Points to consider when buying

Mar 14, 2005
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I thought it might be useful for people considering buying a van for the first time to have a list of pointers to consider.

I'd never been inside a touring caravan until I bought mine last year so my requirements developed as I went around the dealers.

Based on what I bought then and what I've read since my list would be:-

1) Need to know your Weights and sizes. (No point having a caravan you can't tow)

What's the max tow weight for your car based on the 85% guide?

What's the max nose weight for your car?

Do you have a maximum length restriction due to storage location?

2) The subject of layouts incorporates a number of decisions

Minimum number of berths (unless somebody wants to sleep on the floor)

Size of berths required i.e. consider max weight for bunk beds

Bathroom requirements - large or small, shower cubical, changing area, etc

Seperate rooms, i.e. fixed bedroom, sliding doors or curtains required ?

3) Budget

May have to get an older caravan to get one that meets your requirements from 1 and 2

May be able to move up the range for improved trim if you've got the budget for it

4) Manufacturer preference

If a van meets all your requirements would you rule it out based on who makes it ?

5) Dealer

Have you got a dealer/service centre near you that will service your make/model of van ?

Any thoughts, have I missed anything, etc ?
Mar 14, 2005
There is a lot more to watch for if you're buying a used caravan (there's a very useful thread on the subject of buying used further down the index list).

Regarding the advice given on the subject of weights, don't forget that if the maximum permissible towload of the car is less than 85%, then that is what determines what you may tow and not the 85% guideline. Another thing to watch for is the available payload. If you're one of these people who likes to take everything but the kitchen sink with you on holiday, you may be in for a bad surprise with some caravans. As a rule of thumb, the permissible payload should be well over 200kg, preferably at least 250kg, if you want to cover the needs of a family of 4.


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