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Martyn Raybould

Buying a Camper or Motorhome safely!

Buying a camper or motorhome safely. Taking care when buying your first camper or motorhome is the best way to save money when you want to start touring.


As you will see we always recommend buying ideally from a reputable supplier, but should you start your search online BEWARE of scammers offering non-existent vans at much too cheap prices.. To watch this excellent video go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6rbg-V39iY8

www.engineerinsuranceandaftercare.com works with some of the UK’s best dealers, bespoke campervan retailers and manufacturers around the UK and here are some of the Top Tips to buying a Campervan or Motorhome safely.

Buying your Campervan from a specialist quality conversion company

If you simply want a quality campervan already built and sharing like for like layout and features to the many others out there, its easy to buy one, there are many mainstream manufacturers around. But, if you want to buy something different and more bespoke, exactly meeting your own imagination and design, maybe needing specialist features to accommodate your hobbies. Or perhaps just a specific colour palette or layout? Then the route to take is to go to a Specialist Camper Conversion company, and Engineer Aftercare works with some of the best in the UK.

Buy from a recognised larger dealership

Buying your campervan from a recognised dealership that specializes in both Campers and Motorhomes is always a safe and good idea, but always remember to check any company reviews on platforms such as Feefo and Trust Pilot . Reviewing other people’s experience can be a great way to look at the aftercare someone received because its after a vehicle is sold and an issue arises when you see how interested that dealer is in you as a customer! We are delighted to work with some of the largest and best dealers across the UK, including.

Buying your Camper or Motorhome Privately

There is an old perception that buying privately saves you money, that may be true given the overheads to storing, displaying and the added services that a dealership will provide. But the money saving is only good if the vehicle you buy is what the seller says it is and is as good as a dealer prepared one! Ultimately happy and safe family holidays is the aim so taking time and care to buy is vital.

In our experience, while buying privately can sometimes save money, the downside of trawling around the UK viewing vehicles, the tyre-kicking involved and unless you are a mechanic or engineer buying with your fingers crossed, its not an easy purchase. Also in 2023 the risk of buying stolen vehicles and the scams prevailing are greater, so we will look at your options and some top tips to buying safely!

  • NEVER! Buy a vehicle unless you have seen it up close and have spent time inspecting it both inside and out. If possible do some research on that particular camper or motorhome design and features and importantly the donor motor section (VW, Fiat, Ford etc). Some vehicles have recurring issues you can find out about before viewing.
  • NEVER! Arrange to buy and view or pay for a vehicle at a service station or other remote place. If the person you are buying from does not store it at their home address or a CaSSOA storage site, then walk away from the purchase.
  • IDEALLY, plan for plenty of time to look closely at the vehicle, take a notepad because if you are viewing several you will soon mix up which you liked and didnt like. Ensure the seller knows you want plenty of time to view the vehicle to inspect the motor section as well as the habitation sections, (If they are in a hurry and dont have time for you to inspect the vehicle, walk away!). Make sure you sit down and review the hopefully large document file and service history with a vehicle. Remember that if there is no paperwork or service history, you are buying as seen only! It is easy to check a vehicle MOT and Insurance status at DVLA vehicle check. In a perfect world, you would take with you an experienced engineer who can give a professional view, it will be worth the cost of an hour of their time. (See AWS Pre-Inspections)
  • NEVER pay cash in hand, we always recommend a BACS (Bank Austomated Cash System) transfer to buy a vehicle, you will have a trail and its safer than carrying thousands of pounds around with you.
  • DO YOUR RESEARCH BEFORE YOU GO! You can review the layout you would like online and long before you visit and view a vehicle, dont waste your or the seller’s time with deciding you need an island bed when that vehicle has a drop-down or setup to do. The viewing of a vehicle should be one with a layout you want, the money pretty much what you plan to pay and the age and profile of the engine etc already decided. Then, when you view it is with a view to simply find the perfect vehicle in good condition to buy it.
  • COMPROMISING? All purchases can come with a small amount of compromise. If the vehicle you view has everything going for it but has not been serviced in the last 24 months or Habitation checked in the last year, do a deal to pay for those as a discount in the sale price (Then have them completed as soon as possible!). Remember though that water ingress in a vehicle can decimate its value, so if you have no recent habitation check to see, you might be buying a can of worms!
  • HABITATION AND SERVICING DOCUMENTATION: Always buy a vehicle with some documentation of its history, otherwise you are buying on sight only! Every vehicle should have some service history so that you know if for instance a cam-belt has been changed at the correct interval. Cam belts cost around £300-£500 to change but the cost to a catastrophic failure may be thousands. Is there evidence of water-ingress? Water ingress is the biggest hit to the value of any Motorhome (Camper manufacture processes mean this is far less of an issue in converted vans).

Approved Workshops Pre-Purchase Inspections

The Approved Workshop Scheme engineers around the UK, regularly attend a vehicle and completeit a full and detailed inspection on your behalf, there will of course be a cost for this service but the savings may be in the thousands should you buy a bad one.

Engineer Aftercare has a host of other advice and tips for new owners to view.

If you are SELLING a camper or motorhome, we always recommend going to WeBuyAnyMotorCaravan.com or the extremely useful Motorhomescampervans.net the directory for all things Campervans and Motorhomes.

Campervan and Motorhome Warranty Aftercare

When buying from a reputable conversion company or dealership, vehicles usually come with a ‘Warranty’ to cover the cost of things that go wrong in the first weeks or months. These ‘policies’ or ‘contracts’ can be from as little as 3 months or as much as 3 years, so ask your seller is there any warranty included in the sale. Likewise, vehicles under 3 years for motor and 2 years usually for the habitation section may still enjoy the original manufacturer warranty cover. (Check that no annual habitation check or required service have all been completed. (If any anniversary has been missed, the manufacturer warranty may be void!).

Engineer Aftercare can provide the peace of mind owners want whether you buy privately or from a dealership. An Engineer Aftercare Warranty can be purchased to start immediately or at the end of a dealership one. The aftercare includes Mechanical and electrical components, appliances as well as water ingress to the main vehicle seals up to 7 years. To find out more call us on 01243 264056 or go to buying my Peace of Mind for more details

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