Buying your VW camper should herald the start of an exciting adventure. But to get the best deal, and make the right decision, avoid the potential pitfalls which can crop up when acquiring any new vehicle. Take your time, and don’t rush into anything.
If you have any doubts, however tempting it may be to drive the van off as its new owner, leave it rather than make a purchase you regret. Seek a second opinion, or ask to take the vehicle for an extended test drive.
Here are a few pointers to help:
Decide how much you afford, and stick to it. Don’t be swayed by some of the more expensive, beautiful vans you may see. Be realistic - and it’s possible to get a great van affordably. Factor in insurance, road tax and other running costs. If repairs are needed, how much will they cost?
Think about how many miles you will be doing in the van, and how many people will be travelling in it. Where will you be storing it?
Familiarise yourself with the various ways of acquiring a VW camper van:
Check out the vendor’s credentials. View the van at the seller’s home, and ensure the address matches the one in the log book. (Information such as chassis and engine number should also tally.) Take someone with you as a witness in case you later find the van has faults. Do a thorough inspection, and check the vehicle’s history. You could run checks with insurance and police databases, to identify thefts, accidents and unpaid hire purchase payments. Pay for someone else to do a full inspection if you wish.
Hang on to the original advert - if you later find the vehicle isn’t as described, tell the police, since the seller has broken the law.
A good selection of new and second-vans are on offer from dealerships. Look around as many as possible, and get a feel for prices and models. Find out which ones offer the widest selection for your budget, and the best service and value for money.
Dealers must inform you of any faults with the van, and how much repairs will cost. This gives you more confidence, but you may also pay more as a result. Dealers often also supply a current MOT and three month warranty.
This is the cheapest, if riskiest, way of acquiring a VW camper van. You can find bargains, but many vehicles are auctioned because they are in poor condition, or the owner wants a quick sale. You may have to pay additional auction fees on top of the sale price.
Only bid for vehicles you have previously decided suit your needs, having carefully checked the details displayed on the windscreen. Decide how much you can bid, and don’t bid more. Look around, under and inside the van if you can, before bidding. When it is driven into the auction, listen out for unhealthy noises.
This can be another way of grabbing a bargain. Many sites list lots of information, including photos, and offer plenty of choice. You can also ask the seller questions, and test drive before bidding. Remember that once you have placed your bid, in the final 24 hours of the auction you can’t change your mind if you do win the van. Stick to your budget and don’t get involved in bidding wars.
Finally, buying through PayPal can offer you some protection.
With so many ways to buy VW camper vans, with a little research, finding the right one for you should be straightforward.