What to check 6 month old carvavn

May 30, 2022
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We are looking at buying a 6 month old caravan from a private seller and wondered what we need to check?

As it’s still so new it has the remaining manufacturers warranty and I would think it would be unlikely to have any issues such as water ingress etc…

I’ve read a lot of advice about getting engineers reports, using a damp meter, checking for leaks etc…. but I feel this is more suited to older caravans or am I wrong?

I will do a Cris check but do I really need to do any other checks?

This will be out very first caravan.
 

Parksy

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Nov 12, 2009
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The first thing to check is that the vendor actually owns the caravan, so meet them at their home address and check all paperwork and documents.
Having done that, make sure that there's no outstanding finance owing, is the caravan subject to a hire purchase agreement or any other finance deal?
A caravan bought on hire purchase can't be sold except with the written permission of the finance company.
Is there a valid reason why this caravan is being sold after just 6 months?
Hopefully the vendors are genuine, but if something looks too good to be true, it usually is.
Other than that, check for damp, water ingress and overall condition.
Good luck
 
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Nov 11, 2009
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In addition to Parksys advice make sure everything is demonstrated to be working.

Check externally for any signs of plastic panel cracks. Take some steps to check the roof joints and around front windows. Believe me it does happen. One member here has had the problem in two luxury caravans at a young age and on the second caravan it’s been one heck of a battle to get the dealer/ maker to resolve it. Don’t be embarrassed checking these things because once you take the van you are basically in your own to resolve any issues.

What is the caravan type and what will you be towing it with. If you buy it don’t forget to ensure the noseweight is set for travel. Some caravans empty can be nose heavy and exceed the cars noseweight limit.
 
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Mar 14, 2005
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I hope the seller is genuine, but it's very unusual for a six month old caravan to be on the secondhand market, so do be suspicious and if there is anything about the circumstances that does does not make 100% sense walk away.

Do all your checks before you agree to buy.

For such a large investment its worth engaging a mobile caravan technician to do a pre purchase check over the caravan

If the seller is reluctant to let you do this or to give you any answers or evidence, any thing else, that really is warning sign there's something to hide.

If it turns out the caravan is not genuine, and the real owner collects it, you loose twice, as both the money and the caravan is gone. You'll have no guarantee that you'll get any of your money back.
 
May 30, 2022
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Thanks everyone. The caravan is a Bailey Phoenix (2022) it comes with almost everything such as an awning, solar panel, motor mover etc…. The seller has told me that he’s been away in it a couple of times (mostly local trips but one longer distance holiday) and as a family they have decided that touring is not for them and that they are going to buy a static instead. Genuine? Not sure. I have been phoning around and have lined up a mobile engineer to do a pre-purchase check on it as I figured this would give me a bit more piece of mind but I’m still a little nervous.
Perhaps that’s just how you feel when you buy your first van!
 
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Having the pre purchase check is a good idea. It is highly likely for someone not to like touring with a caravan. Sales over this last two years have been astronomical so there are bound to be people who don’t feel it is for them. With your checks you should be in a good position to make what could be a very good purchase.
 
May 30, 2022
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Thank you. You’ve all been really helpful. Just one last question; can you pay a Bailey dealer to give you a run through of how to work everything on a caravan you have purchased elsewhere?
That was also part of the appeal of buying through a dealer for me but I don’t really want to rely on a seller who’s only had a caravan for 6 months.
We are researching all the time but it’s quite difficult to find complete info for a specific caravan and also frankly it’s really quite overwhelming so we could really do with some who knows what they are talking about to give us a walk through.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Thank you. You’ve all been really helpful. Just one last question; can you pay a Bailey dealer to give you a run through of how to work everything on a caravan you have purchased elsewhere?
That was also part of the appeal of buying through a dealer for me but I don’t really want to rely on a seller who’s only had a caravan for 6 months.
We are researching all the time but it’s quite difficult to find complete info for a specific caravan and also frankly it’s really quite overwhelming so we could really do with some who knows what they are talking about to give us a walk through.
I’m sure the present owner will know most things, there will also be the caravan owners handbook to refer to. But it would be worth a try with a Bailey dealer the other alternative being an AWS technician. It may seem overwhelming but if you take it system by system with the handbook it will fall into place. As well as the Bailey Caravan Manual there will be seperate manuals from the makers of the cooker, fridge, heating, water heater, Alko coupling etc.
 
