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How to Buy a Used Motorhome / Campervan

How To Buy a Used Motorhome Campervan 101.1 – M.O.T. History and PROOF of Mileage


Online Offgrid - 101.1 - Gov_UK website to determine MOT STATUS of Vehicle

How to buy a Used Camper / Motorhome

101.1 M.O.T. History
and Proof of Mileage

3 essential checks to do before even viewing your dream motorhome / camper van!

Don’t travel the lengths and breadths of the country to view that rare find, before you know the condition and structural integrity of the vehicle… only to find that it has FAILED vital safety checks during its M.O.T. History.

Now you can use this 3 easy step-by-step video guide to determine all the vehicles M.O.T. repair history and whether the mileage is genuine… BEFORE you go to view what looks like your dream motorhome or campervan from a few carefully taken photos on social media or sales websites. It is well worth it.

We travelled 5 hours from Wales to Cornwall only to discover we had not done our due diligence on the vehicle docs! In fact we were so tired from the whole day that we even stayed over a night and travelled back the next day.

Save yourself days by spending just 14 minutes watching this video!

Also,once we had done the research to create this video, we dug further and found other essential things we wished we had also done. Please do view 101.2 and 101.3 in the “How to Buy a Used Motorhome / Campervan – 101” video series that are included in our 20+ video series on “How to Buy a Used Motorhome / Campervan”!

Click the links below:

How to buy a Used Motorhome 101.2 – Checking Vehicle Identification & Service History – Is It LEGAL! >

How To Buy USED Motorhome 101.3 – Is it STOLEN, FINANCED, WRITTEN OFF Check BEFORE going to view it >

See you soon…

Miles & Tamra

Online Offgrid

Here’s our dialogue from the video . . .

How To Buy a USED Motorhome-Campervan 101.1 – MOT History Checks

Hi and welcome to the “How to Buy a USED Motorhome or Campervan 101” video series!

We’re going to share with you some of the essentials that you can do to avoid making the mistakes that we made, that cost us 5,000 pounds over the cost of the motorhome and counting…

So, we’re going to show you step by step how you can know more about your motorhome or camper van… before even going to view it and without the seller even knowing!

And you know the saying, “You don’t know what you don’t know…”?

We’re going to show you what you can know without the seller knowing what you know.

So let’s get started!

There are some great checks you can do which are all online, so you can do it before you even go and view the vehicle and can determine even if it’s worth looking at never mind… purchasing.

So first of all, if you go to a browser, (while online), and check out the website that’s coming on-screen now which is the other check the MOT status of a vehicle (at www.gov.uk/check-mot-history), it’s a fantastic facility that’s the government DVLA website that tells you everything you need to know and they are obligated to do so and all the MOT testers are required by law to submit the information after testing the vehicle to the database.

So everything you need to know from a certain point (a certain year…), obviously they didn’t use to always do MOT’s electronically, but from a certain point, for many many years now, you’ll better check back to the history of a vehicle.

1: MOT Status – Online Check

First of all check to type that in, (www.gov.uk/check-mot-history) and you’ll see this screen here… which is the start now screen, click the green start now button, enter the registration number of the vehicle, (so if you know the vehicle registration of the vehicle then pop that in here)… if by any chance you have found that the images that you’ve looked at online have been a number plate obscured… it is a bit of a scary thing to consider…

“Why have they obscured the number plate?” It may be for legitimate reasons of securing the identity of the vehicle and therefore the location identity of themselves… so if that is the case then great, phone them up (phone that seller up) and say, “Look I’m really interested in your vehicle I want to do some research and back background checks on the vehicle… Can you please tell me the registration number?” And then you can type that number it into this window, click continue, and you’ll then be taken to the next screen.

It’ll just do a double check with you that this is the vehicle you are searching for… so it’ll display the registration number you’ve typed in, and it should then match the make and color of the vehicle. If it does match it then select the yes button and then click the green continue button.

Once you do that you’ll be taken through to a detail screen and that will give you the overall overview of the vehicle… is it taxed, and it is MOT’d. So that’s the other thing you can find out is… how how long is the tax going to last? As you know even with the pictures… that the vehicles don’t require a tax disk in the window so you can’t even zoom in and find out. So here it’ll tell you whether it’s been taxed and when that expires and if the MOT is actually still active and when that expires!

Plus, you get to see some of the more general details about the vehicle to make sure it is the one that is being advertised.

