6 Things to Consider When Looking at Campervans for Sale

woman sitting at the roof of a campervan
@journeys_by_chelsea

Starting to hunt for campervans for sale can be both an exciting and stressful time. If you’re considering vanlife and looking at the campervan market, you’ll soon realise that it can be overwhelming with so many different vans out there for sale. However, if you know what you need to look for, it can all become a lot easier.

From knowing your budget to looking at the service history of the vehicle, we’re going to take a look at 6 things that you need to consider when looking at campervans for sale. No matter whether you’re scouring Facebook Marketplace or browsing a Used Car Dealership, these are things you’ll want to keep in mind.

1. What is Your Budget?

@yeyeaustralia

The first thing you should think about before looking for campervans for sale is what your budget might be. This will all come down to what you’re willing to spend on your dream van. Prices can vary wildly depending on a range of things like, how old the vehicle is, kilometres on the odometer, make and model, whether it’s converted already, and what kind of accessories or appliances it might come with.

You’ll need to work out how much you’re willing to spend and then look at what vans are available within your budget. For example, if your budget is $5,000 this may limit you to a simple van layout and older or smaller vans. On the other end, if your budget is $50,000, you could realistically search for more modern, high roof and larger vans.

Having said this, you should also consider other costs that might be involved once you buy the vehicle. Things like registration, roadworthy certificate, changeover fees, insurance, and any other additional costs you might incur, should also be taken into account when looking at vans within your budget.

2. What Type of Van Would You Like?

@project.physio

The big question for most soon to be vanlifers is what type of van do you actually want. There are all different sizes, shapes, types, makes and models out there on the road, so you’ll want to think seriously about what van would suit your needs. From long wheelbase Mercedes Sprinters to a more compact Toyota Hiace, there will be something to suit the van lifestyle that you’re dreaming about.

Some of the main considerations when looking at different types of vans are:

  • Roof height (fixed roof, pop top, high roof)
  •  Length of the vehicle (short, medium or long wheel base)
  •  4×4 or 2WD
  • Manual or automatic transmission

Depending on your preferences for these key considerations, you’ll then be able to narrow down your search.

3. Are You Looking for a Converted Campervan or Blank Canvas?

Converted or blank canvass campervan, campervans for sale
@shackonwheels

You should also think about whether you’re looking for campervans for sale that are already converted, or empty shells which are a blank canvas for your ideal van conversion. If you want to get on the road as soon as possible and are not interested in getting your hands dirty with hard labour, then you’ll probably be looking for converted campervans that are already done. You’ll often find either professionally converted or DIY converted vans for sale when people have finished big trips or are moving on from vanlife.

However, if you have a dream van layout that you want to bring to life, it’s likely that you want a blank canvas to start. Buying an empty van means that you can design your van layout just how you want it. Although, this does mean a lot of hard work if you’re planning on doing it yourself or you can always find a local van builder in your area to fit it out for you.

4. Service History, Odometer and Year of the Vehicle

@roaming_folk

As with buying any vehicle, the mechanics and safety should be a top priority when looking at campervans for sale. Even if you don’t have much knowledge in this area, there are some basic things to look out for. 

  1. Year of the vehicle
    • A newer van will likely be more modern and usually have lower kilometres with a younger motor. An older van on the other hand, may be starting to get tired, so you might have to consider potential mechanical costs in the near future.
  2. Kilometres on the odometer
    • The odometer can also be a good measure of vehicle health and safety. While some makes and models tend to do more kilometres than others, anything with high mileage will likely be getting worn out. You might want to do some research on particular models and how well they fare with high kilometres on the clock.
  3. Service history
    • When you’re looking at campervans for sale, it’s worth asking the owner for the logbook or service history. This is a good indicator of whether the van has been well looked after. If it’s been serviced regularly, it should mean that it will likely run better and for much longer than a vehicle that has been neglected.

5. Fuel Consumption and Efficiency

A small but nonetheless important factor when looking at vans is how efficient it is on fuel. This all depends on the make and model and also the year, with newer models generally being more efficient. 

The owner will have a good idea about how many kilometres you might get out of a tank or you can always do some online research. If you’re getting into vanlife to live a more financially free lifestyle, fuel consumption is something you might want to consider when buying a campervan.

6. Roadworthy and Other Inspections

Women standing at her campervan, campervans for sale
@indefinitewander

Finally, the last thing to ask the owner is whether the vehicle is roadworthy. A roadworthy inspection is required when buying and selling or re-registering a vehicle and must be done at a proper mechanic. Sometimes sellers will get the roadworthy for you, which will mean that the van will undergo basic checks and inspections.

If you still want to be sure that a vehicle is mechanically sound, then you can actually get a vehicle inspection done prior to buying. Some mechanics and insurance companies offer a pre-purchase inspection, such as RACV (for Victorians) or NRMA (for New South Wales residents). They charge a fee, but it will give you an idea of what might be happening under the bonnet if you don’t know much about mechanics yourself.

7. Conclusion

Taking all these things into consideration when looking at campervans for sale will definitely help make the process easier for you. There’s so much to think about when buying a van and it can be a sizable investment that you will want to get right.

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