What to check before buying a caravan? - CampRest Buying Guide

With the decision of buying a caravan comes a lot of questions, such as what type of caravan to buy, and on what to focus in order to avoid one, which will need a lot of reparation before going on a dreamy holidays. If you are buying a new caravan it's much easier, the problem shows up only when it comes to the second-hand caravan. Below we provide a list of things-to-check before buying such caravan:


The first thing on which we should focus is how much our vehicle is able to pull. It's not only about the capacity and engine power (however it's important too) but mainly we have to focus on regulations and safety. You have to only check the positions Q1 and Q2 in the registration card, then you will know what weight cannot be exceeded, moreover you have to remember that Curb Weight of the vehicle cannot be lower than GVW of the caravan. Qualifications required to pull the caravans are described here.


  • No 1 PRIMO - check all the documents! It often happens that imported caravans don't have full documentation. That cause many problems with registration. It’s obvious that each Department of Communication has its own requirements regarding documents, so it’s best to check before you buy what exactly is required. Please note that VAT-25 from the Tax Office is not required to register no motor vehicle.



  • Check if there aren’t any signs of damage or repairs, bad repairs can have fatal consequences.
  • Check the seal of the windows, roof, vents and of the antenna output. You should also check the jointing if it’s not crushing (RV services have a specialized equipment to test the leak-tightness of the sheet)
  • Check if there is no rust, you can never be certain if the whole plating is made of aluminum. You should also check under the vehicle.
  • You should also check the roof. If it’s very dirty it can be a sign of a bad preservation during winter, which may cause leak-tightness damage.


  • Check the general condition of the chassis. If the caravan was placed on the grass, it’s floor may be decayed and that is connected with high costs of repairs
  • The frame should be galvanized, however, the areas which were repaired may begin to rust
  • Suspension and brakes - make sure that there are no leaks from the shock absorbers and that the brakes are working properly and evenly
  • Tires - tread should rather be OK, but check how old are the tires. Five years is the utmost safe age of the tire, check if the rubber doesn’t crack and if the same type of tires is on both sides
  • Props - check if props are working properly, if they aren’t bent or don’t rust
  • Shaft - check the condition of the shaft, it should be lubricated and hook easily, and after plugging it to the car there should be no backlash


  • If the interior of caravan smells stale you can almost be sure that something is leaking or the owner didn’t care about the vehicle.
  • You should check every nook and cranny, if there’s no mould, especially on the floor.
  • The general condition of the upholstery, hinges, locks, cabinets, doors and windows
  • The general condition of the vents, skylights and windows, and if everything’s working properly
  • Check if there’re no waterstains on walls, especially in the lower parts.
  • Check if the floor is dry and hard, if it bends while walking, it means that plywood may be decayed
  • It’s good to check the caravan after heavy rain – it’s the best opportunity to see if everything’s OK and if there’re no leakings.
  • You should check the area around windows, vents, skylights and antenna output – if there are no waterstains or if the plywood or laminate weren’t replaced. Touch the walls around it, its construction should be stiff.


  • Check if there’re no cracks in the shower (repair can be expensive)
  • Check the quality of the walls and shower joints sealing, as well as of the walls and washbasin joints sealing.
  • Check the condition of the walls as previously described checking the walls around the windows. If the construction isn’t stiff, it can be a sign of frame damage caused by leakage
  • Check the floor condition, if it isn’t puffed because of the leakage. The replacement of the bathroom floor is very expensive and time consuming. Everything must be dismantled, sealed and rebuilt.
  • Check if the toilet, water taps and drain are working properly,
  • Check the leak-tightness of the water pipes and look thoroughly if the place where drain pipe is going through the floor is properly sealed.


  • Check the quality of walls just as in case of the bathroom
  • Check if the water taps and drain pipes are working properly
  • Check the leak-tightness of the water pipes and look thoroughly if the place where drain pipe is going through the floor is properly sealed.
  • Check the fridge (in every power supply)
  • Check if the gas stove works properly and if the owner has go any documents confirming the leak-tightness
  • Check the floor condition, if it isn’t puffed because of the waterstains. The replacement of the kitchen floor is very expensive and time consuming. Everything must be dismantled, sealed and rebuilt.


  • Check the working condition of the boiler
  • Check the water pump
  • Check if all electrical devices work properly (interior and exterior lights, contacts, fans)
  • Check the heater, and if all vents work properly
  • Check if the air-conditioner works properly
  • Check the quality of the awning and of the threshold. And when it comes to the threshold - if the mounting hardware is complete
  • Ask for the demonstration of water tanks filling, wastewater disposal system and handling the chemical toilet



  • How many people will use the beds during travels
  • Fixed beds are the most comfortable and functional
  • Check if changing the seats to beds won’t be too time consuming, in the newer caravans it should be easy, while in older models - a little bit complicated.
  • If it comes to bunk-beds you should know that they have limited space and require a little exercise. They’re good rather for kids.


  • How often during travelling the kitchen will be used
  • Check if there’s enough compartments for dishes and food.
  • Will you need the oven?
  • In case you will often have a power supply of 230V a microwave should be a more practical solution.
  • Is the capacity of fridge and freezer appropriate?
  • Kitchen arrangement – If there’s easy access to the important places while cooking?

Interior colors

  • Bright colors lighten up small rooms, however it may seem a little bit cold during the winter,
  • Dark color scheme will make a room seem smaller , on the other hand the room will seem warmer during winter.
  • What kind of colors will be easier to keep clean.

Interior layout

  • Is there’s enough space to stand without tiring leaning?
  • Is the toilet easily accessible when, for example, some bed is unfolded?
  • Can two people easily pass by?
  • Aren’t there any sharp edges that can be harmful to children?
  • Are there enough compartments and shelves?
  • Is there enough place for all passengers to sit down together at the table?


  • Check if there’s enough compartments for towels and other necessary accessories
  • Is there enough space to freely use the washbasin, shower or toilet?
  • How is the ventilation system solved?
  • A convenient solution would be integrated toilet – a toilet which can be operated from outside

Size of the caravan

  • Number of people going on a caravan trip
  • Bigger size = Bigger weight (you need a stronger and heavier vehicle, and when the GVW of the vehicles exceeds 3.5 tonnes then we need driving license category B + E and viaTOLL
  • The longer caravan, the higher costs on ferries
  • A good solution in the caravans are the compartments accessible from the outside.

The Future

  • Do you plan to enlarge your family in the nearest future? If so, the caravan may be too small. And if, on the other hand, your kids are bigger, and plan individual trips, then a caravan may turn out a little too big.
  • Maybe in the nearest future you will go for a longer trip and you will need a better equipment
  • If you plan to stay outside the camping it’s worth to think about the equipment more adapted for independent travels (like solar batteries, generator).


  • Heating is very important
  • Boiler – hot water is rather OK
  • The porch – very useful during longer stay on a camping, but if you plan to change your place more often, rather choose the awning
  • Solar panels – useful, if you plan longer travels far from the civilisation.
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