Buying a caravan

Buying a caravan is a big deal! So, how do you decide which one is right for you? And what are the things you need to remember when you’re buying?

In this helpful guide, we’ll run through some of the things that caravan buyers tell us they wish they’d thought about before signing on the dotted line.

Choosing a Caravan

Here’s some caravan buying advice to help you get it right:

  • Check your car’s towing capacity
  • Make sure the caravan suits your needs
  • Do your research on value and condition
  • Try before you buy if possible
  • Choose the best financial option
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1. Size Matters When You’re Towing

It’s amazing how often buyers fail to match the capacity of their car to the size and weight of the touring caravan they’d like to buy. We all want to get the most bang for our buck—but you need to be sure that the vehicle you’re going to use for towing can handle the weight of your caravan. 

To check this, there are two important numbers you need to know. The first is your car's kerbweight and the second is the caravan's maximum technically permissible laden mass, also known as MTPLM.

A car can usually tow a caravan if its mass is 85% or less of the kerbweight of the car. This is providing the weight of the caravan is less than the weight of the car’s “Max towing weight as stated by the car manufacturer which is a legal requirement. It may also be legal to tow above the 85% ratio, but this needs checking. If you’re not sure, you can find the weight limits for your car and the caravan on the manufacturer’s plate or in the handbook.

Government Guidelines on Weight Limits

In the UK, there are also certain rules about towing a caravan that you will need to know. 

New Rules for Towing a Caravan

2. Buy a Caravan That Suits Your Needs

Buying an expensive model with all the latest gadgets is not always the right choice for your lifestyle or your pocket. 

When you’re thinking about which caravan to buy, you need to find one that fits your way of life, as well as your travel plans and your budget. Think about your needs. 

Do you want extra seating? If so, how many seats do you need? How many of you will normally be staying in the caravan? And how long for? How much luggage are you likely to take on a trip, especially if there are children involved? 

Test the layout of the caravan to see if the living and sleeping areas are suitable, and do the same with the bathroom, kitchen and storage.

Does the caravan have to fit into your garage or driveway? If so, you’ll need to check the dimensions carefully. 

Thinking about all these things before making your purchase is better than suffering buyer’s regret later!

10 Popular Touring Caravan Layouts

3. Do Your Research Thoroughly

If you have plenty of cash to spare, feel free to splash it on a brand-new model that ticks all your boxes. 

If you’re on a budget, or not sure how often you’re going to use a caravan, it makes sense to purchase a used model. Whichever option you choose, you’ll probably be pleasantly surprised by how well caravans retain their value over time.

If the caravan is pre-owned, always look for leaks and water damage. A leak can be a serious issue, and it's not something you want to discover on your first trip away! Check around doors and windows, especially where they meet the bodywork, as well as above cupboards and storage areas. 

If there are any marks on the floors or carpets, it could indicate that there’s been a leak in the past. 

Don't hesitate to ask for proof of repair before you buy. You could also get someone else who knows about caravans to take a look at it and give you some caravan buying advice.

Look out for cosmetic damage too. Even if everything looks fine and works perfectly, there’s a possibility that the caravan may have undergone several repairs. 

Ask the seller for the service and repair history and check them properly before you decide whether to go ahead.

4. Always Try Before You Buy 

Caravans offer a unique lifestyle experience, and it's a significant commitment to purchase one. If you're new to the caravan world, considering renting one first could be a wise move. 

This would allow you to familiarize yourself with towing and living in such a space, ensuring it aligns with your preferences and lifestyle. 

While there's a variety of caravans available for rent, it's a good idea to check with the dealer regarding availability, as renting the exact model you're interested in might not always be possible. 

Testing out the caravan lifestyle before committing can be invaluable in ensuring you make the right choice.

5. Choose the Best Financial Option

Buying a caravan can be an exciting and rewarding experience. But with so many financial options available, it can be hard to know what’s best. All too often, caravan buyers use up their budget when they could have accessed affordable finance instead. There are lots of competitive finance packages available that can be tailored to suit your needs and budget perfectly. 

Whether you’re looking for a low-cost used model or something a bit more luxurious, there are affordable options that can help you spread the cost and make your dream purchase a reality.

Give Us a Call to Learn More

Whether you’re buying a new or used caravan, our friendly team is here to help and guide you every step of the way. We’ll work with you to find the caravan of your dreams without breaking the bank.

Give us a call on 01743 282 400 today!