Skip to the content

Advice for first time buying:

Independent towing and buying information

Buying a Touring Caravan is a major expense so it is important to get it right. Take time to decide what you are going to use it for, e.g. major holidays, week-ends away, travelling abroad. You don't want to go on your first trip and then think...

"Oh I wish we had bought one with ......". Don't rush into it by buying the first one that you see.
Do you know what you are looking for? If so, you would probably be happy buying a second-hand caravan. If not, you may be better purchasing either a new caravan and one with a dealers warranty. If something goes wrong at least you have someone to call to get help
When buying a second hand caravan it is important that you check various aspects which are listed below.
As with all vehicles that sit outside for a good portion of their lives, caravans often suffer from rust. This can be a major and expensive problem to sort out. The main areas are under the caravan and near the chassis. 

Check the tow hitch - ensure it does not stick when it is moved. Also check the handbrake works adequately. 

Check for damp in the caravan. Look around the windows for any signs. Check the pipes for any signs of leaking. 

Check the internal equipment - lighting, heating, furniture, cooker etc.

Check that all the caravan keys are available and correct.

Check the awning is in good condition if it has one. 

If buying privately we would recommend you ensure:

Check that the caravan chassis number has not been removed or altered.

Check if it's registered with the Caravan Registration and Identification Scheme (CRiS) , if it is you can check its history through this scheme. You can then ask the seller to fill in the Notification of Sale section on the back of the Touring Caravan Registration Document and send it to CRiS. The seller should then give you the rest of the Touring Caravan Registration Document and you must fill in the Notification of Changes section and send it to CRiS with the appropriate registration fee. 

Check to see that the Vehicle Identification Numbers (VIN) etched on the windows match the CRiS details. 

Check that the number plate is the same on the caravan and the tow car. Be wary if temporary or handwritten number plates are being used. 

Check to see if any security devices that may have been fitted to the caravan by the seller. 

Check to see if it has been electronically tagged. You may also want to check with both major caravanning clubs to reassure yourself that the caravan has not been previously stolen if you have any doubts about the seller. 

The information in this guide is intended as a guide. It is as accurate at the time of publication as the editor is able to make it. Neither the Editor nor the NTTA nor any other person or company associated with the production of this guide accepts any responsibility for any inaccuracies which may be in the text.

Never buy caravans in pub car parks or motorway service stations. If you are meeting the seller at a house, always check that it is their home as thieves have been known to use the driveway of an empty house to sell stolen caravans.

It is the responsibility of any person wishing to depend on the facts contained in the NTTA's website to check for themselves with original documentation or any updating regulations, instruments or changes 

Matching the Trailer with the Towing Vehicle – Advice From National Trailer & Towing Association

It is important that the vehicle you use to pull your trailer is adequate for the job.

· Check that the engine is large enough to tow the trailer and load.

· Check that the brakes are powerful enough to stop the vehicle and trailer safely. 

· Check that the Trailer Gross Weight does not exceed the Towing Capacity of the Towing vehicle. 
The addition of a loaded trailer to a vehicle will inevitably have a very serious effect on the vehicle's performance. Starting, particularly on hills, can be much more laboured; stopping can take longer distances; cornering and negotiating sharp bends requires extra care.

Consider all these things very carefully when choosing and loading (and towing) your trailer. The paragraphs which follow, refer to the data that is relevant to your choice. See "The Law"
The most important check is the vehicle manufacturer's recommended towing limit, which should be in vehicle manufacturer's handbook and on the VIN plate on the chassis.

A good rule of thumb, for safety and stability, when towing a caravan, is the 85% figure recommended for caravans by the Caravan Club. This suggests that you should not tow a caravan that weighs more than 85% of the towing vehicle's kerb weight. (as long as 85% does not exceed the vehicle manufacturer's recommended towing limit. (The kerb weight is defined as the weight of the vehicle plus a full tank of petrol and 75kg (for the driver and luggage).)
Police Forces use the manufacturer's recommended towing limit as their guide. Under no circumstances should the vehicle's gross train weight be exceeded. You should also refer to limitations on overall length, details can be found in this guide that deal with trailer dimensions.
For further information please see National Trailer & Towing Association -

The service was fabulous! I would highly recommend Tenby Tourers to anyone.

Mrs R Morris Saundersfoot

Tenby Tourers

Tenby Tourers,
A67 8QE


Pop down to our show grounds and check out our extensive range.

Tenby Tourers