Data Sheet

#3 Choosing a motorhome

#3 #3 Choosing a motorhome
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5: Viewing secondhand motorhomes
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Viewing secondhand motorhomes


Here are some handy viewing tips to consider when looking at previously-owned vehicles.

  • Always make initial viewings during daylight hours. It's too easy to miss things in the dark.
  • It's not hard to find previously-owned motorhomes that have obviously been well looked after. Exteriors should be free of any damage or signs of major repair work. Check leading edges especially and scrape marks on wing mirrors. Slight changes of colour can indicate panels have been replaced.
  • Water ingress can be a problem with coachbuilt motorhomes. Check the exterior sealant condition and ask for the results of any damp tests.
  • Exterior locker doors should open and shut easily and locks should work.
  • Check items such as corner steadies and retractable steps, if fitted, are fully operational.
  • Tyre condition. Many motorhomes have long periods of inactivity and though the tyres may look serviceable they'll have aged. It may seem counter-intuitive but an idle tyre ages much faster than one frequently use. For more detailed information about tyres and tyre care, see Data Sheet 15.
  • Inside, although you're unlikely to be able to use the living equipment, do go through the motions of bedmaking (this will also ensure no cushions are missing), using the kitchen (cooking, washing-up), washroom (shower, toilet, handbasin) and using other facilities. Is there enough space? Do major items fall easily to hand?
  • Try all the seats for comfort. Foam can lose its springiness over time. This, and indeed upholstery, can be replaced, but at a price.
  • In the cab, try the driving position for comfort as well as ergonomics, particularly the external views via the mirrors.
  • It might sound obvious, but make sure you are happy with interior colour schemes and furnishings (or feel happy you can adapt them to your tastes - extra cushions, carpet runners and similar can make a big difference).
  • web Second hand - 2

    Secondhand motorhome dealers will often offer a warranty on the vehicle

    Ask to see all documentation - full service history (covering both the base vehicle and the conversion), uninterrupted record of MOT tests, receipts for any service, warranty or repair work as well as the vehicle's own history (number of owners, etc).
  • Motorhome dealers should be able to offer up to one year's MOT test certificate and tax, as well as evidence that the vehicle has been fully inspected and any major repair work undertaken. Warranties ranging from three months to a year or more are also likely to be offered and can be a good bargaining point.
  • Motorhome mileage is rarely an issue. Consider anything between 4,000 and 6,000 a typical average annual mileage. MOT test certificates will verify any mileage claims.
  • If you buy privately, the address at which you view should correspond with that on the vehicle's V5C certificate (log book). Give yourself plenty of time to inspect a vehicle in your own time as well as getting the seller to take you through it. Never arrange to view a vehicle at a location such as a motorway service station.
  • Consider using the services of an independent specialist motorhome inspector. If you can't find one in your local telephone directory, your nearest motorhome retailer should be able to offer a contact.
  • Ask about options - determine whether they are factory-fitted or retrofit items. If the latter, ensure they've been fitted by a specialist.
  • Owners- manuals are usually vague, but can be a useful starting point. Any motorhome should also come with operating manuals for all major items of equipment in the conversion.
  • Always leave room for negotiation on price, for example on additional items supplied and extra warranty. If you're completely new to motorhome ownership you'll probably need items such as gas cylinders, levelling ramps, etc.


Travelling in London 

If you are planning to take your motorhome into Greater London you'll need to consider the area's Low Emission Zone (LEZ). The restrictions of the LEZ are greater since 3 January 2012, motorhomes with a Gross Vehicle Weight of more than 2,500kg need to meet specific environmental standards.

All vehicles registered as new after 1 October 2006 (1 January 2002 for vehicles between 2,500kg and 3,500kg) are assumed to meet these standards and those registered before 1 January 1973 are exempt. Others may need to pay a charge of £100 or more for each day they drive in the LEZ, with high penalties if you don't pay.

For more information see www.tfl.gov.uk/lez or call 020 7310 8998.