Beginner’s guide to owning a camper – Buying your first camper van

Last Updated on December 9, 2023 by Jess

One of the first things to decide when buying a camper is whether you want a new or second-hand vehicle. On the one hand you get the feeling that you are the first owner with a new vehicle and the safety of a manufacturer’s limited warranty. On the other hand, a second-hand model can often be retrieved with large savings on the list price only one year after production.

Everyone is different, but most first-time buyers choose a second-hand motorhome because the financial investment is less – and it gives you the chance to find out if a motorhome suits you without losing your money.

Another initial consideration is your budget. Think about what you want to spend and also what you want to spend as much as possible, this gives you a price range to work in and means that you are less tempted to spend too much.

There are campers available in all shapes and sizes and for all budgets, so think carefully about which type of motorhome you like best: is it a small conversion for a van or a large A-class or an American camper that you like? If you only buy the motorhome for a short holiday, a small or medium sized motorhome will probably meet your requirements, but for those who want to travel for months, a larger, better-equipped camper may be needed.

Finding a motorhome that meets your requirements can be tricky, and you will probably not find one that will immediately check everything the key is to prioritize your needs. Write a list of things you need from your motorhome, not functions as such, but only comprehensive requirements you have of your new investment, things like 4 people comfortably sleeping or klein small enough to drive in European cities. You can then use this list to find out which models are best for you and which functions are most important to you: doing things this way ensures that you are not convinced to buy a camper with nice features that you will not use.

When you look at a future camper, and especially when you buy second hand, you have to test all functions before you buy – that does not mean you have to prepare a three-course meal, but it does mean that you pull out the beds and step inside. the shower room to test the size, open and close the cupboards, sit on the couch, etc.

When looking at used motorhomes, you have to look at the fixtures and fittings, even more, make sure you check the watercourses well and all electrical systems work as it should – it only takes a minute to fill the water tank to test the system and everyone who seriously thinks about the sale of the camper, will gladly do this.

Never buy a camper without running the water system, the electricity and the engine in good condition and always go for a test drive with roads where you can get up to 50 km / h, because some problems will not show at low speeds. Do not be offended if the owner does not let you drive, because not many people have a driver insurance policy and it is still the seller’s responsibility if something happens. If you sit on the front passenger seat during a test drive, simply hold an ear for unusual noises from the engine, wheels or brakes and keep an eye on the driver’s hands – are they working hard to turn the steering wheel? Does the acceleration change smoothly and easily?

It is also vital that the wastewater system is clean and properly functioning. This should have been done by the seller before he offered the motorhome for sale, so show him how the cassette was removed from the toilet unit so that you can see if this happened – it is not a job you would want to do after buying!

Make sure you look around for the best deal, look online for many models but do not make any decisions until you see the camper first hand, it does not matter how many photos you see, you do not get a real feeling for the interior spaces until you look around personally. When you are ready to buy, try to use local dealers with a good reputation so that if something goes wrong you do not have to go far for repairs or advice. It is also a good idea to view the insurance costs because some of the larger campers have higher premiums. Always choose a specialized motor insurance policy instead of a standard motor policy, because this offers you a more extensive coverage.

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