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Where To Start?! A Little Lost


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Whilst looking at buying our first used caravan yesterday I became very aware that we haven't really got a clue what we are doing!


We know we need a 4 berth as we have a young family, and my wife is settled on the layout.


We are looking at something between £1k - £2k as its our first one, so I understand its going to be a bit bruised and battered.


I know we have to check for damp, but beyond that i'm not really sure what i'm supposed to be checking for!


I've just read about the caravan starter kit, which was handy http://www. caravantalk. co. uk/caravan-advice/new-to-caravanning/caravan-starter-kit


We have a cmax 2005 1. 6 tdci


Could anybody help with any advice please? We are lost in this whole new world.






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First thing to do is check the maximum weight your vehicle can tow and this is the maximum weight of caravan you will be able to tow your handbook or V5 might quote the towing limit .


If you only have a b licence if you passed your driving licence after 97 you are limited to a outfit under 3500kg maximum combined weight.


You might find you will get a better buy privately . Look for a caravan were someone is selling due to not being able to get away and is selling the whole outfit as it can save you a thousand pounds on the extras like awning .


What ever you buy check it has a damp report and even do it yourself with a cheap damp meter.


Make sure you carry out a CRiS check on the VIN number which is a 17digit number on the windows . This will tell you if the caravan has been stolen or insurance write off or HP still .


Only when you are completely happy hand any money over.




Jeep Commander 3. 0 V6 CRD

Isuzu D- Max Utah Auto

Elddis Crusader Storm 2000 Kgs, Unipart Royal Atlas Mover .


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As Dave said plus check out the tyres for cracks and bulges, determine the age of them to by the coding on the tyre wall. Make sure that you check all the appliances are working, don't just take their word for it. Have a visual look underneath at the chassis for any signs of damage. Leaky shocks etc. check and open all windows, they are very expensive to replace if you can get them at all on an old van. when you go into the van the smell of damp can not be hidden so be very thorough in your damp checks if you notice a damp odour.

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As already suggested you need to find out what weight of caravan you can tow safely with your car. No point wasting time looking at vans that are unsuitable/too heavy. Look here to find kerbweight of your car. ..

http://www. parkers. co. uk/cars/reviews/facts-and-figures/ford/focus-c-max/estate-2003/dimensions/


Caravan should as a guide be 85% of kerbweight. This gives you the MTPLM figure.

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If possible take someone who knows something about caravans with you to have a look

I went with my gaffer a few years ago to have a look at a caravan. When I saw it I thought . I went inside & started pressing with my thumb around the front windows. At one point my hand went through the body I called my gaffer in to have a look & showed him how rotten it was & told him not to touch it with a barge pole.

When we showed the vendor he went barmy saying that I knew nothing about caravans & that I had wrecked his caravan !!!!

Hyundai Terracan pulling a Burstner Trecento 530 easily
I thought I saw a light at the end of the tunnel, but it was somone with a torch

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Cheers for the help guys.


The one I saw yesterday had sealant on the outside where the roof is connected, I assume this is a big no-no.


It seems like damp is the biggest thing to check for, other than that it'll be checking the appliances work plus windows, bodywork, etc.


Is there something similar to an MOT/service history for caravans so i can check how well it has been looked after?


Thanks again


Also, do you recommended going on a towing course for the day? Or is it enough to find a hints/tips video for how to tow?

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Surplus sealant is common - manufacturers seem to think it shows they've done the sealing properly. Actually it just gets mucky and unsightly. If it looks like a DIY job, be wary.


I'd expect a caravan less than 6 years old to have service history, but older than that maybe not.


Although I've never been on a towing course, I'd do it if I was starting afresh.



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