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Essential Guide to Buying a Used Caravan

Mar 16, 2021 | Stories

Our top tips for buying a used caravan will have you travelling in style for an affordable price tag. 

We hope our top tips for buying a used caravan will have you travelling in style for an affordable price tag. There is no greater holiday than caravanning around Australia.

All you need now is the caravan! While it’s nice to purchase things brand new, it can be a very costly exercise. Why pay more than you need to when there are plenty of good used caravans out there for a fraction of the price? Buying a used caravan is the perfect way to get exactly what you need for your trip, but there are a few things to watch out for.

Check caravan for damp and mould

Moisture in caravans can lead to all sorts of issues from diminishing the structural integrity of a van to health-damaging mould. So it’s important to carefully inspect the van for any signs of leaks.

Check the exterior of the caravan for cracks or scrapes, and the interior for water marks or signs of repair and repainting. If the inside smells musty or of mould, it might be best to steer clear.

You’ll also need to be on the lookout for pleasant smells; if the van is heavily perfumed, the seller could be trying to disguise the odour of cigarettes or mould.

Condensation and colder weather can cause damp in the furniture which leads to damage and mould, so it’s important to check for that too. A moisture or damp meter is a great tool that can detect detrimental levels of damp. It’s a good idea to purchase or hire a damp meter to take with you when you inspect a used caravan.


Test caravan appliances and water system

When inspecting a used caravan, ask for it to be hooked up to power and water so you can see everything working as it should. Ensure any gas bottles, sockets and gauges are in order.

Have a look at the water system to ensure there are no leaks or cracks in the storage tanks, and check that the taps, shower and toilet are working well. Once you’re happy that all the plumbing works well enough to get water in to the van, ensure that the drains are flowing properly to get the water out of the van.


Inspect the underside of the caravan

Ensuring the safety of the caravan should be your number one priority. The underside of the van will give you a good idea of how roadworthy it is.

Pay close attention to how the axle and suspension look. Rust, cracks or a warped appearance are red flags here and could cause weak spots in an area that you really can’t afford to have weak spots.

Take a look at the condition of the underfloor, including any conduits, water tanks and wiring. It’s normal for this area to appear dirty, but leaks, cracks or frayed wires aren’t normal.

It’s not a huge issue if the tyres aren’t in good repair; it could even be an opportunity for you to negotiate a cheaper price. Just ensure you have safe tyres with good tread when it comes to towing it away.


Examine service history

Checking the service history of the mechanics of the van is important to verify its safety. It is especially important to know that the brakes and handbrakes are performing as necessary.

If the seller doesn’t have the service history recorded, it’s not a deal-breaker; just be sure to have a caravan technician inspect the van before you use it. It’s a small price to pay for the peace of mind that comes with knowing you and your family can travel safely in your new van.


Paying for the caravan

Once you’ve found the caravan of your dreams and agreed on a price with the seller, it’s time to complete the purchase and tow it home!

There are three types of payment that are generally accepted; cash, electronic bank transfer, or a bank cheque. If you don’t have the funds available to purchase the van, you could finance it with a Finance One Caravan Loan in as little as 48 hours*.

At the time of payment, don’t forget to exchange paperwork for the transfer of registration — this is the final piece of the puzzle to buying a used caravan.

If all goes to plan, congratulations! You are now the proud owner of your very own caravan.


*Approvals subject to sufficient documentation being received to assess the application. Normal lending criteria apply.


Disclaimer: The information above is of a general nature only and does not consider your personal objectives, financial situation or particular needs. You should consider seeking independent legal, financial, taxation or other advice to check how the information relates to your particular circumstances.  We do not accept responsibility for any loss arising from the use of, or reliance on, the information.


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Makala Elliott

Makala is the Marketing Manager at Finance One. She has worked in the Finance and Lending industry for over 10 years, gathering a wealth of experience. She is passionate about helping Australians get back on track with their finances by passing on her knowledge.

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