For many Australians, the ultimate retirement dream is to venture off into the world in a caravan to enjoy many years of well-earned relaxation and even some adventure. For others owning a caravan comes with the freedom to do what they want when they want and enjoy the outdoors in luxury.

Buying a caravan is a major lifestyle choice that involves searching for and ultimately buying the right caravan for your budget and needs. If you have settled on purchasing a previously owned caravan it can still cost a lot of money which is why it is essential to approach the seller with a list of very important questions.

Has the Caravan been in an Accident?

This question should be at the top of your list as there may be damage that cannot be detected at first glance. If it has, ask to see the accident report and any repair notes by the mechanic to check if there were any major modifications or adjustments made. This may influence your decision to buy.

What is the History of the Van?

Find out as much as possible about the history of the van. Check the maintenance record to find out how well it has been maintained and ask for the registration history. Ask where it has been stored and whether it has been exposed to harsh weather conditions which could cause rust issues. You should perform a thorough check inside and out for rust and mould, check the doors, windows, tyres, and take a close look at the electric and gas system. It is a good idea to take along a caravan owner who will know exactly what to look for and a mechanic to give it a thorough going over. Get all the registration details to check that the van has not been stolen.

Has the Van been used Off-Road?

If you will be taking your caravan off the beaten track, find out if it has been used off-road and if you can ask the previous owner how well it handled when shaken up on rough roads.

Financing

If you are not buying outright, ask the dealer if they have financing available with comfortable monthly payments to suit your budget. If not, you will have to approach a finance company or a bank.

What is the Availability of Spare Parts?

If the model you are considering is an older model, ask the dealer if you can get spare parts to avoid frustrations when repairs are necessary for the future. In any case, do your own research, even if the model is quite new.

Ask about Guarantees

Some dealers may offer a limited and short warranty that covers mechanical breakdowns, usually about one to three months, while others will not. If there is a warranty you may be able to have it extended for a fee.

Any Extra Features?

Find out if the van has any extra features such as electronic stability control. Caravans are known to swing in certain situations which could cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle towing it. Electronic stability control is a bonus that will ensure extra safety in the event of a critical road situation.

Ask the Dealer for Additional Advice

Often a sales representative’s knowledge of the industry can be invaluable, especially when you there are several models to choose from. Ask for advice on the best solution for your particular needs and what model they would recommend.