Caravans are expensive, so you want to make sure you buy one that’s going to last a while. I know that when I was looking for my first caravan, I didn’t know how to determine whether a caravan was too old and best avoided. I want to answer the question of how long a touring caravan lasts, so that’s why I started researching and writing this blog post.
A touring caravan lasts 15 years on average. The time a caravan lasts depends on manufacturing quality, whether you regularly service it, and how often you use it.
As part of initially researching this blog post, I spoke to 6 UK-based caravan dealers. All 6 told me that caravans have an average practical life of 15 years. But reading forums online, you’ll see that some caravan owners still tour in caravans that are well over 20 years old. With that in mind, in this blog post I’m going to explain the factors that impact how how long a touring caravan lasts, how you can get your caravan serviced, and how you can reliably purchase a second-hand tourer.
What Is The Lifespan Of A Touring Caravan?
According to the dealers I spoke to, the average lifespan of a touring caravan is 15 years. After that point, caravans are likely to have things go faulty. But ultimately, the thing most likely to cause a caravan’s demise is damp.
I went to have a look at the second-hand tourers available to see if we could figure out how old a caravan you can purchase. I did this to get a good idea of the average lifespan of a touring caravan.
I went onto AutoTrader, where there are literally thousands of second-hand touring caravans. I looked at several manufacturers to see the ages of the caravans available:
Overall, 51% of caravans on sale are less than 5 years old. Only 24% of caravans on sale are over 10 years old, whereas a measly 2% are 20+ years old.
|Less than 5 years
|5 – 10 years
|11 – 20 years
The data I found using AutoTrader would suggest that very few caravans are in a usable condition once they reach 20 years old and beyond, suggesting the 15 year average lifespan caravan dealers mentioned is accurate. After all, there are a large number — 366 out of 1,678 — caravans available aged between 11 – 20 years old. Another detail worth mentioning is that the vast majority of these tourers are in great condition.
Only 40 caravans out of the 1,678 available at the time of my research are over 20 years old. Of course, there are always going to be exceptions to the rule — i.e., caravans that make it to older than 15 years. However, it’s clear to see that the average lifespan of 15 years mentioned by all 6 caravan dealers I spoke to is accurate.
So while that gives us an overview view of the typical caravan lifespan, I wondered whether some manufacturers are better than others in terms of tourer lifespan. In the next section, I explain what I found out.
Which Is The Best Touring Caravan Make (Considering Average Lifespan)?
Several people have asked me which is the best touring caravan make considering average lifespan. To answer this question, I resorted to the data available on AutoTrader again to see which caravan manufacturer had to highest percentage of caravans over a 15 years old.
Looking only at average lifespan, the best touring caravan make is Buccaneer. 16.67% of the caravans produced by Buccaneer last over 15 years based on my research; the most of any caravan manufacturer.
I’ve presented the results of my research in the table below.
|Percentage Of Tourers Available
Over 15 Years Old
Only 9.47% of caravans on sale are over 15 years old. However, 16.67% of Buccaneer tourers available are over 15-year-old, suggesting that Buccaneer caravans last longer than any others. You ultimately get what you pay for, with Buccaneer one of the most luxurious touring caravan brands.
One of the more typically cost-effective brands — Bailey — don’t last as long. Only 7.84% of the Bailey tourers available are aged over 15 years old. This suggests Bailey tourers simply don’t last as long, again proving that you get what you pay for.
They build Buccaneer caravans to such a high standard that they’re still fully functional and valuable even 15 years after manufacture. For example, I found a 12-year-old Buccaneer Elan in excellent condition available for £9,995. I found an even older Elan — a 22-year-old model — available for £4,000. That being said, these caravans are in excellent condition.
It’s obvious that taking good care of your caravan is key to extending its lifespan beyond the average of 15 years. After all, a quick look around on any caravan site tells you that some people are still touring in well-maintained but old ‘vans. So what are some common problems with touring caravans and how can you deal with them?
Common Problems With Touring Caravans – And How Do Deal With Them
The general consensus is that touring caravans last, on average, 15 years. So if you’re considering the purchase of a used tourer, it’s important to consider some of the common problems touring caravans have as they age — and how to deal with them.
The most common problem that affects touring caravans is damp. Damp can cause expensive and sometimes irreversible damage if left unchecked. Damp can be noticed and dealt with in the early stages if you regularly service your caravan.
Damp is extremely common in caravans because of condensation and lack of ventilation. Another common problem that all too often results in damp is the seals around the windows, doors, and roof disintegrating.
Unfortunately, it’s difficult to avoid damp. However, a few quick tips:
- Keep your caravan well-ventilated: The biggest cause of damp in touring caravans is poor ventilation. Keep your tourer well-ventilated while you’re using it to prevent as much condensation as possible. If you can, avoid using the shower and cook as little as you can in the ‘van.
- Use a caravan moisture meter: A caravan moisture meter can help you quickly detect areas of concern in your caravan. While regular servicing is the best way to catch damp, using a moisture meter can help you quickly identify a problem before it becomes severe.
- Regularly service your caravan: You should be servicing your caravan at least once per year. As part of a caravan service, the service centre will complete a damp test to check for — you guessed it — damp! Regular servicing can catch damp before it becomes too significant an issue.
Avoiding and dealing with damp is inevitable if you own a touring caravan. However, the most reliable way of avoiding and dealing with damp is regular servicing. If your caravan has damp, a service should catch it — hopefully before the damage is too severe. Which brings me onto my next point — where can you get your caravan serviced?
Where Can I Get My Caravan Serviced?
The best way to avoid damp is regular servicing. So where can you get your caravan serviced?
The best way to find a reliable workshop for caravan servicing is the Approved Workshop Scheme. With over 500 independently assessed workshops part of the scheme, there will be a workshop close to your location.
The Approved Workshop Scheme is a joint enterprise between the NCC, The Caravan and Motorhome Club, and The Camping and Caravanning Club. All workshops that are part of the scheme are assessed annually to ensure they comply with the scheme’s rigorous standards.
To find an approved workshop, you can visit the scheme’s website: approvedworkshops.co.uk. Click ‘Find an Approved Workshop’, then fill in the form — I’ve included a screenshot of the form below. After completing the form, you’ll get a list of the workshops that meet your requirements.
There’s a great video on YouTube that I’ve embedded here. It basically walks you through how a caravan service works. It’s very handy if you want a rough idea of what checks will be completed as part of a caravan service.
Of course, you can always service your caravan yourself. There are plenty of YouTube videos explaining the basics of DIY servicing your caravan. However, I like to leave it to the experts!
Thanks for reading! I hope you’ve found this blog post useful.