Why would you have a caravan pre-purchase inspection ?
I had a phone call recently from a lady who booked me to do a pre-purchase inspection on a caravan they wanted to buy. They lived in the West Midlands, the van was in Church Stretton in Shropshire and they were phoning me from Cornwall! It turned out they were away on holiday in their caravan, but they had seen another one eBay that they liked. The auction was ending soon and they hadn’t seen the van in the flesh, so they contacted me to ask if I would go and check it out for them.
An inspection report is like a service but on a lesser scale. We still check that everything is working, we still do a damp check and we still check the electrics and gas. We don’t strip down the wheels and hub (even though we do check the wheel bearings for play) and we don’t lubricate or do all the other stuff that is typically done on a service.
The van was beautiful, it was 10 years old but it looked in showroom condition inside. The plastic was still on the carpet and the seats looked like they had never been sat on. Everything was checking out, the electrics were fine, the gas tested tight, no play in the bearings, the appliances worked on all fuels, the van was looking like a bargain…. until I did the damp report.
Almost every caravan has damp, it’s almost a foregone conclusion that you will find some damp somewhere, and find it I did. The top rear corners hard 70% damp in one place and around it was 30-40% damp. Damp is caused when water seeps in from the exterior panels and joints and gets stuck in between the plastic coated wallboard on the inside and the aluminium skin on the outside.
Damp is assessed in stages. Up to 15% is ‘normal’, most things have a moisture content and 15% is an acceptable reading in caravans. Over 20% and up to 30% is classed as ‘damp’ but so long as the water ingress source can be traced and sealed there is may be no further action needed other than to monitor that the readings are reducing over time. 30% and above is classed as ‘damp requiring action’ which means the source needs to be found and sealed, and the areas damaged by the damp need to be repaired and replaced.
Obviously in this case the high damp readings meant that if the lady bought the van she would be in for some costly repairs, needless to say, when I gave her the report she withdrew from the sale. It was a real shame, the vendor was a really nice guy who genuinely didn’t know about the damp and apart from that issue the van was immaculate, but it just goes to show why caravan engineers offer the services they do. My customer paid me for a few hours work, but saved herself thousands of pounds in repair bills.
If you are looking for a second hand caravan – or are thinking of selling yours, please call me to discuss having a caravan pre-purchase inspection done on 07970 250168