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Campervan Buying Checklist

There are so many factors to consider when buying a campervan that it's easy to get overwhelmed. All told there are two sets of things to look into - the features of the camper, and the actual condition of the vehicle.

Condition

Rust

Most older vans have rust somewhere, particularly under the arches and in the joins of the vehicle. Some times this has been shoddily repaired and will come back very quickly. It's worth checking over the whole vehicle for less obvious rust and paint bubbles which may indicate holes or the presence of filler.

Leaks

Rubber door seals may perish with age and let in moisture and wind. When a van has been converted there may be leaks between the body and new roof or around windows. Sometimes a leak may not be obvious, but discoloured walls and damp marks can give be good indicator.

Mechanical state of repair

As with any vehicle the engine needs to be sound. Any kind of service history is usually a bonus with older campervans, but it's worth taking note if any major parts have been replaced recently. A new exhaust or cam belt in the last year or so could mean they won't need replacing again for some time. It's the same with tyres - also check the tread for any signs of unusual wear. This can be because of wheel alignment problems which can be easily fixed early on. The mileage can give a good idea of how the vehicle has been treated. Many campervans are only used in the summer for weekends and hence have a very low mileage. Others are ex-delivery vans with over 150000 miles on the clock. Unfortunately mileage isn't a good indicator of how reliable the van will be - a high mileage Toyota Hi-Ace can generally keep going far longer than a weekend Volkswagen.

Soft furnishings

Should be in a good state of repair unless you have some skill to repair them. Many vans have damage to the outside of the driver's seat which can be patched but not repaired completely. If the cushions on the bed are too soft they won't be suitable for sleeping on and the colour scheme needs to be liveable.

Test drive

If you are planning on going a long way, make sure the van is comfortable to drive. The size of the vehicle is really important as is its manoeuverability and ease of parking. Big vehicles might be great for living in but the can be a real pain when faced with narrow winding roads or city streets. Test driving the inside is also really important. How easy is it to access the appliances and assemble the bed? Is there enough room to sit and is it comfortable enough. Is the headroom in the right place?

Features

The links below give more detail on what to expect with the individual features of a campervan. Most important is the layout, ensuring that it is comfortable and easy to live in.

Next: Base vehicles

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