Data Sheet

#6 Choosing a used caravan

#6 #6 Choosing a used caravan
Go to
2: What price to pay

What price to pay

  • Caravan dealers are a good place to start looking at potential caravans, as you will be able to view a good selection. You will also gain an idea of the prices being asked for caravans based on condition, age, size and specification level to help you decide on a budget. Private sellers’ prices tend to be a little hit and miss with some sellers having an inflated opinion of what their pride and joy is worth, but dealers have been known to overprice their units to give room for negotiation, which is why you need to look around first.
  • There should be some sort of price uniformity at dealers because they all use the same book to value a secondhand caravan according to make, model and model year of caravan. However, this is only a guide and the prices assume the caravan is in good condition, so if it’s in poor shape you can expect prices below the guide price. Equally, a barely-used caravan will fetch a premium. Unfortunately the pricing book is only for the trade but a less comprehensive guide is freely available to the consumer on the website with indications of private sale prices. Caravan magazines, such as Caravan Motorhome and Camping Mart, usually carry classified ads and reviews of secondhand caravans so they can be a useful source of information.
  • In general caravan prices are linked to year of manufacture – as with cars – so it is important to be able to identify this date to ensure the caravan really is, for example, a 2001 caravan and not an overpriced 2000 model. See the CRiS panel (page 4) for further information.
  • With a limited budget it is even more important to consider any extra expenditure. If you are new to caravanning there may be a whole host of essentials to buy such as gas cylinders, leisure battery, fresh and waste water carriers, plus security locks – unless they come bundled in with your new purchase.
    Caravan tyres are susceptible to ageing and may need replacing even though the tread is fine

    Caravan tyres are susceptible to ageing and may need replacing even though the tread is fine

  • Less obvious is the cost of hidden extras. Unless the seller can confirm the caravan has had a recent service, it would be wise to budget for a service before taking the family out on the road with your new caravan. Also, consider whether you need new tyres, even if they have more than the legal minimum of tread. Tyres deteriorate with age and lack of use (see image above right) and the recommendation is to replace caravan tyres after seven years from manufacture, further details are available in the Tyre and Tyre Care Data Sheet (15).

Once you have an idea of what you need to pay for your caravan you can consider the options of buying from a dealer or a private seller. Both have their pros and cons.