Tips For Buying A Used Caravan In Australia

  • Author: Ted Jones
  • Date: March 9, 2023

Buying A Used Caravan Tips

Caravans can be expensive, so opting for used caravans can be a great alternative. However, like every other second-hand item, it’s important to be cautious about what you’re getting. If you’re tricked into buying a faulty caravan, you’ll end up spending a ton on maintenance.

Here, I’ll be sharing tips for buying a used caravan in Australia. Stick with us till the end if you want to make the best purchase decision and avoid buying a lemon.

See also – Buying A Used Caravan Checklist | Australia

Questions To Ask Before Buying A Used Caravan

Before you start searching for a used caravan or RV, you need to ask yourself a few questions. Answering them will help you get the right used caravan without spending more than you need to. Here’s what you need to do.


Frequency And Mileage

How many times will you be using the caravan every year? What’s more important is how far you are willing to travel with it.



Depending on the number of people who’ll be traveling with you, you’ll have to determine the size of the caravan.

Have you got room to store it?


Towing Capacity

We recommend figuring out how much load you’re expecting the caravan to tow. If you’re planning on towing a heavy load, you’ll most likely have to invest more.

Have you got the right vehicle to tow a big caravan?


Like Off-Road?

Off-road caravans are built differently, so you might have to pay some extra dime for these heavy duty options.

Answer these questions to understand what features you need for sure and what you can avoid. That’ll help you avoid a blowout on budget.


Visit The Seller

Once you have multiple alternatives, you must pay each of them a visit. The visits will take some preparations. Here are some of the items you’ll want to take with you.


  • A notepad and a pen can help you jot down the strengths and weaknesses of the caravan. You can also take notes on your phone’s notepad.
  • Taking a tape with you will help measure the caravan to cross-check the seller’s claims.
  • Take a camera or a smartphone with a quality camera so you can take pictures of the caravan for further comparison.
  • We highly recommend taking a damp meter to measure the moisture level of the caravan. The importance of this will be discussed further down the article.
  • Finally, take a torch to check the caravan from underneath.


Ask The Right Questions

What questions you’re asking and how you’re asking them can set informed buyers from ignorant ones. Establishing yourself as a veteran buyer will give you the upper hand while bargaining. Here are the questions you should be asking the sellers to gather all the required information.

  • When was the van purchased by the seller?
  • Did the seller buy it new or used?
  • Is there a record of the van’s maintenance?
  • When was the last time the van was serviced?
  • What are the places the caravan was taken on trips?
  • Is there any sort of issue with the caravan that must be diagnosed and fixed?
  • What exactly is included in the price? (Annexes, cooking appliances, gas bottles, spares, etc.)

Please note that private sellers may not always be transparent while answering these questions. Hence, we will discuss what to look for when buying a used caravan.


What To Look For On The Exterior?

A lot about the van can be understood by judging the exterior of the van. Here are the things you need to look for while inspecting the exterior of caravans.

  • Look for scratches, dents, scraped paint, and any other visible mark.
  • The condition of the tires can tell a lot about how often the van was cared for.
  • Check whether the windows and doors work how they’re meant to.
  • Look for any signs of rust.
  • Sometimes sellers use paint to cover bigger issues. Keep an eye out for any patch of new paint on the van.
  • Inspect the condition of the axle and underneath.
  • Can the tow hitch be moved with flexibility?
  • What is the condition of the electrical components and plumbing?


What To Look For In The Interior?

As you’ll be living in the caravan for some amount of time every trip, the interior must be comfortable. Plus, there are certain issues that can cause a ton of hassle down the line. Here’s how you inspect the interior of a caravan.

  • Does the floor of the caravan look okay? Is there any scratch or crack there?
  • Is there a smoke alarm inside the caravan?
  • What are the window seals and trims like?
  • Check the level of dampness using the damp meter. A damp caravan is highly likely to have mould.
  • Try out the stoves, fridge, oven, and other appliances to see if they work properly or not.
  • Do the lights work properly? Is there any bulb that’s dimmer than the others?
  • Does the lock on the main door work properly?
  • Do the water and electric lines go over one another at any point?
  • Is there any crack or leak on the roof?


Test The Tow If Possible

If towing is one of your top priorities, then we’d recommend testing it out yourself rather than relying on the words of the seller. Although it isn’t common for sellers to let you take the caravan for a ride, some just might. (For both parties, check your insurance first and see what is covered.)

Test the van to check the following:

  • Do you feel the weight of the vehicle you’re towing?
  • Is it easy to hitch up a vehicle?
  • How much ground clearance will you get for the vehicle you’re towing?
  • Check electronics that may make the ride more convenient and see if they work.
  • Does towing the caravan produce any unnecessary noise?


Tips On Bargaining

Here are some important tips for purchasing a used caravan at a lower price.


Ask For Maintenance Receipts

Often sellers sell components of a vehicle before selling them. However, they often don’t mention these details as they considerably lower the vehicle’s price.

If you can’t check the components manually, you can look for maintenance receipts. These usually contain information regarding the components and whether any of them has been changed or not.


Point The Flaws Out

If you do your homework on caravan sales, you will know a fair price that works for both parties. Caravan forums are a good place to learn about any issues on various brands and models.

If you discover any flaw the seller failed to mention, you should point that out and ask the seller to lower the price if reasonable.


There’s More To This Than The Price Only

Sometimes, you can get other things if you can’t reduce the price. For example, you can ask for a free paint job or service. You can also ask the seller to change a faulty component.


Other Things To Consider

If you do end up buying a used caravan, there are a few things to sort out before you hit the road, like caravan insurance. For more information, click on – Caravan Insurance Australia

Another useful article is a list of insurers in Oz, for more details, visit – List of Caravan Insurance Companies in Australia

Spare parts and places to get repairs are important as well, here is a list of suppliers – Where To Buy Caravan Accessories

You also might need additional items and camping gear for the van, for more info, click on – What Accessories Do I Need For A Caravan?

Do you need a generator? Here is some good information on size – What Size Generator Do I Need for A Caravan In Australia?



These tips for buying a used caravan should help you land a better deal. We highly recommend noting down what must be done to ensure a good purchase. Tick off an action once you’ve done it.

This will help you keep track of the strengths and weaknesses of each alternative without failure. Wishing you happy trips with your new caravan!