Buy­ing a mo­torhome

Weekend Herald - - MOTORSPORT -

For many Ki­wis, dust­ing off the old tent from last sum­mer and set­ting off on an ad­ven­ture is the high­light of the year.

Oth­ers dread wak­ing in a tent; pre­fer­ring to travel in a mo­torhome. The only is­sue is the price. Buy­ing new can cost any­where from $ 85,000 for a built- up van to $ 300,000 for the ul­ti­mate mo­torhome ma­chine.

For those on stricter bud­gets, a used mo­torhome is the only op­tion when you want to avoid a leak­ing tent. But, with so many used mo­torhomes on the mar­ket, it’s im­por­tant you know ex­actly what you’re buy­ing. Pop­u­lar des­ti­na­tions for these ve­hi­cles tend to be on the coast or in the moun­tains, so it is im­por­tant to pay at­ten­tion not just to the struc­ture, but un­der­neath the ve­hi­cle. Check for cor­ro­sion on the chas­sis, the hitch and sus­pen­sion as these re­pairs can be costly. Look for paint­work in­con­sis­ten­cies as well as overuse of sealant as this may be cov­er­ing some­thing a tad more se­ri­ous. Much like a house, as these ve­hi­cles age, the seals and rub­ber com­po­nents that keep the wa­ter out can de­te­ri­o­rate, and the in­te­rior fit­tings can suf­fer. If pos­si­ble, have a look at the ve­hi­cle on a rainy day to dis­cover any leaks. Look for damp­ness and check in­te­rior wood­work as this can swell and, in more ex­treme cases, rot. Mould and mildew are also warn­ing signs. All fit­tings in­side mo­torhomes are cer­ti­fied by the man­u­fac­turer or through a lowvol­ume ve­hi­cle cer­ti­fier to be con­sid­ered safe for New Zealand roads. Apart from mi­nor in­te­rior ad­just­ments, se­ri­ous mod­i­fi­ca­tions to the in­te­rior will re­quire re­cer­ti­fi­ca­tion. En­sure the ve­hi­cle size meets your needs.

As for the equip­ment, take time to en­sure ev­ery­thing is up to scratch. Check the op­er­a­tion of the oven, fridge, shower, plumb­ing, sock­ets and gas cylin­der. It might be worth get­ting ev­ery­thing checked by a qual­i­fied elec­tri­cian. En­sure the mo­torhome has a cur­rent War­rant of Fit­ness ( WoF) or Cer­tifi­cate of Fit­ness ( CoF) if over 3.5 tonnes. It might also re­quire an elec­tri­cal or gas cer­tifi­cate, so check these are valid. The next step is to in­ves­ti­gate the ser­vice his­tory, which is ex­tremely im­por­tant for ve­hi­cles sus­cep­ti­ble to high kilo­me­tres. Check when the ve­hi­cle was last ser­viced, tyres re­placed and when the tim­ing belt was changed. Check for smoke, oil leaks, ser­vice stick­ers and gen­eral wear and tear. A pre- pur­chase in­spec­tion by a qual­i­fied me­chanic will help

erase con­cerns. Were­c­om­mend tak­ing the mo­torhome for a thor­ough test drive be­fore open­ing your wal­let. If this is your first time be­hind the wheel of a large ve­hi­cle, you may want the owner to be a co- pi­lot. Turn the mu­sic off, ease the con­ver­sa­tion and lis­ten for any­thing out of the or­di­nary, in­clud­ing the liv­ing quar­ters be­hind you. With long drives ahead, com­fort should be a top pri­or­ity. Take it for a good drive, and feel free to take the kids along to en­sure ev­ery­one will be a happy camper.

Like buy­ing a house, buy­ing a mo­torhome can be time­con­sum­ing. Take your time to thor­oughly check over prospec­tive rigs to en­sure you end up with a mo­torhome that will bring you great plea­sure down the road.

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