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Buying a second hand caravan

 

If you’re looking forward to the summer and want to go camping why not invest in a caravan? There’s a wide range of caravans starting as low as £500. 

Look into the details

Find out as much as possible about the caravan you want to buy. Look into the size, age, layouts, features, weight and make sure your car is able to tow it!

Is the seller trustworthy?

Make sure you’re dealing with a proper seller on a trustworthy site. You can also buy a caravan from a dealer and although more expensive they provide you with the extra protection should there be a problem with your purchase.

Make sure you are able to visit the caravan at the seller’s home or business premises (if they are a dealer). The address should match the one shown on the caravan’s registration.

Check the van for damage and damp!

When you visit the caravan you want to make sure it doesn’t have any problems that might set back your holidays and cost you a fortune.

The main things to check for are:

  • Damp

One of the most important things to check for, repairing damp can be quite expensive. If you smell damp when walking into a caravan be cautious. You can buy a damp meter at a DIY store for around £15. Make sure you check the corners, beds and cupboards. Also check the external body for damage that may cause leaks. A poor sealing around the body and window frames could also cause water to leak into the caravan.

  • Check the doors and windows

Door locks must be secure and doors watertight. Also check the windows and roof vents for any cracks and internal condensation in double glazed units. Replacements may be expensive and hard to find for older units.

  • Check the chassis and running gear

It’s important to check the condition of the chassis, the hitch and suspension as any repairs or replacements could be expensive. Check for rust and look for new paint that could be covering something underneath. The hitch should move freely and the rubber gaiter isn’t split. The jockey wheel should wind up and down and rotate. Check that the steadies wind up and down. Also check the handbrake is working and secure.

  • Check the gas and electrics

Check the electrics and gas and if in doubt get it checked by a professional as faulty systems can be lethal. Look out for any DIY work on these systems.

  • Get an HPI check

Be cautious and get an HPI check. This check will confirm the true identity of the van as well as report outstanding finance, theft and write offs.

 

Insure your Caravan!

Don’t forget you’ll need cover for your caravan and awning! Compare caravan insurance quotes and cover with us and you can save yourself both time and money. Why waste time visiting a range of websites to compare caravan insurance when you can compare leading caravan insurers at one site.

  Click here to get a quote now
   

Finally, take good care of your caravan

Once you’ve bought your caravan it’s really important to take good care of it. Schedule a full maintenance every year and don’t forget to check all parts of the caravan regularly, especially before you leave, for any damage, leaks or faults and keep it clean, tidy and damp free.

You can find hints and tips on cleaning your caravan here:
Tips for Caravan Spring Cleaning

Reversing and Parking your Caravan

Reversing
When you arrive at the campsite you may need to reverse your caravan to park. We’ve got a few tips to help you:

Move the car slowly and carefully and make sure you can see around the caravan or have a helper to direct you into position… and don’t forget to disengage the reversing brake!When reversing using your mirrors turn the wheel in the opposite direction to the way you want the caravan to go. When reversing look over your right shoulder put your left hand at the bottom of the steering wheel and turn it in the direction you want your caravan to go.

Chock, Level And Lock
When you’ve parked, you need to chock your wheels. This helps to secure them and to get your caravan level on uneven ground. When you’ve secuely parked and engaged the handbrake, you can raise the caravan with the crank handle until the coupler lifts off the hitch ball. Remember to raise the lock and handle to release the coupler. After you’ve moved the car out of the way you can adjust the height of the caravan to keep it level using a carpenters spirit level.. Finally, attach the wheel lock and enjoy your time at the campsite.

Beginner’s Guide to Towing your Caravan

If you’re new to caravanning or a bit nervous about towing, we’ve pulled together some caravan towing hints and tips including how to handle reversing, something many people have difficulties with.

Towing Weights
First of all what you need to do is find out the weight of your caravan. Then you need to add your estimated cargo weight to give you your total towing weight. Then simply look at your car’s manual or contact the car dealer to find out hot much weight your vehicle can tow.

