Buying a used campervan is something almost everyone will do at some point in their life. Some people will buy many. But it can be a stressful experience if you lack confidence in the knowledge of campervans. Any vehicle is a complicated machine. People without mechanical expertise can look at an engine and see nothing but an abstract collection of parts. But although mechanical knowledge is helpful when shopping for a second-hand vehicle, it is not essential, and it is also not a guarantee of making the right choice. Campervan shopping is a bit of a numbers game, but you can improve your odds by having a list and a plan.
- Bring a Friend: The very best way to improve your odds of not getting a lemon is to find someone who has a good knowledge of cars and mechanical details. You can even hire someone to come along with you if you like. It is best to bring someone you can trust, not someone who is likely to make it into performance.
- Get The Vehicle History: What you can’t see when you look at a campervan is all the things that it has gone through in its life. In some cases, the seller will have a detailed history for you. This is an excellent sign, by the way. But at the very least, you should ask who has owned the vehicle before and whether it has had any accidents or major repairs. In the UK, if you have the plate number, you can get the MOT history of the campervan. That is good info to check against what the owner has told you. There is affordable campervan hire in Christchurch if you are planning a NZ holiday.
- Have a Thorough Search: Look at the campervan inside and out, check for leaks, oil on the engine, damaged or uneven bodywork. Check the fluids to see if they are topped up and clean. Try all the lights, the sound system, and whatever features are available on the dash. When that is done, start the vehicle and have someone watch the exhaust for smoke. Please pay attention to how easy it starts.
- Test Drive: Test driving will tell you a lot about the campervan, but not if you only go around the block. Go where you can get up to 100k at least. See if the vehicle runs straight. How are the brakes? How does it corner? Go over some bumps and feel the suspension. All of this should be done within reason of course; the RV isn’t yours yet.
If you don’t see any serious problems by this point, it is time to negotiate. You will do well to know what the value of that make of campervan should be before you show up.