One of the best experiences that one can experience, although it may seem reserved for a few, is to enjoy driving your own motorhome. Nowadays, these types of vehicles are becoming more common, both because of their more accessible price and because of the growing interest in rural leisure, the contact with nature and the pleasure of being able to travel with your home on your back.
That is why the decision to go for a motorhome can be really complicated because there are a variety of types and sizes, price disparity, equipment, and regulations, we must take into account in our purchase plans before launching to the adventure, to avoid dislikes and, above all, frights in our budget.
This is all you have to know about buying a motorhome
Regulations and issues about vehicle and driving
The main difference to take into account between a motorhome and a caravan is that the first is a self-propelled motor vehicle whose interior is conditioned as housing, while the second is a trailer coupled to the main vehicle. In Spain, we are under Instruction 08: V-74 , for which it is allowed to stay overnight and make use of the facilities in non-specific areas of camping, as long as the parking limits are respected, and when the interior activity does not extend to the outside of the vehicle, either for acoustic or environmental reasons.
Although many rural areas still do not welcome the entry of these vehicles, they are increasingly accepted in a more positive way because of their important influence on tourism. Failure to comply with these regulations may result in a report for illegal camping and, even if it were complied with, the municipal ordinances of lower rank may exist in specific municipalities that may force you to throw in the towel and abandon the expedition. Although a kind and timely conversation with agents and neighbors save many future discussions.
In the case of safety, it is essential to have belts or restraint systems approved in both front seats and inside the passenger compartment, as only passengers can travel in such case. Being special vehicles of category M1, they are governed by the regulation of cars, although with certain exceptions: as long as the MMA (Maximum Authorized Mass) does not exceed 3,500 kg, it can be driven with the driver’s license B , otherwise it will be required C1 permission; the maximum speed on the highway is 100 km / h and on the highway 90 km / h; and the technical inspection must be carried out biennially after four years and annually after ten years.
Before starting the route, we must know that we can find vehicles-housing that go from vans adapted to be habitable, small trailers or mobile homes, to large trucks or pick-up vehicles, since they are considered all those that allow transporting objects and people inside of its closed and covered back, adapted to live. They have, logically, a larger size than the MPV, with the front shorter and the engine located under the front seats, in the driver’s compartment. The chassis is used to mount the habitable cell, either as an external adaptation or as an extension of the rear one.
The dimensions can vary depending on the length and height (values ranging from L1H1, less than 1.70 meters in height, to L4H3), so we have to pay attention especially when turning in tight corners, tunnels or level crossings. We have to be careful to open enough to avoid hitting the side, something that, unless we are bus drivers, we will not have experienced before. The length and height also influence when finding parking, since the L3 and L4 models will practically have it impossible in urban parking.
Important to travel by van
The general equipment of the vehicle has gas for cooking, air conditioning, electrical installations for lighting, refrigerator, television, furniture, and bathroom, among many other things. The waters derived from the sink, toilet, and shower are collected in a tank to be later purified in the concrete and marked areas of the service areas (gray and black water).
If we have auxiliary vehicles such as mopeds or bicycles, they should always be transported on duly approved platforms, as long as they do not protrude more than 10% of the length of the motorhome, and are correctly marked with the V-20 signal on the back and shape perpendicular to the vehicle. In relation to the indispensable instruments and tools to start the route, you can never miss a hose with its concrete adapter for all types of faucets; a box of screwdrivers, octopuses and straps and a set of Allen keys; cartridges for the recharge of gas; a first-aid kit in which we have antiallergics, gauze, and plaster, scissors, oxygenated water, insect repellent, sunscreen and pills for dizziness, among other things; Mobile chargers, power cords and portable lamps or flashlights are other important resources to carry around.
Types of motorhomes and which to choose
This is perhaps the most problematic issue since we must stop to decide the use that we are going to make of it, the number of people that are going to use it, and therefore the size, the price, the consumption, and a long etcetera. But here we can clarify some doubts.
- Campers: consist of vans that have conditioned their interior (rear cargo) to live, preserving their original sheet metal body. They are the intermediate step towards the motorhomes and therefore something more economic and light because the habitable cabin is coupled to the commercial vehicle. They introduce elements of encamped on board, with thermal insulation and furniture, conserving the interior dimensions and design, which allows it to pass very unnoticed and discreet to other people’s eyes. Its conversion to vehicle-housing requires a series of bureaucratic steps such as ITV certification, an engineering project and a certified authorization from the manufacturer. The mythical Volkswagen Combi, from the golden age flower power, is a good example of it.
- Nasturtiums: Its habitable cabin is an extension of the driving compartment, with side doors and trunk that allows more space in case of extended stays. It provides more stability, with capacity for seven people, ideal for families with children. It has a front protrusion above the driver’s cabin, like a garret, where space is used as a bed.
- Profiled: they are class C and very interesting for beginners. The cabin is built on its own motor chassis, similar to the Capuchins, but in this case, it has a height and smaller space, suitable for two people. It is much more aerodynamic, with better performance and its size, has a lower consumption.
- Integrals: luxurious and expensive, because they are high-end, like those used by official race drivers to stay during races. They are large trucks with a chassis of a single body in which the living cabin is conditioned with all kinds of advantages and comforts.
- Motorhome or trailer store: it is a module of housing in a closed trailer that requires a car for its displacement. It is deployable, lightweight and maneuverable. In Spain, as long as its weight exceeds 750 kg, it must include the license plate of the car and the red license plate.
- There are many other models that we can include in this list as the roof tents, which are installed on all-terrain vehicles; the extensible motorhomes, with deployable side modules; and the Toy Hauler, for the transport of motorcycles, quad bikes, jet skis, etc.
What if we go to the second-hand market?
Once we have decided on one model or another we must go to the market, where we will find new motorhomes from 35,000 euros to more than 100,000 euros. If you find a second -hand you can be around 25,000 euros, but you have to take into account the annual tax payment, insurance, ITV, maintenance, consumption, parking space if necessary
Analyzing the second-hand market we can find vehicles in good condition from 6,000 euros since below this limit we will find vans of more than 30 years, which try to imitate the camper and without any guarantee. From 7,000 and up to 12,000 euros we will find vintage models from the late 80’s, no more than six meters long and cappuccinos (Fiat Ducato) or profiled (Hyner), but without power steering, air conditioning and with little power and living space. There are a lot of important brands that provide motorhomes like Mercedes, Ford, Iveco, Volkswagen, Peugeot, and Fiat, among others.
But when it comes to contacting the seller it is essential to see the vehicle and not be guided by the first impressions, but to doubt and enter into electrical, mechanical and safety issues. We must also obtain as much information as possible about blows or accidents since a much damaged car is not stable and can cause us a heavy outlay in the future.
Regarding technical issues, we must check the engine in our workshop and know what type it is and how it sounds, to find out its useful life and actual mileage (it could be manipulated despite being penalized by law). Elements such as the belts of the distribution belts, clutch, brakes, steering, gaskets, and batteries suffer a natural wear that can lead to breakage, so we must attend to the noises, friction, and chirps during our driving test. On the other hand, tires and spare parts for motorhomes will not be cheap or easy to find if we have already bought some in poor condition. The wear of the camperizado it is normal, but for this reason it is necessary to pay attention to the state of the furniture and cabinets, the assembly of the bed, operation of electrical appliances, switchboard and heating, the installation of the gas, possible leaks in the kitchen, check the water pump, faucets, sink and drains, opening and closing of the lifting roof. Please visit here