Top 10 tips for buying a motorhome
blog / advice / holiday / family
So you’ve decided to buy a motorhome, but where to start? There are many options to consider as it will be your home from home on all your trips away! Be sure to do your research and consider every aspect of your purchase fully.
Winchester Caravans and Motorhomes offer a range of 2, 4, 5 and 6-berth motorhomes as well as VW campervans, so we have plenty to choose from, whatever your requirements are.
1.MOTORHOME OR CAMPERVAN?
Do you fancy a motorhome or campervan? A motorhome offers much more space, but a campervan is compact and easier to manoeuvre and park. One of the main things to consider with the two choices is that when you want to go anywhere, you will be taking the entire vehicle with you, unless you tow another vehicle on a trailer behind or your partner drives the car separately.
If you don’t take a car with you, when you wish to go out for the day, you’ll have to go in your leisure vehicle. Obviously this will be trickier in a motorhome as it will probably be between 6 and 7.5 metres in length. Campervans are smaller, measuring between 4.9 and 5.3m approximately.
Remember though that the extra length of a motorhome will give you bags more space inside - a bigger kitchen, the option of a fixed bed should you wish and of course, the all-important shower room, which campervans do not have. Lots to think about!
What can you drive on your existing licence? Take a look at your licence as it will tell you the groups you are allowed to drive. If you passed your car driving test before 1 January 1997, you are under 70 and have no medical conditions restricting your licence, you can drive a motorhome up to 7,500kg Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM) or 8,250kg with a trailer.
The standard driving licence issued to drivers passing their test today covers categories B and B1. This means you can drive a vehicle up to 3,500kg (B) and tow a trailer up to 750kg behind it. As a result, many new motorhomes are built with a MAM of 3,500kg.
Please also bear in mind that when you load up your vehicle for a trip away, you will be adding weight to it. So you’ll need to ensure that the weight you are adding does not take you over your weight limit, especially if your licence is post 1997 with the 3,500kg limit.
3.USE V SIZE
Before you start properly looking, have a think about three things: how many people are in your family/party, what you will realistically use the vehicle for and what size will suit those needs best. Are you a couple? A family of three, four or more? Are you planning on just occasional weekends away close to home or regular weekends away plus longer holidays too?
Once you’ve figured out these factors, it should narrow down the selection for you. Couples have the greatest choice as they could make any option work - a more compact campervan or 2-berth motorhome or something larger if they want to spread out. Families of four or more may choose to go for a 4, 5 or 6-berth motorhome to give themselves more space.
If you’re only planning occasional weekends away, space won’t be as important, but if you’re thinking about making the weekends a regular thing or considering extended holidays, extra space will make all the difference.
Remember that campervans do not come with toilet or shower facilities so they are not entirely self-contained as motorhomes are. But there are plenty of fantastic campsites all over the UK and beyond, providing great toilet and shower blocks for guest use.
How many berths do you need to accommodate your party or family? Campervans come in 2 and 4-berth options making them ideal for couples or families with one or two young children. Motorhomes offer 2, 4, 5 and 6-berth variations, providing larger families - or indeed couples and smaller families - with more space.
5.CHOOSE THE LAYOUT TO SUIT YOU
There are many different layouts to choose from when it comes to motorhomes. One of the biggest decisions to make it is whether you want fixed beds or ones that fold away to provide more living space? There are also many choices when it comes to the beds themselves - do you want a French bed, Island bed, Transverse bed or Single beds?
A French bed will allow you to have the bedroom next to the shower room, but will mean that the person next to the wall has to climb over their partner to get out and that the person nearest the door will have less leg space as the end of the bed will slant off. An Island bed will mean that there is access to it from both sides, which is fair.
Single beds are good as they offer a more spacious sleep if you are happy to sleep separately from your partner. These often come in motorhomes that are on the longer side, which is something to keep in mind if you decide single beds are your favourite option. A Transverse bed is good for tall people as the width of most motorhomes is at least 2m. The downside is that the person sleeping near the wall will have to climb over their partner to get out.
Also consider where you would like your shower room located within the vehicle as there are many options and you can even opt to have your shower separate from the toilet and basin, which is advantageous, particularly for families.
There are also many different seating options to choose from. Even if you go for a fixed double bed for yourself and your partner, you could still opt for fold away beds for the kids as this will give you more seating space to use during the day
Having adequate storage is important as there will be lots of things that you’ll need to take with you and you don’t want to be tripping over stuff every time you move around! Check out which models offer the best storage - both cupboards inside the vehicle and if opting for a motorhome, investigate which models have ‘garages’ and which don’t. ‘Garages’ are storage spaces underneath or at the back of motorhomes that offer space to store larger items such as bicycles, scooters, outdoor furniture and BBQs etc. These are often accommodated by raising the bed levels to create space underneath.
7.SPEC MUST HAVES
Make a list of all the facilities that you’d like your leisure vehicle to have. Which are essential and which are just nice extras? These can help you decide between different models and will make you realise what are deal breakers are what aren’t. Some things that you may wish your vehicle to have include:
Shower room, including toilet
Microwave and hob
Reversing camera for easy parking
Once you’ve narrowed your choice down to a few options, go online and read some reviews. It’s great to hear what other people think of the models you’re interested in - they’ll have actually lived in them and will be able to list the pros and cons of them from experience. So often, it’s actually using something that makes us realise its good and bad bits!
9.TEST DRIVE IT!
Many people decide on their leisure vehicle by the layout of the inside of it, the size and what facilities it has to offer. But keep in mind that you have to drive it too, so you need to make sure that you like the feel of it before you buy! Once you’re sure everything else about the model is right for you, ask to take it for a test drive. When out, check that you like the driving position, try parking it to see how easy or difficult it is and listen out for any irregularities in the engine. If possible, take someone with you who is mechanically-minded and ask them to give it the once over!
10.WHERE WILL YOU PARK IT?
Before purchasing, make sure that you have sufficient space to park the vehicle on your drive, or wherever you’re planning to store it. Check the measurements - some motorhomes can be pretty big and you’ll want to ensure that it will definitely fit!
We have a range of high quality, low mileage motorhomes for you to choose from. You can browse our range online and then email us for more information. We can contact you to arrange viewings when we reopen shortly.
Get in touch or give us a call on 01962 714844.
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