Ask all the right questions of yourself and the dealer or manufacturer before you buy your next caravan.
Buying a caravan is up there with buying a new car or a home in that it requires significant research. Anyone paying big money for a house would at least get a building inspection, so it stands to reason – spending sometimes up to $100K for a home on wheels also requires thorough research. Here are ten questions for starters, just to get the new caravan buying process rolling.
1. What makes you better than any other manufacturer?
Each brand and model is going to have their pros and cons and we’d hope the salesperson you ask this to would answer honestly without criticising other manufacturers. Also jump online and look for balanced views of other people’s previous dealings with the van you’re considering. Even better if you can find a few comparisons!
2. What’s the expected re-sale value?
Regardless of how much a caravan costs, knowing if it can be sold in the second-hand market is essential. Of course, keeping a van in awesome condition will provide a greater chance of getting good bucks back!
3. What about a trade in?
Does the manufacturer or dealer you’re buying the van through offer a trade in service? A trade in price is never the best price, however it sometimes still pays to trade in with fewer bucks and less hassle than selling privately.
4. Are all safety and legal requirements being met?
All caravan manufacturers have to ensure their products meet Australian standards, particularly when it comes to being towed. The Australian Caravan Industry is doing lots of great work to stamp out shonky manufacturers who don’t comply. Check out online to make sure your manufacturer does.
5. Will my vehicle be able to tow the van I want?
Many people have bought a van only to find out that their vehicle can’t legally tow it. The suggestion is to keep legally within the towing capability of your vehicle and if you’re not sure speak to both the caravan and vehicle manufacturer to make sure. If it doesn’t, you’re going to need a new vehicle or look at a different van!
6. How much gear can the van hold?
Want to load your van up with kayaks, fishing gear and a fridge (and batteries) big enough for 2 cases? It’s critical to know how much your van weighs to know how much extra weight can be included for personal items. Every van will have an ATM, GTM and a tare mass and these cannot be exceeded for safe towing.
7. How does the van meet your individual touring needs?
Buying a van with no caravanning experience is hard if you don’t know what your touring needs are. It’s best to work that out by touring with a rental before you spend big bucks and suffer big heartache.
8. Costs for servicing and how often?
It’s one thing to buy a van and another to maintain it properly. Ask the agent about their recommendations for servicing. How much will it cost, and what could an owner reasonably expect to pay for a year’s service work.
9. What is covered under warranty and where can I go?
Being able to get your van repaired, under warranty on the road, is critical for fun touring. Check the warranty statement, ensure the van is covered for where you want to travel – and make sure it’s in writing!
10. What’s the final cost?
These days any sale should include everything plus GST so people know exactly what they are paying for. Ensure the final price includes any hand over fees, pre-delivery charges, extra accessories or modifications, registration fees and transportation and freight costs.