Typical defects of caravans - what to check before buying one

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In case of caravans, most buyers are actually guided by the same rules as when choosing a car. When deciding on a brand new product we can be sure of the clear equipment history and warranty. Unfortunately - not everyone can afford the expense in excess of up to 100 thousand PLN (24 000 EUR).

And here comes secondary market, offering caravans for virtually any budget. Considering second hand offers we can not only save a considerable amount, but - against our will – get a vehicle that is extremely exploited and has numerous defects typical for caravans.

Visual inspection

Years of use almost always leave a mark on the caravan’s body panels. Scratches, dents, sometimes even tears in sheathing indicate the approach of the previous owner and his care towards the caravan. Therefore, the examination should begin with a thorough control of the condition of all panels, joints, seals, windows and decorative strips - repair of this type of damage is never cheap. If in the past the caravan had undergo any whitesmith repair or if some metal elements were exchanged, with a little perseverance we should be able to recognize the area of intervention of specialist. Negligent repairs will force us to repeat them in the future.

Let's see the inside

Most of us decide to buy a caravan taken only after a positive evaluation of the interior and operation of on-board systems. Visual inspection of the interior of the caravan should start as it was in case of the body. In the first place it’s worth to look at the upholstery - worn seats or wet mattresses immediately reveal the rich history of the vehicle. While upholstery elements can be easily replaced, with faded or scratched furniture it’s really problematic. Let's check the correct operation of opening cabinets, the condition of hinges, let’s look for any damaged areas – scratches or jagged borders. Even small leaks in the body can lead to serious damage of the interior. Humidity in the cabin not only degrades the wood finish, it also seriously affects the electrical system – therefore we should look for signs of mold, mildew and stains.

Equipment and traction

Being inside also should pay attention to the electrical system and equipment. Lighting and audiovisual systems (if the trailer has any) can be controlled in a few moments. Equally quickly we can verify the condition of refrigerator, gas stove, heating and water system (in this case, it’s worth to look for leaks, both in different corners of the caravan, as well as under it). Impeccable appearance of supporting elements, drawbar and the suspension of the caravan should also be in our interest. Rust traces herald necessary expenses related to maintenance, as well as not too favorable conditions in which the caravan had wintered. The technical condition of the chassis and braking system has an obvious impact on the safety of driving with a caravan.

Caravans, like any equipment are subjected to wear. When buying a caravan that is few years old we should be aware of with typical defects with which we will have to face.

Translation: Karolina Strzałkowska

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