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Thinking About Buying A Used Campervan? Check Our Buyers Guide First.

Updated: Mar 30, 2023

When buying a second-hand campervan, there are several potential problems to look out for. Here are some key areas to check:

buying a used campervan

Remember, if you are not experienced with inspecting vehicles, it's a good idea to bring a professional mechanic with you to help you identify any potential problems.


Mechanical condition: Check the engine, transmission, brakes, steering, and suspension to ensure they are in good working order. If you're not familiar with mechanics, consider bringing a mechanic along with you to inspect the vehicle.


Body condition: Look for signs of rust, dents, and scratches on the bodywork. Check the seals around doors and windows for signs of wear or water ingress.


Electrical system: Check that all the lights, indicators, and other electrical systems are working properly. Look for any signs of frayed or damaged wiring.


Water system: If the campervan has a water system, check for leaks, corrosion, and signs of mold or mildew.


Gas system: If the campervan has a gas system for cooking or heating, check that it is in good working order and that all the fittings and hoses are secure.


Interior condition: Check for signs of wear and tear, including upholstery, curtains, and flooring. Look for signs of dampness or water damage.


Mileage: Check the mileage of the campervan and compare it to the age of the vehicle. A high mileage may indicate that the campervan has been heavily used and may need more maintenance.


Service history: Check the service history of the campervan to ensure that it has been regularly maintained and serviced.


Ownership history: Check the ownership history of the campervan to ensure that it has not been stolen or involved in any accidents.


Legal documents: Check that all legal documents, including registration papers, tax, and insurance, are in order.


Leaks: Check for any signs of water leaks inside the campervan, especially around the roof, windows, and doors. Water leaks can lead to dampness and mold, which can be difficult and expensive to repair.


Rust: Check for any signs of rust, especially around the wheel arches, doors, and under the chassis. Rust can weaken the structure of the campervan and can be costly to repair.


Corrosion: Check for any signs of corrosion on the electrical components, gas system, and water system. Corrosion can lead to system failures and can be expensive to repair.


Tires: Check the condition of the tires, including the tread depth and any signs of damage. Worn or damaged tires can be dangerous and should be replaced before driving the campervan.

Brakes: Test the brakes to ensure they are working properly. Brakes that are worn or not functioning correctly can be dangerous and expensive to repair.


Heating and cooling systems: Check the heating and cooling systems to ensure they are working properly. Malfunctioning heating and cooling systems can be uncomfortable and costly to repair.


Appliances: If the campervan has appliances such as a refrigerator or stove, check that they are in good working order. Malfunctioning appliances can be expensive to repair or replace.


Security: Check that the campervan has secure locks and that the security system is working properly. Campervans can be targets for theft, so it's important to ensure that the vehicle is secure.


Suspension: Check the suspension system for wear or damage. This can affect the ride comfort and handling of the vehicle.


Battery: Check the condition of the battery and ensure it is holding a charge. A dead battery can be a common problem with campervans that are not used regularly.


Exhaust system: Check for any signs of damage or corrosion in the exhaust system. This can affect the vehicle's emissions and can be expensive to repair.


Smoke and fumes: When test driving the campervan, check for any unusual smoke or fumes coming from the engine or exhaust. This can indicate a problem with the engine or exhaust system.


Documentation: Ensure that all the documentation, including the logbook, service history, and MOT certificate, are up-to-date and accurate. This can help to verify the vehicle's history and condition.


Roadworthiness: Check that the vehicle is roadworthy and legal to drive. This includes checking the vehicle's registration, insurance, and tax.


Accessibility: Check that all the equipment and facilities are accessible and in good working order. This includes the water system, gas system, and electrical system.


Size and weight: Check that the campervan is suitable for your needs, including its size and weight. Ensure that it can be safely driven and parked on the roads and campsites you plan to visit.


By thoroughly inspecting these areas, you can ensure that you are making an informed decision when buying a second-hand campervan and avoid potential problems down the road.

Take The Campervan For A Test Drive.

Taking the campervan for a test drive is an important part of the buying process. A test drive will allow you to get a feel for the vehicle and to identify any potential problems with the engine, suspension, brakes, and steering. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your test drive:


Start the engine and listen for any unusual noises. Check that the engine runs smoothly and that there are no warning lights on the dashboard.


Test the brakes to ensure they are working properly. The brakes should feel firm and responsive, and the vehicle should come to a stop smoothly.


Test the steering to ensure it is responsive and that there is no play in the steering wheel.


Test the suspension to ensure that it is comfortable and that there are no unusual noises or vibrations.


Test the gear shift to ensure that it is smooth and easy to operate.


Test the heating and cooling systems to ensure that they are working properly.


Test the electric and gas appliances if they are available.


Drive on different types of roads, including highways, country roads, and urban streets, to get a feel for the vehicle's handling and performance.


Check the mirrors, lights, and windshield wipers to ensure they are working properly.


Take your time during the test drive and don't be afraid to ask questions.


Remember to bring a valid driver's license and proof of insurance with you when you take the campervan for a test drive. If possible, it's a good idea to take the test drive for a longer period of time to allow you to fully test the vehicle.

Here are some tips to help you negotiate the price when buying a used campervan in the UK:


Do your research: Before negotiating the price, research the market value of the specific make and model of the campervan you're interested in buying. This will give you an idea of what a fair price would be.


Point out any flaws: Take a careful look at the campervan and point out any flaws or issues it may have. This can be used as leverage to negotiate a lower price.


Use the power of cash: If you have cash to pay for the campervan, use this as leverage in your negotiation. Sellers are often more willing to accept a lower price if they know they will receive cash on the spot.


Be prepared to walk away: If the seller isn't willing to budge on the price, be prepared to walk away. This may prompt them to reconsider their offer and come back with a better price.


Negotiate additional items: Instead of focusing solely on the price of the campervan, try negotiating additional items such as a warranty, a full tank of petrol, or any accessories that the seller may have.


Stay calm and respectful: It's important to stay calm and respectful throughout the negotiation process. Being aggressive or confrontational can harm your chances of getting a good deal.

Remember, the key to successful negotiation is to find a mutually beneficial agreement that works for both parties. Good luck!


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