Buying a second-hand caravan isn’t much different from buying a new one. When buying a used caravan, you really still look for the same things: quality choices and the best return on your investment. And even though they’re typically cheaper than new models, you may still need assistance from good caravan loans to get it.

The big difference with buying a second-hand caravan, though, is that you have to be more vigilant about ensuring its quality before buying it. After all, most second-hand vehicles have been used before and have naturally gone through some level of wear and tear.

But that’s not to say that you won’t find high-quality second-hand caravans in the market. On the contrary, you’ll often find several high-quality choices from reputable dealers and sellers. The only issue here is that not every choice you encounter will be as good as new, hence the need to be more thorough about ensuring its quality.

If you’re planning on getting a second-hand caravan soon, keep to the following tips to make it more likely that you get what you want.

Essential Tips

Make sure it’s the right vehicle for your needs

Before starting a serious search, it’s always best to make sure that you know exactly what type of vehicle you need. Without this knowledge, you may end up spending money on something that just isn’t right for you. Know what vehicle and features you’re looking for from the beginning, and you’ll be one good step closer to getting the right mobile shelter for you.

Don’t get carried away by the lower prices of most second-hand caravans. No matter how cheap they may be, you’ll still waste money if it’s not the right vehicle for your needs.

Need help deciding between a caravan and a camper? Here’s a basic comparison to help you decide.

Consider your vehicle

No matter how affordable and versatile your chosen caravan may be, it’ll be useless if you won’t be able to take it out on the road legally. Remember that the caravan itself is only one part of your mobile shelter system; your driving vehicle matters too!

Make sure that your vehicle is capable of legally towing your caravan (including its load) before committing to purchase any unit. And this concerns not just the physical act of towing the caravan itself but also any towing regulations that you may have in your state – some states require specific sizes of caravans to be towed only by particular types of trucks or vehicles.

The more you consider how well your caravan matches your personal vehicle, the more likely you’ll find the best choice.

Proper registration and reports

If you’re buying a second-hand caravan from a private individual, make sure it has the proper registrations before committing to purchase it. Double-check that the identified vehicle in the registration document matches the caravan and that there are no outlying issues for transferring it to your name.

Ideally, you also want to request for records of the caravan’s maintenance and repair activities. This will give you a better idea of the caravan’s condition and provide proof of the seller’s integrity.

Purchase from a licenced dealer

If you don’t have much knowledge or experience with caravans, it’s usually best if you purchase it from licenced dealers and re-sellers. This way, you get a better assurance of its quality. Many licenced dealers and re-sellers do their own maintenance checks beforehand, and some even have it serviced before making it available for purchase.

Getting your second-hand caravan from a licenced dealer also makes it more likely that you won’t encounter any legal issues with regards to ownership. Reputable dealers and sellers typically ensure that any second-hand caravan they sell is not tied to any previous debt or legal obligation.

And yes, second-hand caravans from licenced dealers and sellers usually cost more. But they’ll also likely be higher-quality and have more caravan finance options.

Always inspect before you buy

This may seem obvious already, but you’ll be surprised by how many people don’t take the time and effort to do this properly. Never take the word of sellers and dealers (whether professional or private) as the be-all and end-all of your purchase. Instead, inspect the caravan and test it out for yourself.

If you don’t know much about caravans and how to inspect one properly, it’s best that you bring along someone who does. If you have to do it yourself, then do as much research as you can beforehand to make sure you know what warning signs to look for.

Need a Basic Inspection Checklist?

Every second-hand unit is different, but here’s a good rundown of the essential things you should check during your inspection.


  • Unnatural smells and odours
  • Ceilings
  • Walls
  • Benchtops
  • Beds
  • Kitchen
  • Cupboards
  • Bathroom
  • Door and locks
  • Awning
  • Lights
  • Smoke alarm/s
  • Electronics


  • Brake and water lines
  • Chassis
  • Tyres
  • Windows and locks
  • Axles and suspension
  • Water tanks
  • Underfloor
  • Roof
  • Electronics
  • Gas

Get Caravan Finance If Needed

Buying a second-hand caravan may take more time and effort, but if you do it right, you’ll be rewarded with better prices and possibly more value for your money.

Remember, though, that just because you’re buying it second-hand doesn’t mean that it’ll always be much cheaper than buying it new. Caravans often can build up in value over time, especially if it’s a good model and it’s been well taken care of. In such cases, you may still need good caravan loans to help you purchase it. And even if you can afford it outright, you may find the caravan finance rates from some dealers too good to pass up.

Call us on 1300 361 360 if you need more information, or use our online caravan finance calculator for some quick planning.