What do you need to know before buying a motorhome?

range of motorhomes parked together

What do you need to know before buying a motorhome?  Here’s our 10 point guide.

1. What type of motorhome should I buy?

To keep things simple we’ll try and group motorhomes into 3 subcategories.  Compact campervans or larger van conversions are usually adapted from small or larger panel vans, such as our Adria Twins.  Their versatility makes them great for supporting active hobbies, holidays & attending festivals.  They are also easy to park and potentially store on the drive at home.  Coachbuilt motorhomes have a caravan-like body built onto a chassis cab, such as our Bailey motorhomes.  They tend to be bigger, have more space and better insulation for all year round use.  Finally, there are the top of range class A motorhomes which have a fully coach-built body and therefore no separate cab.  These vehicles are designed for long trips away and come with the highest level of specification.  If you’re still unsure which type of motorhome would suit you best, pop into our dealerships or perhaps consider hiring a vehicle before buying.

2. What is the best motorhome for the money?

It really depends on your requirements and how you intend to use the vehicle.  The larger van conversions have proved very popular in recent years due to their versatility.  They can double as the family’s first or second car and remain parked on the drive so you can use them quickly for a weekend break or support your outdoor pursuits and interests.  The other motorhomes on the market tend to be used for holidays of a week or more and are equipped with more of your home comforts but will usually be kept in storage yards away from your house which adds to the cost (approximately £5-10 per week depending on the security arrangements at the storage yard).  We might be biased but we feel the Adria Twin and our Bailey motorhomes are 2 of the best examples in each category.

3. How much does a brand new motorhome cost in the UK?

The top of the range class A motorhomes can command a fee far in excess of £100,000 but that is at the top end of the market.  New coach-built motorhomes tend to cost between £50,000 and £90,000 on average depending on the size and specification whilst the van conversions range between approximately £45,000 and £65,000.  As you begin to use your vehicle, your RV will depreciate in a similar manner to your car so consider factors such as mileage, service history and the general condition of the vehicle.

4. Do I need a special driving license?

In general the answer is no, most drivers can drive most motorhomes on a standard license including motorhomes of up to 7500kg.  There is however a limit of 3500kg to all drivers over the age of 70 or a driver licensed since 1st January 1997 unless a medical test or additional test is passed.  These rules concerning your driving license apply to towing caravans as well.

5. Is a difficult to drive a motorhome?

It is no harder than driving a car, particularly the smaller compact caravans or van conversions.  You will need to get accustomed to when driving the larger motorhomes due to their size and visibility.  There are motorhome manoeuvring courses available if you wanted to build your confidence which lasts for a day and are ideal for beginners.

6. Do motorhomes require seat belts for their rear seats?

Seat belts must be fitted and worn in the front seats of motorhomes and most manufacturers fit seat belts to forward facing designated travel seats in the rear.  If seat belts have been fitted to the rear seats then they must be worn.  Seat belts can be fitted to sideways facing designated passenger seats.  Although not illegal, travelling in these seats is not recommended.

7. Can I use my motorhome ‘off grid’?

Yes, you can!  In most cases, your RV will run without any issues on a combination of a 12V battery and gas for a couple of days.  Perfect for a festival or weekend away.  If you are off grid then check how much gas is left in your bottle before you depart because heating the vehicle and powering the fridge will use your supply quickly.  The 12V battery will charge when the motorhome is being driven or it can be topped up using a solar panel.

8. What pitch should I choose when I book a campsite?

This will depend on the size of your motorhome so best to check with the campsite before booking.  In general hardstanding pitches are more suitable but if using grass then check the ground before you drive on to it by digging gin your heel.  Inclement weather in the winter months could make it difficult to leave!

9. What additional motorhome accessories should I order?

There are a number of options but it also comes down to your budget.  You don’t know where a puncture or blow out could strike so fitting Tyron band flat tyre protection can be very useful, particularly if you intend to head ‘off grid’.  Another option would be to fit a spare wheel carrier and spare wheel in case of emergencies.  Bike racks are incredibly popular with motorhome users to save space inside the vehicle.  Other popular add-ons include Diamondbrite which protects your motorhome both inside and out, a Tracker Retrieve System to protect against theft or accidental damage and an awning which is an excellent way to increase your living space at a fraction of the cost.

10. Can I finance a motorhome?

There are a number of flexible finance packages on the market to suit your requirements.   You could potentially finance a motorhome over 10 years with a hire purchase agreement.  Another option is to use PCP (Personal Contract Purchase) where monthly payments can be kept lower by deferring a significant proportion of the amount of credit to the final payment at the end of the agreement.  Using PCP, the Guaranteed Future Value of your vehicle can be calculated and when you are approaching the end of the agreement you will have 3 options – part exchange the motorhome, pay the final lump sum payment to own the vehicle or simply return the unit to the finance company.  Call our sales teams if you wish to have your finance options explained.

For staycation ideas and general all-round convenience, a new motorhome is a great way to tour the country in style. Get in touch if you have any more questions.