Tips for Buying a New Motorhome
Choosing the best out of brand new motorhomes or used motorhomes for sale may well be a daunting task, especially for the beginner, but with a firm idea of what you want and what to look for and with the contacts of the best motorhome dealers UK, it can be made easier.
You may be upgrading from your tent and buying your first caravan or motorhome, upgrading to something a bit more luxurious or just looking around the market. Whether you are considering buying new or used, American RV style or something more traditional, a motorhome can set you back a pretty penny. As it should, given what you are asking it to do; but there are ways in which you can ensure you get as much for your money as possible. There are ample of good quality used motorhomes for sale out there if brand new is a bit heavy on you.
Firstly there is a fair amount of jargon involved, which for first time buyers can be confusing.
Base vehicle of chassis type:
CC = the chassis cowl, the basis of A Class vans with just the dash and floor
PV = Panel van, usually properly converted
WV = window van, which has original factory fitted windows
AK = Al-Ko chassis replaces standard rear frame; offers lower overall height and adds independent suspension.
CA = Camper chassis , with a low wide rear track only available on certain models
CB = Chassis car, a standard vehicle with original rear
PC= Platform cab
LP = low profile, without a bed over the cab
LP = low profile
RR = rising roof, more suitable for occasional use
FR = Fixed roof
DM = Dismountable and therefore removable
BC or B Class = low profile and conversion style vehicles
OC = Over cab, or with a bed over the cab area
HT =– High Top, a panel van with a high fixed roof and full facilities
The very first rule of thumb is buy something you know you will use. It sounds so simple but if you invest in a motorhome, don’t just end up with a large lawn ornament – choose the right model for you and make sure it does what you need it to. Consider whether you want a motorhome for ease or if you are happy to tow. If you will be towing, decide which vehicle you will use, as you won’t enjoy towing a huge caravan on the wrong car, and with fuel prices what they are you will need to keep it economical. Some sites on the internet will help you to find out what the towing capacity is on your chosen vehicle, depending on whether it is two or four wheel drive, what size the engine is and so on. This will then determine the weight of the van you can choose, so is a good starting point.
If you want a motorhome, life will be easier but again consider size and who will be using it – how many berths are necessary and what is the best layout for you? There is no denying that motorhomes are very compact, but a well thought layout can optimize space. Do you require both a bathroom and kitchen? Will you be eating out, or using sites with nearby facilities? How important is preparing a meal over sleeping space?
Make a list of the features you will require before you go. That way you won’t be swayed by gadgets and plush interiors unless it also has every feature you need. Think how much kitchen space you will require. If you are a family who will eat out every day, then you won’t need to worry, but many old models have very basic facilities, with a 2 or 3 ring hob and not much else. The same applies to bathrooms, some of which have a separate shower cubicle, while some are wetrooms with very little space – it depends on how long you think your trips will last, where you will be staying and how much comfort you feel you can give up.
It is worth hiring the model you are looking at before you make a final decision – this way you can try the layout, and some hire companies will offer this as a deal where they will refund you if then buy from them. Make yourself comfortable in the van and remember with family in a confined space any niggly issues within the first hour will seem far worse after 3 days away.
There are some exciting manufacturers out there offering a variety of shapes and designs dependent on your intended purpose. We like the Hymer models, Chausson for their Sweet Family model which is surprisingly spacious and child friendly, as well as practical Auto Trail, luxurious Niesmann and Bischofff.
If you are buying second hand, do check it over as you would a used car. See where it is currently stored, and look in daylight. Just because they tell you it has an MOT does not mean everything is in perfect order – check for signs of damage or damp, that the engine runs the way you want it to, and do go for a long test drive to make sure it is as comfortable as it looks. Ask for the service history and check if it has had any major works. If they are a reputable dealer then they will understand what a major purchase this is and be understanding. Make sure of all the other things you would if it were a car – adequate seatbelts, storage for an awning if you need extra space, comfortable seats in case of longs journeys and any other things which you feel will be important.
Don’t forget to consider where you will store the van when you aren’t using it – no matter how good it looks, it needs to fit on the driveway!
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