Take a motorhome test drive
Surprisingly, test drives feature low down the list when it comes to purchasing a motorhome. We advise you take one before you go ahead with any purchase – once you’re clear your licence entitles you to drive the vehicle concerned and, of course, that you’ve made any necessary motorhome insurance arrangements.
Shield top tip: A test drive, no matter how short, allows you to get an indication of driving position for comfort and overall cab ergonomics. It’s also the ideal time to check for any rattles from the interior fittings!
Prove provenance - check the paperwork
Official paperwork will prove ownership (especially if you’re buying privately) as well as verifying other key credentials. Ask also for details of service history (which should cover both the base vehicle and the conversion), MoTs (which will also help verify any mileage claims), and any fitted extras.
Also, although many motorhome owners’ handbooks are poor, they can at least act as a useful starting point, along with manuals for any of the major fittings such as fridge, heating etc.
And finally, once you’ve made that purchase, do make sure you get a receipt for payments made. Congratulations!
Shield top tip: You can check if a secondhand motorhome has any outstanding payments due on it by contacting HPI-Equifax (tel: 01722 422422 or www.hpicheck.com). A dealer will be able to prove it has already done this. If you’re buying privately, you’re on your own.
If you’re looking around a motorhome, here is a short list of items to consider:
*Dimensions. Is there sufficient space for living, meal preparation, seating, beds, standing room, general storage etc? Just as important, is to ensure there will be no issues with wherever you intend storing the vehicle.
*Look for signs of exterior damage and/or repairwork. If it’s a van conversion, check for any corrosion; if a coachbuilt, look for any damage to the main body (which is usually aluminium, sometimes GRP or even polyester) that could be allowing water to get in. Most damage is done to leading edges, so do check these thoroughly, including the roof and exterior mirrors. Water ingress, where dampness gets into the bodywork and can rot it away from the inside, is a major failing of coachbuilt structures – good dealers conduct thorough damp tests.
*Other exterior items to focus on include windows (they should open properly and be free from scratches); locks and handles should all work properly, whatever age; ditto for items such as corner steadies and steps, if fitted. Finally, spare wheel condition and (even more important) accessibility should be assessed.
*Inside, check out the condition and signs of excessive use of all the major items of equipment. Plus, sit on the seats to gauge comfort and support levels, make up the beds to check out ease of changing from seating to bedding as well as ensuring all the right cushions are still in the unit.
And finally don't forget to buy your Motorhome Insurance before you collect your Motorhome purchase!