Buying a second hand motorhome is a great way to save money, but it can also have plenty of pitfalls, from dishonest sellers to undetected problems. Luckily Comfort are on your side, and we have drawn up a useful checklist to tick off before you invest in your new second hand motorhome.
Decide exactly how much you are willing to spend on your motorhome and stick to it. If you have a specific model in mind, research prices from other sellers and dealers to make sure you are not being ripped off, and make sure you bear the running costs in mind.
A cheaper, older motorhome may well save you money on the day, but can easily end up costing you a fortune further down the line when it breaks down or needs extensive repairs. Other factors to consider are the cost of the insurance, servicing, recovery charges, fuel consumption and the cost of any refurbishments.
And remember, beware motorhomes which seem too cheap. As the saying goes, if something seems too good to be true then it probably is.
If only 2 of you will be using the motorhome regularly, there is no need to have one which can comfortably sleep 6. So it is important to establish who will be using the motorhome and for what, as this will help determine what size you require.
Space is always tight in a motorhome, so we recommend staying flexible when it comes to the layout as it is unlikely you will find the exact layout you are looking for. Don’t forget that not all motorhomes have a toilet either!
Once you decide on a model you like, go online and do some extensive research. Find out if there are any common problems or faults associated with it and check thoroughly for these when you go to view the motorhome in real life.
You can ask the seller whether they have experienced any of these problems, but you are not guaranteed an honest answer.
If there are any retrofitted accessories, check that they are in working order and properly attached.
When buying second hand, it is crucial to check all the documents so you have an accurate idea of the motorhomes history. This includes:
• Ownership and warranty
• Service receipts and invoices
• MOT and tax
• VRM documentation
Inspect any certificates carefully to make sure they are no fakes.
Generally, if the paperwork is in good order it is a good sign that the motorhome has been properly looked after.
The documents may provide an adequate picture of the vehicles history, but we would still recommend having an Experian check done.
This will let you know more in depth details about the motorhome, including whether it has ever been stolen, written off, used for crime, has dubious mileage, and a realistic valuation.
Where possible, research the seller or the dealership too. Nowadays it is far harder for rogue traders to remain undetected thanks to the internet.
Check thoroughly for damp. It will cause walls and floors to rot away, create a bad smell and is hazardous for your health due to the small spores you end up breathing in unknowingly.
Damp can occur anywhere in your motorhome so check the entire interior thoroughly for bumps on panels, stains or mould, springy floors or any discolouration. Invest in a damp tester, which can be picked up from most camping retailers.
It can be repaired, but it is advisable to get professionals in.
Check the condition of carpets, cupboards and upholstery, and beware of any personalization as this is normally to cover up or hide something bad.
Test the water and electricity points throughout.
Look for any scrapes, dents, scratches, cracks or any other type of visible external damage, and check for corrosion. If there are signs of new paint or underseal then beware, as these may be covering up something grisly underneath.
Assess the seals around the doors, windows and skylight to ensure they are still waterproof and in good condition. Ask the seller when the seals were last checked and replaced, as it will cost you around £250 to have it done professionally. Also check the windscreen for any cracks.
See whether the hitch mechanism moves freely and that the rubber gait has not split.
Due to their infrequent use, motorhomes are at higher risk of the tyre walls cracking. This causes the tyre to blow out, which is the cause of scores of accidents annually.
Check the tyres carefully for any sign of cracks, and check the tread too as this can tell you if the wheels are correctly aligned or whether the brakes are rubbing.
If the tread depth is too shallow, it can be dangerous but it is also illegal and you could end up with points on your license and a fine.
Remember, take your time and do your research. Hopefully with the help of our list you will be in the best possible position when purchasing your new second hand motorhome.