2: MOT History – Online Check

Then, on the right-hand side of the screen, you’ll see a list of links… and in the second batch of links where it says DVSA services, you’ll see “Check the MOT history”… so if you click that or just go directly to the address I’m putting on the screen now, which is the check MOT history address at the same website (www.gov.uk/check-mot-history), then you’ll be taken to another page where you will have to enter the vehicle registration details in again, and click the green continue button. Now that will then take you to a much more comprehensive listing of each of the MOTs histories every single test it’s taken for a considerable number of years.

And as you’ll see from here it is a history that goes as far back as 2005, so it’s a good sort of 14 or 15 years worth of information, and you should by then know what’s exactly wrong with the vehicle.

So let’s now look at the actual rap sheet… the history here of the MOT.

You’ll see the way it has passes… and you’ll see where has fails.

Fails are noted in bright red letters, and the interesting thing to note here is is how far apart are the fails and the passes?

So for instance… when I show you this window here… you’ll see that the “Fail” which was on the 20th of June… it didn’t then “Pass” until the 19th of July. And what you’ve got to assess is, by looking at the amount of work that was done, did it warrant that much time being taken in between? Or was it a case of just couldn’t get it booked in…

And as you can see from this list there were a vast array of things that needed fixing, probably somewhat expensive that needed to be done before it would pass again… So there’s an example there of a full listing here of things it’s failed on.

And it’s a good opportunity to check just how severe those things are… things like registration plate lamp, just minor things… just old connections got rusty… and they can just be cleaned off and repaired.

It’s when you start to see things like upper brake hose excessively damaged… well some of the brake hoses are metal not necessarily rubber, so that’s something that is absolutely fatal in terms of brake failing! And as mentioned before, one of the things we didn’t check was precisely that… and within 300 miles of buying a vehicle our brakes failed on us. And it was nearly fatal!

So here you’ll see other things which also are considerable fails… else offside front suspension component mounting prescribed area excessively corroded significantly reducing structural strength, and we will see that’s on the offside front suspension and near side suspension and offside front suspension another mounting again is significantly corroded. So these are big issues we’re regarding the strength of this chassis and all the components attached to it.

So you ought to find out from the paperwork now that’s provided in terms of servicings and any repares done what was done to repair issues like that.

Now, as you’ll see from the next testings… you’re just going further back and further back, now there’s another “Fail.” So it passed on the 29th of April, it was the 30th of March when it failed and it didn’t pass again. And again you’ll see, another list of things it’s failed on… it’s smaller however what I would suggest is that you just check to see if there are any repeat failing items that are a good year apart. And as you see here, rear brake hose ferrule excessively corroded… so you’ve got more brake hoses and brake brake issues here that need to be considered and checked severely when you go on to see the vehicle to check that they are repaired and also they’re no longer corroded.

But again, you know that they’ve been done… they have passed though these things would never get through a MOT unless they had been repaired. Another example here going further back down to 2015 so you’ve got a 17th of March fail, and then it was a 31 of March by the time it was booked in again and repaired for those things… and again what’s happened here is, written… brake hose has slight corrosion. So again we’re going back in time here, you’ll see that these things are starting to get slight corrosion.

Now you’ll see that there are things that are reasons for failure and things that are advisory notices. In other words they won’t fail it but they are being brought up as things you should know about… that’s their legal requirement to let you know.

So again, what are you looking for in terms of things like… “bearings have slight play,” that happens, and that can be all tightened up. And… front disc brake discs worn on a vehicle, in these old dates, that is going to happen and that’s fine. Just check what’s being done and repaired, ready for the next MOT test.

And then, what you want to see really… is a long stream of “Passes!”

So as you see here, year after year around about the same month, it’s actually passed its its MOTs and you can then get a little bit more confidence! And naturally, the older the vehicle is it’s going to start to show fails…

3: Yearly Mileage – Online Check
Now, one of the really important things to look out for in terms of the validity of mileage and things like that of the vehicle!

So if we look at the oldest date here, now you’ll see that the last recorded electronic MOT test here is 17th of May 2005, and the vehicle was driven 26,853 miles. So as you go up through the ages… you can now see how many miles were driven every year on the vehicle.

And the reason why we’re doing this is that it may well say it’s got 40 or 50 or 60,000 miles on the clock… but what’s really useful is to know how much was it used (driven) each year? Was there an extended period of time where it was stood doing nothing for a long time… and could that also reflect in when the vehicles MOT fail (happened or) comes up on the screen as well?

