Do caravans have a logbook?

In this article, we will explain: Do caravans have a logbook? We will discuss what to pay attention to when buying a second-hand caravan and the importance of the VIN or CRiS number.

Do caravans have a logbook?

No, caravans do not have a logbook, as it is not mandatory by law. Some of them will have a logbook, but the truth is that you can’t trust it because if it is not a legal requirement, a logbook is quite easy to fake and temper with.

Of course, you may ask yourself: Well, how do I know if the caravan I want to buy is not stolen or how many owners it had before?  The good news is that each caravan has a VIN or CRis number.

VIN stands for Vehicle Identification Number or CRiS number. It is a unique code to your caravan and gives important information about the year and the place of manufacture of the caravan.

  • The first two characters of the VIN stand for country of manufacture;
  • 3rd character: Make of Vehicle;
  • 4th character: axle specification;
  • 5th 6th and 7th character: optional manufacturer information;
  • 8th and 9th character: Manufacturer information;
  • 10th character: year of the model (run from 1st September to 31st August the following year);
  • 11th-17th character: serial number.

You can find the VIN of your caravan on the bottom right corner of each window.

To make sure that the caravan you plan on purchasing, you must check the VIN. If it was tempered with, it is a clear sign that there is something wrong in the middle.  

You can always get the VIN and cross-reference it with the Caravan Registration and Identification Scheme in your state.

The best way to be on the safe side is to buy your caravan from a reputable and authorised dealership. 

What to remember when buying a caravan

When buying a caravan, be it new or second-hand, always remember to ask the following questions:

  • Ask the use that has been given to the caravan.
  • If it has been used lately.
  • If they have travelled long distances.
  • Where has it been stored, whether indoors or outdoors?
  • If any type of repair or maintenance has been carried out.
  • If they have all the documentation in order (that is very important).

In either case, try to find out as much as you can about the caravan that is being sold and do not hesitate to make copies or photos of the VIN and other documents that the seller hands in. 

Tips for buying a second-hand caravan

If you are thinking of buying a second-hand caravan, you should consider several things. It is something similar to buying a second-hand car, but with the peculiarities of a space used as a home. Therefore, you will have to sharpen your eye to look for possible damages more typical of a house.

Humidity, electrical installation and electrical appliances will be part of the sections that you should review. But buying a second-hand caravan also requires knowing the papers that must be in order. If not, the bureaucracy behind it can make life very difficult.

In this section, we will tell you everything you have to take into account when buying a caravan. Of course, most of the tips will also apply to you for a motorhome. Those that can be moved without the need for a vehicle to tow them and are therefore like a truck or van with a house on its back.

  1. Take your time. Do not be pressured by the seller, whether it is from a sales company or an individual. Although the first type tends to have much more reliable products -they usually fix the defects before selling, do not be overconfident. If you are going at a good pace, it will be enough with 10 or 15 minutes of review to know if everything is in order or not.
  1. Ask for a test drive. It is also very important that you can test it on the move. Make sure the seller lets you tow it, to see if it works properly. Before we get to this though, don’t forget to take a look at the wheels, axle, and hitch.
  1. Checking the inside of a second-hand caravan. Walls, windows, joints. The first thing you have to check is the state of the structure. There can be no dampness or cracks that allow air or water to pass from outside. 
  1. Check the exterior of the caravan or motorhome. The condition of the structure is as important here as the running gear. The first is the one that will tell you if it is habitable and the second if it can be circulated safely. Anyway, some buyers get a second-hand caravan with which they do not want to circulate. It will simply be on a campsite or plot as a mini house.

If that is your case, you will not have to pay so much attention to that second section and some of the papers that we will talk about below. However, in these cases the seller should place it where you want it. Do not take unnecessary risks moving it if you do not have the means, because you could have a mishap or receive a fine, when you only wanted a static caravan.

  1. What else to check when buying a caravan: The second-hand caravan has to be prepared to withstand the different weather conditions. Rain, snow or shine you should keep the interior insulated. That is why you should carefully review the following points:
  • Check the veneer or fibre panels and their joints.
  • Check the windows on the outside as well.
  • Check for scuffs, chips, or scratches
  • Examine the trunk (s) and other compartments
  • See if the plugs are in good condition
  • Look below to see if you have good insulation.
  1. Check the chassis of the caravan.  If you are going to circulate with the caravan, it must have all the chassis elements in good condition. These are:
  • The tires: To check if they are in good condition we recommend these two articles:
  • The bottoms: look well underneath the second hand caravan to see if there is any corrosion on any metal part or any material. Everything should be well covered by a special paint, usually black, which serves to protect it.
  • The hitch: the best thing you can do when you go to see a caravan is to take the vehicle with which you are going to tow it. So you can see if the hitch is working properly or not.
  • The shaft: see if it has corrosion or damage from a blow
  • The brakes: check that both the inertia brakes, the hand brakes and the conventional ones are good. The article on brake shoes can help you.
  • The stabilizer (if it has it): check that it is not worn. It is also convenient that you take a turn to see if it really eliminates the blows of the ball when accelerating or braking
  • The ATC (if it has it): this system is like the ESP of the car, only that it breaks both wheels of the caravan when it detects swings. It usually has a warning light that indicates that it works well when you plug the caravan into the car.
  • The lights: check that all the warning lights in the caravan light up correctly.

The bottom line

When buying a caravan, please make sure you check the VIN code and do not buy it in a hurry. Take your time, do not feel pressured, and above all – buy from an authorised dealership. It will save you many worries in the future!

If you have any comments or questions about the content, please let us know. 

FAQ on Do caravans have a logbook?

What is the lifespan of a caravan?

The average lifespan of a caravan is 14 years. A model that is between 5 and 7 years old represents the best price-performance ratio. However, it is not uncommon to see people driving 30 and 40 years old caravans. 

Why buy a caravan?

The caravan has the advantage of offering travellers a large optimized interior space, comfort, versatility and freedom of movement. At the same size, it offers more available space than the RV.

When to buy a caravan?

When to buy a caravan? Caravans sell particularly well during April, March and May, but are cheaper in the winter months.

How to travel with a caravan?

To travel with a caravan, make sure the vehicle is in good condition. A caravan is the best way to travel at your own pace. Going on vacation in this vehicle requires good preparation. It is recommended that you choose a caravan with all possible amenities: beds, living room, small kitchen, etc.


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