Buying any vehicle is a big investment, especially when you’re going to be sleeping in it. That’s why you need to be careful when buying a camper van on a budget. If you get the wrong one, you can lose money on costly repairs that you never noticed. You can also lose money if the vehicle just isn’t right for you and you sell it later for a loss.
You can easily prevent this from happening by following the steps below. They are general things that you should look for in high-quality camper vans, RVs, and motor homes, but we have kept the budget consumer in mind.
If you need more about all things camper van, along with other nuggets of camping information, you can find more at https://camperguide.org/.
Know Your Budget
First, you need to decide what your budget is. Maybe you know you can’t spend much but you don’t have an exact budget. In those cases, we would advise you to figure out how much you can spend. Hold yourself to this goal, don’t pay too much for a camper van if you can’t comfortably afford it.
We have some of this information below, but you should start setting expectations based on your budget. You’re not going to get a brand new, pristine camper van for a few bucks, after all. That said, conventional wisdom tells us that buying camper vans and RVs fresh off the production line is a fool’s game, the resale market is robust enough that you shouldn’t have any problems finding what you want.
Your budget will determine the age, size, and features of your vehicle. Remember to include potential modifications into your budget, too.
Know Its Purpose
With that covered, let’s delve into what your camper van will be used for. Naturally, it’ll be used for driving and sleeping, travel, but what other features are necessary for you to stay in it for a long period?
If you have an itinerary or a list of your foreseeable journeys, you’ll quickly get a sense of what you’re looking for. For short journeys to places where there are external resources, you won’t need a large camper. You should expect every camper van worth buying to have food-making and hygiene facilities, too. You should also work out how many people you expect to be there with you. Is it just you? A couple? Or are you a whole family?
Remember that it’s still a vehicle, so it needs to be suitable to the ways you were taught to drive. It should preferably have the right wheels for the terrain you want to tackle. From there, you should consider things like AC or heating for dealing with the climate and electrical appliances for a plugged-in family. Some people even work from their camper vans.
Embrace Age & Mileage
If you’re working with a budget, you’re going to get a vehicle that is older and has more miles behind it. Fortunately, that’s not such a bad thing.
As we said, the overwhelming majority of RVs and camper vans are re-sold. The price difference between a brand new vehicle and an owned, lived-in one is drastic, so most buy second-hand. There is even a cottage industry where people buy camper vans, fix them up, and flip them for profit. Keep in mind that, like most vehicles, camper vans are a depreciating asset.
With that in mind, expect to get a vehicle that is older than many other models and has a lot of miles logged. High mileage can even indicate a vehicle’s endurance since it’s still moving after a lot of time and use, but it does mean things can still go wrong.
Test It First
Before committing to any decision, you should first give the camper van a test drive. First, inspect the camper van to make sure that it isn’t visibly damaged. If there are electronics and appliances, ask to test them to see if they work. Check the waterworks for any leaks, too.
Then you should test drive the vehicle. This will let you feel how it moves and handles and help you better anticipate how your journeys will go. Any obvious engine or brake issues will make themselves known during a test drive too, so it’s important to check how the camper van works as a vehicle.