Think you’ve found a good deal on a second-hand Caravan or Camper Trailer? It could be amazing but is it worth the risk? Mars Campers puts forward the case on buying new with some handy advice on what to watch out for when buying second-hand.

Enjoy the latest technology

Right now, the caravan and camping industry is undergoing a technology boom. Our rigs are getting smarter, solar’s getting lighter and batteries are lasting longer for an easier, comfortable stay. And while you can retrofit some of this technology, packaging it at the factory ensures everything is within legal weights and mitigates a risky DIY or an expensive install.

Cape York Camper
Cape York Camper

Sometimes damage is hidden

You never truly know a rig’s past. While experienced eyes may pick up stress points on a poorly treated vehicle, some wear remains hidden. The seller themselves may not even be aware. The suspension setup may look good but faded dampers, for example, will affect its performance. And if left unchecked, the cumulative impact can compromise the trailer or caravan elsewhere.

Other neglected areas include bearings.

Has it been rebirthed?

Now here’s a scary reason to reconsider buying second-hand from an unauthorised dealer. An unscrupulous few are ‘rebirthing’ written-off rigs disguising them as new. This can cause problems when it comes time to register your rig. So look at the compliance plate for clues and check for signs of obvious tampering.

Benefit from product evolution

Mars Campers prides itself on developing good design from the get-go but we’re always testing our gear and listening to what our customers have to say. In fact, some of our best features result from tweaks along the way. Our newer tents enjoy better airflow and tools are easier to access on our Forward Folds, thanks to the experience of years.

Parts replacements

If you’re investing in a used RV, particularly a very old model requiring restoration parts availability can be true bug bear. Replacing a mouldy or torn tent, for example, can be costly assuming you find something that fits. We test all elements on our new campers and caravans and our service centre stocks replacement parts for all current models.

And you’re also covered by our new products warranty.

Choose what you want

When you’re buying second-hand you’re investing in someone else’s dream. Which means you could end up going without an essential comfort or towing features you simply don’t need. But when you’re buying a new camper you’ve got a greater say on choosing the features you want and forgoing those you don’t need.

Home mods

Every camper that leaves our factory meets all relevant Australian Design Standards so that it’s safe and easy to tow. But when you’re investing in second-hand that’s not always guaranteed. Experimental DIY mods can impact a rig’s towing dynamics and affect the weight as stated on your compliance plate. Amendments on the drawbar are particularly risky.

Top tips for better buying

If your heart’s set on a second-hand camper it’s important to inspect it carefully and stay objective. If you’re not a mechanic bring along a friend who knows what to look for.

And bring a torch, a power outlet tester and a few meters if you can. Don’t be afraid to take images if you’re unsure.

  • Are you getting what you’re paying for? Look for unexplained bolt-holes. Check the water; the towing lights; and any power outlets. Are the appliances working?
  • Look underneath. Any water stains? Or irregular weld marks indicating major repairs?
  • How are you buying your rig? Some states mandate short-term warranties on second-hand vehicles sold through dealerships but laws are less protective on those sourced privately or at auction
  • Notice any newly-painted surfaces? Consider giving it the once over with a rust detector
  • Are all bits included? Set it up fully on inspection
  • Is there a service history?
  • You’ve seen the compliance plate but how much does it truly weigh?
  • Can you take it for a test drive?
  • Is the tread wear even on the tyres?
  • And check the battery voltage: if it’s full it will read 12.75V at 12V it’s less than half flat
  • Is the seller willing to show you the tent setup up for inspection?
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The Next Steps

If you need help choosing the next camper trailer or are thinking about upgrading your existing one, contact the Mars team today. We’d be happy to help and answer any inquiries you have about your camper trailers.