caravans then it is very worthwhile to get a AWS registered engineer to give it a pre purchase inspection.

Yes it will cost a bit but may save you from a complete nightmare and the loss of a lot of money.
 
Jan 3, 2012
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Also look in Preloved or Gumtree we brought our present caravan a 2008 Abbey Gts 215 Touring Caravan private deal . it got service history dating from new back to Couplands Caravans Ltd Louth . we had to do some work on her but looks better now ,
 
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May 7, 2012
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There is no right age to start at. Like buying a car condition is all important and age, although it does govern the price, is secondary. As with cars the older they get the more likely it is to go wrong, but there are newer ones with problems, and older ones without.
With any second hand caravan damp is the main potential problem, any purchase does need a recent damp test by a qualified person. If you do not find one then either do one yourself if you feel able or walk away. There is always some moisture to be recorded but stay clear if it exceeds 15%.
For newcomers a good dealer is a far better bet than private sales. They will hopefully have serviced it and give you some guarantee, plus if there is a problem your legal rights are far better. You should also get a deal on the kit you need if you ask.
I am afraid these forums have seen a number of people who took private sellers at their word or lesser dealer word on condition and have ended up with serious problems. If you know someone who knows about caravans take them with you.
 
Jul 18, 2020
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Thanks Ray, I think we need to get in to some of the vans we like the layout of but I am not overly keen on long travel with covid on the go.
 
Nov 6, 2005
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Thanks Ray, I think we need to get in to some of the vans we like the layout of but I am not overly keen on long travel with covid on the go.
Get round local dealers and sit in as many different layouts as you can - imagine yourselves at all times of day/night to see which you like - THEN - when you know what layout you like, go looking for one to actually buy
 
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Nov 16, 2015
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When we were looking for our first van, lots of sitting in vans, standing at cookers trying to pass, sod those vans with showers in the toilets, I do not like them. I do not use Site showers I find them horrible , wet floors, carrying towels and stuff. Much prefer to use our caravan full facilities
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Thanks Ray, I think we need to get in to some of the vans we like the layout of but I am not overly keen on long travel with covid on the go.
There really is no substitute for visiting actual caravans, layout in catalogues may show you where things are, but they don't show you things like the edge of the table that always gets you when you need to slide into the seat for a meal, or the overhead locker that tries to knock you out when you sit up in the morning,

I am pleased you're taking C19 seriously, unfortunately I fear that some people still don't, and they are putting vulnerable people at risk. So I suggest to you that perhaps delaying your real searches until you are satisfied the risk is justified.

Because you have Cat BE on your licence, and a very capable tow vehicle, the car is not going to limit the size of or weight of caravan you could use. This means your major priority is going to be layout.

Take your time to consider the pro' and cons of different layouts. By all means consider what others opinions and points are about what works, that may be useful to you, but it's what 'll work for you that counts. When you feel it is safe to do so, go and look at some.

I agree with lady Mel that condition is more important than age. However inevitably as caravans age they do tend to deteriorate sometimes just through ageing, and of course they may have been used more. An incomplete service history might suggest a previous owner has not looked after the caravan.

Otherclive has made a very valid point about the materials used in the construction of caravans. I would suggest you look for newer one (less than 10 years old) with a low wood content in the wall construction. It doesn't mean they won't leak, but the ensuing damage may be easier to repair if it happens.

Sadly for a novice caravanner (and even some well experienced ones as well) there are some pitfalls to buying a caravan, and especially secondhand ones. create a list of specific questions you want to ask about the caravan. Make the open questions so the responses have to be full and informative. if any of the answers are unclear or unsatisfactory you should be suspicious.

So don't agree to purchase a caravan without having the caravan professionally and independently inspected. If the seller refuses to allow you to do this - walk away. If the inspection turns up something that seems iffy about Its condition, and you cant resolve the detail - walk away.

An inspection is generally money well spent as it can point out issues that you simply aren't experienced enough to know about. It might give some leverage to negotiate a keener price.

When paying for the caravan, pay a deposit of at least £100 using a credit card (not debit) as this will mean you get some additional protection through the Consumer Credit Act. Also you might find reading up about the Consumer Rights Act 2015 which also spells out what you should expect a seller to be responsible for.

Don't rush.
 
Last edited:
Nov 6, 2005
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There really is no substitute for visiting actual caravans, layout in catalogues may show you where things are, but they don't show you things like the edge of the table that always gets you when you need to slide into the seat for a meal, or the overhead locker that tries to knock you out when you sit up in the morning,

I am pleased you're taking C19 seriously, unfortunately I fear that some people still don't, and they are putting vulnerable people at risk. So I suggest to you that perhaps delaying your real searches until you are satisfied the risk is justified.

Because you have Cat BE on your licence, and a very capable tow vehicle, the car is not going to limit the size of or weight of caravan you could use. This means your major priority is going to be layout.

Take your time to consider the pro' and cons of different layouts. By all means consider what others opinions and points are about what works, that may be useful to you, but it's what 'll work for you that counts. When you feel it is safe to do so, go and look at some.

I agree with lady Mel that condition is more important than age. However inevitably as caravans age they do tend to deteriorate sometimes just through ageing, and of course they may have been used more. An incomplete service history might suggest a previous owner has not looked after the caravan.

Otherclive has made a very valid point about the materials used in the construction of caravans. I would suggest you look for newer one (less than 10 years old) with a low wood content in the wall construction. It doesn't mean they won't leak, but the ensuing damage may be easier to repair if it happens.

Sadly for a novice caravanner (and even some well experienced ones as well) there are some pitfalls to buying a caravan, and especially secondhand ones. create a list of specific questions you want to ask about the caravan. Make the open questions so the responses have to be full and informative. if any of the answers are unclear or unsatisfactory you should be suspicious.

