7 crucial questions you must answer before buying a caravan
These handy hints can help you hit the road with absolute faith in your home on wheels.
Whether you’re buying a TV, a house, or a caravan, there are always questions you need to ask and answer before you purchase.
If these questions go unanswered, it can lead to problems, regrets, and inconveniences. Worse yet, it could be very costly.
To help you avoid any of this, we engaged the experts at New Age Caravans in Newcastle, who put forward a handful of key questions to consider when you’re looking to invest.
You want to be comfortable with your purchase.
1. What is your budget?
While being fixated by an exact amount can have its drawbacks, it helps to have a ballpark figure of how much you wish to spend on a van. This allows you to easily:
Understand the difference between essentials and luxuries.
Narrow your search to find your preferred caravan.
We also recommend considering more than just the upfront purchase price. The resale value of the vehicle is an important consideration down the track when it comes time to sell or trade in your caravan.
It helps to quickly identify the difference between needs and wants.
2. Where are you going, and who is coming along?
Think about the intended use of your caravan and the number of people in your travelling party, as this will quickly help you find the model that’s right for you.
How many berths do you need? Does the van need bunks to accommodate all travellers? Answering these questions will help determine the size of your caravan.
Are you sticking to the tarmac or likely hitting dirt roads? If the answer is the latter, perhaps you should consider a van with independent suspension.
Considering the size of your travelling party will go a long way to helping find the best van for you.
3. What is the quality of the caravan you are looking at?
We suggest doing research to determine how reputable your chosen manufacturer is. There is plenty of information available online, including reviews and forums.
Many promises are made at point-of-sale, but can the manufacturer deliver on them? Sometimes, it’s worth following the advice of the cliché: If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.
4. How long is the warranty period?
Your desired caravan might be bright and shiny now, but you will thank yourself later if take a peek at the imaginary road ahead, in case things go wrong. And one question leads to a few more!
Is the warranty offered directly from the manufacturer, or is it an insurance-type guarantee? How helpful is the manufacturer likely to be at claim time? Do they provide roadside assistance?
Dig deeper: Doing further research and/or probing the salesperson for answers often provides clarity.
If you’re second-guessing the reliability of your manufacturer, that’s never a good sign. And if the manufacturer doesn’t have complete faith in their product, then why should you?
It pays to know as much about your caravan's warranty as possible.
5. What are the service costs?
This is a very important question, as service costs can be extreme and deter owners from regular servicing. And irregular servicing can create bigger, more costly issues. We’ve seen and heard about some terrible situations!
We advise choosing a manufacturer that offers affordable, fixed-price options so you know in advance how deep you could be digging into your pockets.
Regular servicing is essential to maximising the lifespan of your van.
6. Does the brand have a national repair network?
Whether you’re planning on doing the Big Lap or simply clocking up a few hundred kilometres in your own state, you want assurance that you can quickly and easily get help if trouble arises. And more than that, you want assistance without it costing you a fortune.
Your manufacturer should be able to easily provide you with info about its national repair network and give you peace of mind.
If trouble arises, clearly you want help as quickly and easily as possible.
7. What are the weight limits of your tow vehicle?
Caravans are just one component of a duo. And you need both parts to complement each other in order to operate properly. Gross combined mass or GCM (the combined weight of the caravan and car) and the towing capacity are important factors, yet sometimes are not understood, or ignored.
It’s vital that you comply with these weights from both a legal viewpoint as well as a safety one. Again, your manufacturer should be able to assist you with any queries about this.
The weighting game: Understanding this is vital.