Hitching Up
Most caravans have a trailer hitch, crank wheel, electric hook up, coupler, latch and lock, safety chains and handbrake at the front. Make sure you do your research on all of these before attempting to hitch your caravan.
Line up the hitch ball on your vehicle with the coupler on the caravan. Then its just a matter of lowering the caravan by turning the crank handle. Raise the handle to unlock the coupler and let the ball move into position.



Caravan towing tips
You will know when your car is attached to the caravan as when you try to lift it up again the car will come with it. If you’re having difficulty attaching the caravan then hop up and down on it to make sure it’s fitted properly.
Once attached, make sure the lock is secure above the coupler and fix the safety chain. Then you need to plug the electrics in and do checks with the lights and load position on the road.
This is quite important as you might lose part of it on a bumpy road if its running too low at the back!

Towing final checks lights
Keep in mind that when you are manoeuvring the caravan by hand into position to hitch it up, the smallest bumps and holes in the road surface can make it move forwards rapidly.

On The Road
In most cases a caravan is wider than the vehicle pulling it so add extra mirrors to ensure you can see everything. Also make sure you know the dimensions of your caravan when driving through tight spaces. You don’t want it getting stuck!
When driving on the road you should take corners wider than normal making sure your caravan doesn’t hit the kerb or other obstructions at the side of the road.

Caravans catch fire in Chard and Humberside

A caravan has been completely destroyed after a suspected arson attack on the A358 in Chard.

Police and fire service were called to the scene shortly after 11pm last night (March 26).

Two fire engines from Chard were called to reports of a caravan on fire at the location.

On arrival crews discovered one abandoned caravan well alight.

Crews used two breathing apparatus, one compressed air foam jet and one thermal imaging camera to extinguish the fire and make sure it was safe.

A spokesman for Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue service said that the caravan was 100 per cent damaged by the fire.

The police were also requested to attend this incident.

A spokesman for Avon and Somerset police said: “We’re investigating after a caravan parked in a layby on the A358 near Chard was damaged by fire.


Meanwhile, a caravan caught fire whilst being towed on the A165 near Beeford, Humberside when a suspected electrical fault caused the freezer to catch fire.

No injuries were reported in both incidents.

Tips for Caravan Spring Cleaning

The sun is out, flowers are blooming and the summer is near so why not treat your caravan to a bit of Spring cleaning?

We've collected tips from professionals to get your caravan sparkling clean and fresh.

  • Use a good quality cleaner. The cleaning detergent you use on your car is suitable for your caravan too. Use a good quality cleaner to remove hard to get rid off dirt and leave your caravan clean and shiny.
  • Avoid high-pressure cleaners. High water pressure can be too strong for caravans, water could get through weak seals and tiny gaps. Avoid using them and use a standard garden hose instead.
  • Wash from the top down. Clean the roof first and work your way down. This means you’re getting the worst of the dirt off the areas you’re yet to wash, and also prevents washed areas from being covered in dirty run-offs. To reach the top of your caravan, you’ll need a sponge or brush on a pole, and perhaps a stepladder (but be careful, it's slippery when wet!).
  • Avoid chemicals on canvas. If your caravan has a fabric roof or awning be careful when using chemicals as they can wear through the material. Simply wash any fabrics with water and a brush, and ensure the canvas is completely dry before folding it back up to avoid mould and mildew.
  • Clean those windows. Grab a glass cleaner and paper towel, and get scrubbing for streak-free windows and mirrors.
  • Dry it well. To avoid those dreadful water spots after washing, wipe using a dry towel or chamois to remove water residue and leave it clean and shiny.
  • Cleaning the inside. Cleaning the inside of your caravan is much like cleaning your home. Vacuum the floor, dust all surfaces, wipe out the cupboards and freshen up the fridge. If you use the same cleaning products as you use at home, you’ll get similar results.

It's important to keep your caravan clean regularly so why not clean it as part of you caravan maintenance to keep it in tip top shape.

Click here for more Caravan Hacks