New off road caravans can cost hundreds and thousands of dollars something which many off-road enthusiasts are discouraged by especially in countries like Australia where there is a lot more reason to go off road. Many of the interesting places to camp, fish or hike are off the beaten path which is why there are an increasing number of people who are searching through off-road caravans for sale ads trying to find a good deal.
Unfortunately, finding a gem in an often huge haystack of classified advertisements both online and offline all depends on the time you are willing to put in as well as your ability to examine the vehicle. The below tips should help you examine an off road caravan to determine if it’s in good condition prior to probably asking a mechanic to take a look and give his seal of approval.
Check the tires
Almost all off road caravans need to be able to take some wear and tear and the first line of defense is always the tires. The tires take the most beating and if you want to know how well the caravan was maintained take a look at the tires.
If the tires seem bloated from the sides and look worn there is a good chance that the caravan did lots of careless off road running but does not necessarily mean that the vehicle is in bad shape, it just means that you can negotiate a lower price because the tires will have to be replaced. However, if you see new tires then it means that at least the owner made sure that the tires were replaced on time as recommended by the manufacturer.
Check the date of purchase and manufacture
In order to avoid trouble you do not want to purchase a caravan which is older than five years. Check the caravan’s documentation to make sure that it’s not more than five years old. This often means that much of the integrity of the caravan is still good. However, there are still many abused or badly taken care of caravans that are just a few years old so a relatively new caravan does not always mean it’s the best and does not require further investigation.
It just means that perhaps 50% – 75% of it is in good shape.
Check the electrical outlets
You may think that the electrical outlets are no big deal and many owners may say that these are cheap fixes. However, with off road caravans many times the wires and the parts are hidden behind thick insulation in order to prevent sparking and breaking owing to rough terrain. This means that in most cases if the light does not work or the fridge is not working then getting it fixed is an expensive job. This also means that you should insist on a 10% lower price to cover the repair expenses.
Check the doors and window
You should check the insulation around the doors and windows of the off road caravan for sale. Most off road caravans have insulated and packed doors and windows so that wind and water does not get into the vehicle. This also prevents the doors and windows from rattling. Run your hand around the edges to make sure that they are not damaged. If you have a tow vehicle tow the caravan and check if there is rattling or excessive vibration.
Off road caravans need to have great suspension after all they are expected to hit bumps, rocks and run in knee deep water. The difficult part of checking the suspension is that you’ll need to know a bit about the particular model you are checking. However, generally you can roll under the vehicle and check if the suspension is not rusty, cracking and the rubber linings are not fading away. That said even then you may want to get the caravan checked by a certified caravan technician prior to buying.
If you want to save time and money the best option is to buy a new caravan for sale. New caravans are certainly expensive but local manufacturers like Australia-based JB Caravans back their caravans with a great warranty. This saves you from frequent repairs and ensures that the vehicle is reliable on long trips.
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Mark is one of the leading off-road caravan experts. He has always maintained that off road caravans for sale by private sellers require a greater buying skill. In his experience it is best to buy from a local manufacturer who backs their caravans up with a warranty. This surprisingly helps buyers save both time and money.