Owning a motorhome has always appealed to me; the freedom of the open road, waking up in fascinating places, taking all the comforts of home with you, spending quality time with the family all valid reasons why everyone should consider owning one.
However, static holiday homes also appealed to me due to the fact that you have that community togetherness on site, you can be there within a few hours and you get to meet people who are perhaps neighbours at first, but then turn into lifelong friends.
Nevertheless, it was the motorhome that me and my wife opted for in the end and there were more than a number of things we had to consider before buying one.
The first being, what size I wanted, while a small campervan may be adequate for the odd weekend away, for longer periods on the road, a larger one would be needed.
As I was hoping to spend every spare moment travelling I opted for the larger option, most UK driving licences allow you to drive up to 3,500kg so, unless you want the huge American-style RVs you should be okay.
I then sat down and wrote a list of important considerations before I went out to buy one of the most expensive purchases of my life.
Here are some tips on buying a used campervan or motorhome
Before you rush out with a pocket full of banknotes it is essential to conduct some research, make a shortlist of the makes and models you are most interested in then check for faults and read as many reviews as possible, I went to a few motorhome shows and found it helpful to find motorhome owners online and ask questions to find the one which most fits your requirements
Top Tip – Check out online forums, they are a terrific source of information
Like cars a brand-new motorhome depreciates in value the second you drive it off the forecourt, so that reason I decided to go for a second-hand one, taking into account the huge variety of sizes and styles this can still burn a significant hole in your pocket if you’re not careful so set a budget and stick to it.
Top Tip – Remember to factor a list of running costs into your budget such as;
⦁ Regular servicing
This was one consideration where my wife had a lot of input, she enjoys cooking so wanted a decent kitchen area, also as we would be travelling with children it was important not to be too cramped and have plenty of storage. I ended up making a list of absolute necessities and other things I could be flexible with. Remember if you have a really long list it will take a lot longer to find the perfect motorhome
Top Tip – If traveling with children make sure your second-hand motorhome has front facing seats with the correct seatbelts. Click here for current UK legislation
Whether you purchase your used motorhome from a private seller or dealer it is still essential to take it on a test drive; make sure your route includes a dual carriageway or motorway, a steep incline (go up and down) and built up area, this way you can get a real feel for the vehicle. Do a hill start and park it up. I was used to driving a van so this proved no problem but for some, if it’s difficult maybe rethink and choose a smaller type.
Check the engine isn’t warm when you arrive as this could be the seller covering up ignition problems by starting the vehicle just before you arrive.
Check, check and check again
It is essential to check the overall condition of any potential purchase not just the obvious things like mileage and engine (Always perform a HPI check).
The available payload is one of the first questions you need answered; that is how much the motorhome weighs when carrying passengers, luggage, bikes, etc? you don’t want to be driving illegally!
You should also check for water damage as this can cause serious problems in a motorhome, have a good old sniff around, it should not smell damp or musty nor should there be any mould.
Check the electric and gas appliances work along with the shower don’t be shy if the water tank is empty, ask for it to be filled.
The tyres are another vital checkpoint they may look OK but having the weight of a motorhome on them and being exposed to extremes of temperatures, the side walls could be damaged, so find out their age.
Top Tip – Take someone along with you (and invest in a damp meter)
I was pretty lucky when searching for my perfect motorhome, all the vendors were spot-on, however there are some conmen out there, so it is essential to check the MOT is valid and also the history. The good news is this can easily be done online either at https://www.check-mot.service.gov.uk/ or there are several apps which will do the same. You just need to enter the registration number and make of the vehicle and it will bring up any past problems which may need addressing
Top Tip – Use any advisories to get a reduction in price
The Last Word
As a proud motorhome owner, I know the benefits and pitfalls of buying second hand and the biggest tip I would give is; don’t rush things!
It took almost 5 months before I found the perfect vehicle, but it was worth it and my wife and I have since been on some fantastic trips with very few problems
Take your time, do your research and try before you buy!
Author: Callum Russell