So don't agree to purchase a caravan without having the caravan professionally and independently inspected. If the seller refuses to allow you to do this - walk away. If the inspection turns up something that seems iffy about Its condition, and you cant resolve the detail - walk away.

An inspection is generally money well spent as it can point out issues that you simply aren't experienced enough to know about. It might give some leverage to negotiate a keener price.

When paying for the caravan, pay a deposit of at least £100 using a credit card (not debit) as this will mean you get some additional protection through the Consumer Credit Act. Also you might find reading up about the Consumer Rights Act 2015 which also spells out what you should expect a seller to be responsible for.

Don't rush.
Be aware that some dealers won't accept deposits, or full payment, on a credit card only on a debit card or bank transfer - primarily because they pay a higher rate of commission but also to reduce their future liability. It's your call whether to deal with them or not.
 
Oct 17, 2008
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I would suggest you don't spend too much on your first van. Without experience, you don't know what layout you want until you live in it. It is more than likely that, whatever you buy, you will change after a year or so having decided what you like and dislike.
Best of luck and welcome.
Cliff
 
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Mar 14, 2005
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Be aware that some dealers won't accept deposits, or full payment, on a credit card only on a debit card or bank transfer - primarily because they pay a higher rate of commission but also to reduce their future liability. It's your call whether to deal with them or not.
I'm not disputing your point about some dealers not accepting credit cards, all I can say is I have never encountered it, But if I was in that position, I would be inclined to let the deal go, becasue their policy is denying a customer the right to additional protection.

In a non caravanning context I have heard of some retailers who insist on a minimum spend or trying put a surcharge on customers who try to use a credit card, But I have feeling that has been outlawed but I'm not certain.
 
Nov 6, 2005
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I'm not disputing your point about some dealers not accepting credit cards, all I can say is I have never encountered it, But if I was in that position, I would be inclined to let the deal go, becasue their policy is denying a customer the right to additional protection.

In a non caravanning context I have heard of some retailers who insist on a minimum spend or trying put a surcharge on customers who try to use a credit card, But I have feeling that has been outlawed but I'm not certain.
Surcharges for credit cards are illegal now but there's no obligation for a trader to accept them - our present Lunar was bought from a dealer in Derby, now closed down, who wouldn't accept credit cards for sales but would for servicing - and I've come across car dealers who do the same.
 
Jul 18, 2020
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Thanks all, some very helpful tips and guidance.
We do have a small van, sterling eccles jade 2 berth, my2000, i think.
It is the good ladies van, she bought it before we were married. I hapoen to dislike it with a passion as I find it just too small and can't get comfy in it so I think I have probably spent one weekend in ten years in it.
I am probably being harsh on it as it was our catering base for when we were getting our kitchen extension done but that was just in the back garden so bearable for the time needed.This is likely to be my purchase so I wil take my time and we will get into a few but we are needing to travel up to 100 miles or more to get to look at a few differnt layouts and makes.
Rightly or wrongly we do seem to have set a few criteria already based on the Jade and our friends 2004 Bailey Ranger 505, although anything may come back into the running on viewing.
They are in no paricular order;
  1. 3/4 berth as a minimum.
  2. End washroom seperate shower.
  3. side dinette, possibly u-shaped.
  4. Sink not adjacent to front seating.
I thknk those are our basics then we work on the additional critetia/options of heating systems, microwave, storage, furnishings etc., that my sway us from one van to another.
 
May 7, 2012
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We have always paid the deposit by credit card for the extra protection it offers and never had any problem. Not accepting them may be a sign that they have problems so beware. If credit card companies think there is a problem they may delay payments to protect them selves.
 
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Nov 11, 2009
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Thanks all, some very helpful tips and guidance.
We do have a small van, sterling eccles jade 2 berth, my2000, i think.
It is the good ladies van, she bought it before we were married. I hapoen to dislike it with a passion as I find it just too small and can't get comfy in it so I think I have probably spent one weekend in ten years in it.
I am probably being harsh on it as it was our catering base for when we were getting our kitchen extension done but that was just in the back garden so bearable for the time needed.This is likely to be my purchase so I wil take my time and we will get into a few but we are needing to travel up to 100 miles or more to get to look at a few differnt layouts and makes.
Rightly or wrongly we do seem to have set a few criteria already based on the Jade and our friends 2004 Bailey Ranger 505, although anything may come back into the running on viewing.
They are in no paricular order;
  1. 3/4 berth as a minimum.
  2. End washroom seperate shower.
  3. side dinette, possibly u-shaped.
  4. Sink not adjacent to front seating.
I thknk those are our basics then we work on the additional critetia/options of heating systems, microwave, storage, furnishings etc., that my sway us from one van to another.
Challenger sport 524 I think? Or slightly more upmarket Eccles
 
Jul 18, 2020
20
5
15
Challenger sport 524 I think? Or slightly more upmarket Eccles
Yep, seems to be cropping up when I search. The 544 had been in the running but I think we are slightly off the u-shaped dinette now and a fairly narrow age range.
What would the equivalent Eccles model be?
 
Jul 18, 2020
20
5
15
Sterling eccles moonstone 4 berth might suit you have a look on ..Caravanfinder
Thank you. Been on for a mooch. There seems to be a few labelled 530 from various brands that are in the layout we think we want.
Will look that one up.
 
Jul 18, 2020
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I had indeed looked at a moonstone online last night at tees valley caravans. They also have a challenger 530 and challenger sport 524, so three posdibilitiies under the one roof so to speak.
98 ish miles away and a four hour round trip.:unsure:
 

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