So you’ve got 30,000 miles in August 2006, and in August 2007 it has 30,244 miles, so in a year this vehicle has barely done 150 miles…

Now going into the next batch which is 2008, the same time it’s done 32,749 miles… so it’s only been driven around about 500 miles in that year.

Then as we go back up into the years, so 2009 it’s done 34 34,000 so again, it’s not done many miles, if you look at the comparison there it’s done around about 1,500 miles.

Now in 2010, a year later, it’s done 35,829… so again I run another say 1500 miles.

The next year, in 2011, it’s up to 36,447 miles, that’s done just under thousand miles that year (it’s roundabout 600 miles driven that year).

Now the next year, in 2012, it’s done 37,861 miles… so it’s only done about 1,400 miles that year.

So you get the picture… you’re looking at how many miles is actually doing every year, because that’s imperative when you start to establish how long it’s been standing.

So let’s now quickly look four times it’s been stood for a long long long long time… so here it’s done 40,000 miles in 2014, in 2015 it’s only done 600 or 700 miles… its then failed this MOT and then passed again. In 2016, it’s only has 40,969, which is almost no mileage at all… and then the next it failed again, which it does make sense in terms of what it has failed on… The next year 2017 it has done only, crikey, it’s only done 40 or 50 mile… sorry, maybe 100 miles in that whole year. And then looking at the later years, in 2018 it failed as we can see, and it’s only done 41,000 miles there… and as we look at the last one in 19th of July which is another month after that it’s only done 41,000 miles.

So over that whole four year period it’s only done a couple of thousand miles… which is great when you’re looking for a low mileage vehicle! That said, these these are old vans… and they’re metal like anything else and it will corrode…

And if it’s been in England and in certain wet periods and it’s been sat in the damp or winter periods of the year… it’s going to corrode and not being used doesn’t help the vehicle. Now I’m not talking just about the van itself, but as a Motorhome the home and Caravan area is going to suffer when those items are not being used… the gas items, the electrical items… the electrical checks… and all those sorts of things that you want to be doing all these things have been sat doing nothing for a long time and not being cleaned, and not being maintained, potentially…

So these are things to look out for! Now, onto another example here of something that is a scary ”Fail” of a completely different vehicle, something to definitely question the seller about and it’s a potential value change in the sale price, so let’s look at that one.

You can see a an August 2015 MOT and the vehicles 110,000 miles… that’s a lot of mileage for a motorhome, definitely… but the good thing is that it’s actually done a fair bit of mileage.

Here you want to look at things like… here we see the offside front outer body or chassis has excessive corrosion seriously affecting its strength within 30 centimeters of the body mountings step. Now that’s something really to be considered as part of the value of the vehicle and just how dangerous it is, because when they start putting it within a certain distance of a critical point in the vehicle, you want to make sure that that has then been taken care of… that it’s been either welded or it’s been fortified in some way and then passing the MOT. And hopefully in the following years if this is 2015 that by 2018 you’re not seeing that come up again.

If we look at the next one, you’ll see in October of 2018, three years later that again you’ve got some offside front suspension and areas of corrosion which are considered to bridge significantly reducing the structural strength of the what’s called the outrigger. So again, if you don’t know what that is, then maybe just get someone to check with you… an expert to find out how close is that to the other areas of excessive corrosion and what does it give you as a picture of the vehicle?

Once again though, look this has done 110,000 miles in 2015, and 119,000 miles by 2018 so it’s done 9 thousand miles in those three years… which is on average three thousand a year which is is okay… but again for a vehicle that’s only doing three thousand miles a year it’s been stood for most of the year, probably used in the warmer months of the year, it’s not more like it being stood doing nothing in the winter months and that’s when a corrosion hits.

So there’s a couple of screen shots… if you go to the MOT status you can get the rundown as we saw… and then if you go to the MOT history it gives you a very very detailed list of all the MOTs it has had that’s been recorded in the MOT status and history section of the government DVLA website.

So their you go… really good things to check! And what you want to do now is look at your service history that comes with a vehicle and all the receipts for any works and repairs done during those processes but during those services all in between to look out for things that haven’t been done properly, have been done more recently, and were part of the MOT passing process.

CHECK OUT our next video in the series…

Is the vehicle you have your eye on legal, really owned by the seller AND is the Service History genuine?

How to buy a Used Motorhome 101.2 – Checking Vehicle Identification & Service History – Is It LEGAL! – Online Offgrid

See you later,
Miles and Tamra
Online Offgrid

 

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