If you are looking to invest in future family holidays that are fun, active, hassle-free and affordable; buying a used leisure vehicle is a fantastic way to start off slow and build up.
It’s not just cheaper but used vehicles don't depreciate in value as quickly as buying brand new. Motorhomes, in particular also hold their value very well so you can find some good financing deals to help with your purchase.
There are other advantages to buying used in terms of being less inclined to worry about wear and tear that your vehicle will inevitably suffer - especially pertinent if you have young children or pets or live muddy & messy pursuits like mountain-biking or surfing.
You can find lots of vehicles for sale at dealers, online or at auctions - but whichever method you use make sure you've done your research first and also ask the right questions before finalising the deal.
AWS Pre-Owned Pre-Purchase Inspections
The aim of the AWS Pre-owned Pre-purchase Inspections is to provide potential buyers with a detailed report on the visual and/or operational condition of the caravan or motorhome they are looking to purchase before they commit to buy.
Whilst the inspections will predominately cover just the safety critical elements of a caravan or motorhome it will also cover other important areas such as damp testing or the operation of a caravan-mover which is often a deciding factor when purchasing. Pre-owned Pre-purchase Inspections are aimed at both trade and private sales of pre-owned caravans and motorhomes and is not intended to replace a full service.
Pre-owned Pre-purchase inspections from AWS can help identify any hidden problems you may not be aware of before you buy which could, if undetected, lead to costly repairs.
The Approved workshop Scheme (AWS) is a joint enterprise between the NCC (National Caravan Council), The Caravan & Motorhome Club and The Camping and Caravanning Club and seen as the benchmark for Touring Caravan and Motorhome Habitation servicing in the UK. Supported by all of the UK’s major manufacturers, ‘approved’ workshops are able to carry out habitation servicing during the manufacturers warranty periods without invalidating them.
All workshops are annually assessed by a team of independent assessors to ensure they are qualified to the correct standards, have the relevant insurances, calibrated tools and equipment and professional customer practices. With over 470 members nationwide comprising of both fixed and mobile workshops there is sure to one local to you.
For a full list of participating workshops please visit the ‘Find an Approved Workshop’ page and select the radio button labelled ‘Pre-owned Pre-purchase Inspections’ where a full list of participating workshops will be displayed.
KEEP A SHARP EYE & AN OPEN MIND
- CRiS Check
- If you are buying a touring caravan it is important to conduct a "CRiS Check" to ensure that you are buying from the registered keeper, that it has not been 'written off' by an insurance company and that it is finance free.
- Match your caravan to your car
Use TowCheck to make sure that the combination is suitably matched in relation to the relevant weights. The rules on what you can tow depend on certain weight ratios and are different depending on when you passed your driving test.TowCheck helps to ensure that a given combination is safe and legal, giving you and your family peace of mind before making an investment.
- Research the market place
Compare prices between advertisements and your local dealer.
- Buy from a reputable source
- Buying from a caravan dealership will ensure you're protected by the Consumer Rights Act. Ideally, buy from an NCC Approved dealer. The NCC Approved badge is the sign that when the vehicle was built, it complied with all relevant European and UK health and safety standards, industry Codes of Practice and UK regulations.
- See the light
If you don't buy from a dealer, make sure you view the vehicle in good daylight and don’t go alone. Meet at the seller’s house and not at a service station, pub or lay-by.
- Request all documentation
Ask to see the service history and CRiS registration document (if applicable).
- Check the seller’s details
Make sure the owner is who he says he is. Contact CRiS with a description of the make and model of the tourer and the owner’s details to be checked against the information on the CRiS database.
- Check the locks
Inspect all door and window locks for signs of force or replacement. This may mean the caravan has been stolen and look carefully at the CRiS window markings for signs of alteration or removal.
Finally, don’t forget to budget for insurance and routine maintenance. You can find Approved Workshops here.
WHEN SHOULD I BUY?
The dead period for sales can be around Christmas and the New Year and a perfect time to grab a bargain.
And remember take your time to decide. Buying a caravan or motorhome is a substantial investment, so don’t rush things, Take the time to find the right outfit and it will reward you with years of trouble-free touring.