A Guide to Buying a Motorhome

Whether you’re looking to take your motorhome out for weekends away or perhaps are looking for a home away from home for an extended break as you drive through Europe, motorhomes can bring so much flexibility to every trip. But, before you buy a motorhome, make sure to read our guide, so you make the right decision for your needs.

What Different Types Of Motorhome Are There?

Motorhomes come in a wide range of designs and styles. Here are just a few of the types you might find in your search

A-Class Motorhomes – These are the top end motorhomes. They are well thought out and come with all the newest features. They can be huge, and some even have their own garages so you can bring along a second small car, or a motorbike inside the motor home.

Overcap Bed Motorhomes – These are very distinctive and easy to spot. You can see the moulding extends over the cab. This has space for a double bed. These motorhomes are very popular with families, and they have good resale value.

Rising Roof Campervans – These have a roof space that you can put up when you set up camp. This allows you to have a shorter vehicle while you are driving around, which can make parking a lot easier. They are compact enough that you can easily drive them every day.

Tip: If you can, rent a motorhome similar to the one you are thinking of buying. This will give you a chance to try it out before you commit to buying it.

What Should You Consider When You Are Looking At A Motorhome?

As you are trying out and looking at a motorhome, there are some questions you should ask yourself. The first one is about storage. Is there enough for your needs, and is it where you want it? As you look around think about where you would put all your things. Will it work for you?

Are all the beds comfortable? The only way to know is to try them out. Try all of the beds and lie in them for a little while. This will give you a real idea of if you will be happy to sleep in them.

Does the kitchen have everything you need? Do you need a shower and a toilet? Ultimately it would be best if you thought about what you plan to do in your motorhome and try it out before you buy. Remember, toilet and show facilities will need emptying, which can be very unpleasant. If you plan only to visit campsites with facilities then you may not need bathroom facilities on board.

Tip: Having a shower in a motorhome can be a big selling point. But, make sure you try getting into it to see if it is actually useable for you.

What Driving License Do You Need To Drive A Motorhome?

If you got your license before 1997, then you may be able to drive any size motorhome with no limitations. If you got your license after 1997 then your standard license allows you to drive anything up to 3.5 tonnes. Some of the bigger motorhomes have weights that exceed this amount. Make sure to check the weights before you fall in love. The category code you need to check is C1 for loads between 3.5 and 7.5 tonnes. Category C is for motorhomes with a weight of over 7.5 tonnes.

Tip: If you have a newer license but want to drive a larger motorhome, then you can take an additional driving test. This will allow you to drive or tow loads of up to 7 tonnes.

Does The Time Of Year Affect The Price?

The busiest times for buying motorhomes is between April and September. If you buy outside of these times, then you are more likely to be able to haggle for a good deal. The end of the camping season is also a good time to catch some discounts. Dealers need to clear the old stock to make room for the new models. This can be a chance to bag a bargain.

Tip: The end of summer is the time when prices start to fall.

Should You Buy A  New Or Used Motorhome?

There are benefits to both options here. A brand new motor home will have the most modern features, both for driving and living. You can get exactly what you want, and you know that your motorhome has the manufacturer’s warranty behind it.

Buying a used motorhome offers you a good value proposition. Since motorhomes, like cars, lose around 20% of their value as soon as you drive them off the lot, buying a used one means you don’t have to suffer this loss. A used campervan has already been stress-tested, if there were any kinks then they already have been worked out.

It really is a matter of preference and budget. There is no wrong choice here either option can work for you.

Tip: Motorhome Shows can be a great place to find and try out new motorhomes.

What Should You Check For In A Used Motorhome?

You should make a point of checking the condition of the tyres on a used motorhome. Because they are not an everyday vehicle, the tread is probably fine. However, infrequent use can lead to cracks developing in the tyre walls. You would expect the tyres to be changed no more than four years ago, even if the tread looks fine.

You should expect to be provided will the full documentation for the vehicle. This should include the owners manual and a full service history.

Make a point to check for any signs of damp. Because motorhomes are often taken to a variety of climates, they are at higher risk for damage to seals. This can allow water to get in. Signs of damp include stains, mould and the distinctive ‘damp smell’.

Tip: When you are looking at the service records for a used motorhome, make sure that the living quarters were also serviced. There are gas and electrical systems that need maintenance.