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Inspecting Your Dream Campervan: 12 Key Checks Before Sealing The Deal

Congratulations! You stand on the brink of purchasing your dream campervan, prepared to explore the world from a unique home-on-wheels perspective. Buying a campervan is an exhilarating venture. However, it also represents a significant investment that demands careful scrutiny and thoughtful inspection. 

That’s where this guide becomes invaluable. Here, you’ll learn how to thoroughly inspect a campervan, from the engine to the interiors, setting the stage for smooth adventures free from unforeseen hitches. The goal is to give you the essential knowledge to make an informed decision when you finally spot those tantalizing ‘campervans for sale’ signs.

1. Mechanical Health 

When encountering a listing of campervans for sale, the vehicle’s mechanical health should be your initial focus. Listen for unusual sounds during engine start-up, check fluid levels, and request service records. Does the campervan start without a struggle, and does the engine emit a smooth, steady hum? 

Routine maintenance is a pillar for the longevity of any campervan. A well-maintained service log indicates a diligent owner who has cared for the vehicle’s upkeep. If you find missing entries or irregularities, delve deeper to understand the reasons behind them. 

2. Body Condition 

Another critical area deserving attention is the body of the campervan. Be alert for signs of rust, scratches, dents, or evidence of previous mishaps. Each dent, however minor, can hint at potential concealed damage. 

Give the underside of the vehicle a special assessment. Look for signs of rust or any fluid leaks. Unusual weld marks could suggest significant past repairs or accidents. 

3. Interior Inspection 

The interior of the campervan, your future living space, merits close inspection. Check the state of the furnishings, the functionality of appliances, and restroom cleanliness. 

If the campervan includes a kitchen, ensure all appliances are in working order. A malfunctioning fridge or stove can not only hamper your travel experience but also lead to costly repairs. Similarly, check for leaks, stains, or unpleasant odors inside the campervan. 

Woman and man choosing camper van

4. Electrical Systems 

The campervan’s electrical system is another critical component to assess. Test all lights, the AC unit, the battery, the inverter, and any additional electrical appliances. 

Examine the electrical cables for any signs of wear and tear. Be on the lookout for frayed wires or loose connections, as they could pose a safety risk. 

5. Insulation 

Proper insulation is vital for a comfortable campervan trip. Inspect the insulation in the walls, roof, and floor. Do they feel warm or cold? Do you spot any condensation or dampness on the surfaces? 

Good insulation should keep the heat in during winter and out during summer. Insufficient insulation can lead to problems like condensation, mold growth, and even structural damage to the campervan. 

6. Plumbing 

The plumbing system’s quality in a campervan directly influences your convenience and comfort on the road. Check for leaks around the water tank, faucets, pipes, and toilet. Turn on the taps and shower to ensure they function correctly and the water pressure is acceptable. 

Additionally, scrutinize the grey and black water systems which handle wastewater from your sinks and toilet. Confirm the tanks are leak-free and the drainage systems work efficiently. 

Lastly, examine the water heating system. Does it deliver hot water quickly and efficiently? Depending on your needs and travel destinations, a reliable hot water system can be crucial in your campervan. 

7. Safety Equipment 

Safety should remain paramount when selecting a campervan. Your future mobile home should have essential safety equipment installed and functioning optimally, including fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, and a carbon monoxide detector. 

Review the first aid kit. A comprehensive kit is vital for treating minor injuries or medical emergencies on the road. Confirm it’s well-stocked and that none of the contents have expired. 

Assess the campervan for emergency exits. In case of mishaps, having more than one way to exit the vehicle swiftly is crucial. Verify the windows and doors can open easily from the inside. 

8. Mileage 

A campervan’s mileage could provide insights into its overall condition. High mileage might suggest increased wear and tear, while low mileage could hint at potential issues from underuse, such as hardened seals and dry tires. 

Remember, mileage should be considered alongside other factors like maintenance records, the age of the campervan, and its overall condition. It’s not the only determinant but an essential part of the puzzle. 

inspecting the camper van

9. Tires And Suspension 

Don’t disregard the tires and suspension of your prospective campervan. Well-maintained tires aren’t just about smooth driving; they’re crucial for safety. Check the tire treads for evidence of uneven wear and tear. Make sure the spare tire is in good condition and properly inflated. 

Inspect the suspension for any signs of excessive wear. Does the campervan maintain a level stance or lean to one side? Take the vehicle for a test drive and notice how it manages bumps and turns. A worn-out suspension can lead to an uncomfortable ride and higher maintenance costs in the future. 

10. Storage Space 

A memorable road trip in your dream campervan requires adequate storage space. Critically evaluate the available storage spaces. Do the cupboards, closets, and drawers open and close smoothly? Is there under-seat or under-bed storage? 

Consider the items you’ll need on your trips, from clothing and toiletries to kitchen gear, tools, and outdoor equipment. Sufficient, efficient storage will ensure you can pack all your essentials without overcrowding your living area. 

Additionally, inspect the exterior storage compartments. Confirm they’re waterproof and secure. External storage is ideal for items like folding chairs, grills, and other pieces you prefer not to store inside the campervan. 

11. Documentation 

Don’t forget to scrutinize the campervan’s documentation thoroughly. The paperwork should include details like vehicle registration, insurance papers, service records, and any warranties on appliances or other components. Ensure the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) matches the one on the campervan. 

Ask about the vehicle’s history. Has it been involved in an accident? If so, what repairs were made? This information can provide valuable insights into potential issues that might arise later. Remember, transparency about the vehicle’s past is a good sign of a trustworthy seller. 

12. Price Comparison 

Before sealing the deal, conduct a price comparison with other similar campervans for sale. Consider the model, year, mileage, condition, and additional features. This will ensure you’re paying a fair price for your dream campervan. 

Remember, the cheapest campervan may not be the best deal, and the most expensive one may not be the most luxurious. Value for money comes from getting a reliable, well-maintained campervan that meets all your needs. 


Buying your dream campervan is a thrilling journey with the potential for memorable adventures. With this comprehensive inspection guide, you’re well-equipped to navigate the sea of campervans available on the market. 

By thoroughly scrutinizing each aspect, from mechanical health to price comparison, you ensure the journey ahead is smooth, enjoyable, and free from avoidable roadblocks. Enjoy your travels! 

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