Check the motorhome’s registration document carefully. In particular, look at the model and type, and taxation class details. Avoid a motorhome whose vehicle registration document carries incorrect details under either of those two headings.
Make sure you buy a motorhome that has a service history. At the very least you should ask to see the previous MOT certificates so that you can check whether or not the claimed mileage is genuine.
Check that the tread on all tyres has worn evenly and that there are no cracks or splits in the walls. Check the inside tyre walls. Uneven tread wear could be an indication of more serious problems, so walk away.
Check the chassis and exhaust system for corrosion. Look for obvious signs of oil leaks and inspect the condition of the hydraulic pipes, electrical cables, water and waste pipes.
Look at the sides of the motorhome, from each end, for signs of dents and other damage. In the case of aluminium sides, also check for signs of corrosion which are likely to manifest itself by tiny pinholes where the paint has come away. Also, signs of paint over-spray can mean a poor bodywork repair following an accident. If it looks serious, it probably is, so walk away. Gaps in the sealant, or sealant which is no longer sticking to the bodywork, are signs that resealing is necessary, which is certain to be expensive. Also, don’t forget to check the roof – a dirty top-side may be concealing damage, for breaks in the sealant.
In the case of a coachbuilt or A-class motorhome, press the walls inside and ceiling firmly to check for any signs of softness which would indicate possible water ingress. In particular, check in the corners under the seats and base units because this is often where water ingress first appears. Stained wallboard is another adverse sign which should not be ignored.
Check all plastic windows in the motorhome for gouges and deep scratch damage. Scratches can often be polished out but deep marks or other damage may mean that the window has to be replaced – a plastic window for a motorhome is an expensive item. While you are examining the windows, gently lift the seal in different areas – if the frame is black, this is almost certainly due to water ingress.
Make sure you walk all over the floor, feeling for soft spots which may indicate delamination. It is possible to repair this but it may be a sign of more significant structural problems, now or in the future.
In the bathroom, check the condition of the sealant around the toilet, shower and basin. If a mat is fitted in the shower tray, lift it to check for cracks in the tray. Depending on the age of the motorhome it can sometimes be impossible to find a replacement for a damaged item such as this.
Ask to see the owners’ manual, and suppliers’ instructions for the various items of equipment in the motorhome. Careful owners will have kept them.
These checks are far from exhaustive, but they offer some areas to think about when looking over the motorhome. A well looked after motorhome will keep its value and could well be a great investment for all those holidays both home and abroad. Just like when buying an expensive car, it is well worth the time looking over your investment thoroughly before parting with your cash.