Last edited:
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Nov 16, 2015
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I’m sure the present owner will know most things, there will also be the caravan owners handbook to refer to. But it would be worth a try with a Bailey dealer the other alternative being an AWS technician. It may seem overwhelming but if you take it system by system with the handbook it will fall into place. As well as the Bailey Caravan Manual there will be seperate manuals from the makers of the cooker, fridge, heating, water heater, Alko coupling etc.
OC, I slightly disagree with you on the previous owner knowing all the ins and outs of operating the caravan, if they are getting rid ( selling it) after 6 months for a static, they are not happy and will probably not know the way to operate the systems. As you know yourself, learning your caravan takes a long time. Going to a dealer would be the best idea, as they will want to keep your custom for servicing.
 
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OC, I slightly disagree with you on the previous owner knowing all the ins and outs of operating the caravan, if they are getting rid ( selling it) after 6 months for a static, they are not happy and will probably not know the way to operate the systems. As you know yourself, learning your caravan takes a long time. Going to a dealer would be the best idea, as they will want to keep your custom for servicing.
I did not exclude going to a dealer, but the present owner may know the systems but could be selling it solely because they find it too restrictive or don’t feel comfortable towing. Any number of reasons but in 6 months it’s not unrealistic to expect them to know how things work. The OP needs also to ensure that the systems are seen to be working. Because once the private purchase is completed there’s no going back on a private sale.
 
Jul 19, 2021
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Pretty much all the info you need can be found on YouTube.
Heating systems are probably the most complicated thing on a caravan and there are plenty of guides online and in owners manuals to get you up and running fairly quickly.
Good luck
 
Jul 18, 2017
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Why is the current owner selling the caravan? Also remember that the biggest issue will be warranty work as probably only the selling dealer will do warranty work. Find out from the current owner where the caravan was bought in case any warranty work is required.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Pretty much all the info you need can be found on YouTube.
Heating systems are probably the most complicated thing on a caravan and there are plenty of guides online and in owners manuals to get you up and running fairly quickly.
Good luck
As well as YouTube the two Clubs have free access to excellent help sheets and there’s the owners club too. As you say the wet heating Alde system seems to generate considerable discussion even amongst experienced caravanners as does the idiosyncrasies of the touch control panels for alarms too.
 
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Why is the current owner selling the caravan? Also remember that the biggest issue will be warranty work as probably only the selling dealer will do warranty work. Find out from the current owner where the caravan was bought in case any warranty work is required.
A valid point. Swift did warranty work at a main dealer in Wiltshire although the caravan was originally supplied by a dealer in Cannock. But it was a major repair to replace a cracked rear panel, which influenced their decision otherwise as you say I would have been trogging northwards.
 

Mel

Mar 17, 2007
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You will need to pay Bailey to get the remainder of the water ingress warranty transferred and, if it the same as Elddis T&Cs, it will reduce from 10 years to 6 years.
I imagine that there will be a number of Pandemic Purchasers who thought Caravanning was exactly for them; until they tried it! Buyer Beware and all that, but the reason for sale may not be as suspicious as it might have been pre pandemic.
mel
 

Sam Vimes

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Sep 7, 2020
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A couple of interesting points raised here....

Warranty repairs - despite the manufacturer of our brand new van saying that any of their dealers could do warranty or service work, only the place we bought it from would do so. Others I approached said no because we hadn't bought it from them. So if the original dealer is a long way away from where you are you have to consider the logistics of getting work done.

Damp - the curse of caravans. Ours was brand new but on its first service damp was found. Since this didn't happen overnight just before the service it must have been happening for a number of weeks. So don't assume that just because its 6 months old its damp free.
 
Jul 18, 2017
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Damp - the curse of caravans. Ours was brand new but on its first service damp was found. Since this didn't happen overnight just before the service it must have been happening for a number of weeks. So don't assume that just because its 6 months old its damp free.
Our Lunar was serviced by the Lunar dealer and when it went in for another problem, the technician found 60% damp around the flush water filler point.
 

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