How can you tell the age of a static caravan?

In this article, we will answer the following question: How can you tell the age of a static caravan? We will explain what the VIN of a static caravan is and where to find it. We will also give advice on how to maintain and prolong the life of your static caravan so it looks younger than it is!

How can you tell the age of a static caravan?

To tell the age of a static caravan you must search for the VIN number, also known as the serial number, chassis number or CRIS number of the caravan. Each static caravan has, thus, an identification code noted on its frame. This serial number allows you to know the year of manufacture of the static caravan.

It is generally positioned at the location of the drawbar, on the inside of the water heater door or on the timing plane.

Knowing when a static caravan was made can help you understand how old appliances might be or what kind of materials were used to make the house. Determining when the static caravan was built can be a straightforward process if the paperwork has been kept. However, if you don’t have a lot of documentation, some research is needed.

Here’s how you can find the VIN number of your static caravan:

  • Look through your documents to see if you can find an original purchase date. It might help if you weren’t the first owner of the house. Sometimes the date of construction can appear as well.
  • Check with your local building department to see if the state you live in considers static caravan real estate like other stick-built homes. If the house has been permanently mounted on the ground, then some states will convert it to the property classification. Go to the county property department and ask for information. It is common knowledge, however there could be a $ 10 or $ 20 small search fee.
  • Contact your local Department of Automobiles with the vehicle registration number if the state considers the motorhome a vehicle. Since they initially come with wheels, even though they are field mounted, some states maintain their records in the vehicle department. 

You will need to go to the department along with proof of ownership before they will release any information for you. State records should include dates back to the original recording.

How to read the VIN number of your static caravan? 

The acronym VIN comes from Vehicle Identification Number. Some people also use the term “Chassis Number”, or may use the designations VSN (Vehicle Serial Number) or TSN (Type Serial Number).

More simply, if we had to briefly summarize what a VIN is, it is an alphanumeric code of 17 characters, tested for the first time in the USA from 1954. It has definitely been generalized to all vehicles worldwide in 1981.

This code will allow you to distinguish all vehicles around the world, each code is unique and corresponds to a particular vehicle. This combination of letters and numbers is given to the vehicle by the manufacturer. This process is valid everywhere in the world, whether you are on American, African, European or Asian soil, each vehicle will have its VIN number. This code has been framed by ISO standards.

How is a VIN code made up?

After having made a quick definition, as well as a little historical reminder on the VIN number, it is time to get to the heart of the matter, by taking a closer look at the series of characters that make up the VIN.

As observed previously, the VIN is composed of 17 characters. This is what a VIN number might look like: VF7 SBHMZ0 EW554823.

This code is composed of parts that correspond to the manufacturer code (the WMI), the descriptor code (the VDS), as well as the indicator code (the VIS). Do not be afraid of these names which can be off-putting, it is very easy to understand what is behind them.

For the record, the VIN number can neither contain I, O or Q, so as not to confuse them with a 1 or a 0.

The manufacturer code – WMI: The manufacturer code or WMI (or World Manufacturer Identifier) ​​makes it possible to prove the geographical area of ​​a particular vehicle. This is a series of 3 characters, they are present at the beginning of the VIN number.

The first character signifies the geographical area, for example the letter V, corresponds to the grouping of France, Spain or Croatia. The number 1, on the other hand, will correspond to the United States.

The 2nd character goes into more detail since it represents a specific country in the geographic area. For example, for France, it will be the letter F.

The last character will correspond to a specific manufacturer, this choice was made by a competent authority specific to each country. For example, in France, the number 1 corresponds to the manufacturer Renault, the 3 to Peugeot and the 7 to Citroën.

What is the lifespan of a static caravan?

The average lifespan of a static 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 caravans between 30 and 40 years old. 

For used RVs, it is easier to negotiate the selling price if the static caravan is older. Still, keep in mind that there are additional costs to pay when buying a used and older caravan. For example, you will have to pay extra for:

  • Restoration and maintenance costs;
  • Insurance costs;
  • Storage costs.

If you want to extend the life expectancy of your static caravan, there are some things to watch out for.

Exterior elements to watch out for: Depending on the material used for the walls of your static caravan, you must pay more or less attention.

  • Vinyl siding is the most durable solution. A very resistant and therefore durable material that requires very little maintenance. It is cleaned with a water jet. And the repair operations are simple. Just exchange the damaged blades.
  • While wooden cladding adds extra cachet to your static caravan, it requires more attention. Wood will react much more quickly to variations in climate. To increase its lifespan, it will be necessary to apply protection to the wood. To do this, we apply a saturator or a stain.
  • Monitor the condition of the gutters. An essential point to prevent water infiltration into the passenger compartment, ensure the health of the gutters. This is done by removing dead leaves and other debris that may saturate and clog the water outlet.

Interior maintenance: The interior walls must be maintained to maintain good insulation. You can simply wash your partitions with a slightly damp sponge.

  • The floor, usually in linoleum, does not require special attention. The furniture can be cleaned with a sponge and dried with a soft cloth. And the bench can be removable for easy cleaning. Newer models feature a heavy-duty polyvinyl coating that wipes clean with a sponge.
  • Take care of the technical circuits. Before a prolonged departure or to prepare for the winter period, it is strongly recommended to purge the water and gas system. The goal is to prevent pipes from breaking due to freezing.
  • A certified person should also check the health of your gas system at least once a year.

The bottom line

In conclusion, even if you take possession of an elderly static caravan, careful maintenance can greatly extend its life expectancy. In the event of a lack of maintenance, the campsite owner has every right to request the removal of the static caravan from its owner. 

This can be done on physical and security criteria. But also for aesthetic reasons, the exterior or interior condition, the securing of ancillary equipment and the general condition. In this case, it is up to the owner of the static caravan to take measures to extend the life of his residence.

Please let us know if you need more help in finding the age of your static caravan or if you have any useful tips on how to prolong its life!

FAQ on How can you tell the age of a static caravan?

What exactly is a VIN code?

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.

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 caravans between 30 and 40 years old. 

Do static caravans lose value?

Static canvas loses value, just like any car or other type of motorhome does. Generally, a static caravan will depreciate about 15% per year.

Are static caravans a waste of money?

No, static caravans are not a waste of money because the popularity of the static caravans has a clear justification, and it is that with an economic model founded on the construction market, those who previously used their savings to buy a second home in a leisure destination now prefer to invest less money even in something that, incidentally, allows you to enjoy a small home anywhere.

Other FAQs about Static caravans that you may be interested in.

Why do static caravans have wheels?

How static caravans are made?

How do I stop my static caravan pipes from freezing?