Buying New Camper Vans vs. Used Camper Vans

Buying a camper van decisions signpost

Buying New Camper Vans vs. Used Camper Vans

Buy or Sell Campers

Buy or Sell Campers

3 August 2023

We’re putting pedal to the metal on a one-way mission to ignite wanderlust and connect you with your ultimate roving home. Subscribe to get a weekly dose of vanlife inspo and expert hacks straight to your inbox.

Are you dreaming of hitting the open road, exploring picturesque landscapes, and experiencing the freedom of nomadic living? If so, buying a camper van might be the perfect choice for you. A camper van offers the convenience of a mobile home, allowing you to travel comfortably while enjoying the comforts of home.

However, before embarking on this exciting journey, it’s crucial to understand the pros and cons of buying a camper van. In this article, we’ll dive into the advantages and disadvantages of both new and used camper vans, helping you make an informed decision that aligns with your needs and budget.


Buying a Camper Van: Table of Contents 📖


  • Reliability and warranty coverage
  • Customization options and modern features
  • Reduced maintenance and repairs
  • Higher upfront costs
  • Rapid depreciation
  • Limited selection and availability
  •  Lower purchase price and depreciation
  •      Wider variety and availability
  •      Potential for customization and upgrades
  • Vehicle condition and maintenance history
  •      Inspection and pre-purchase evaluation
  •      Financing and insurance options
  •   Calculating the total cost of ownership
  •   Initial purchase price
  •   Depreciation and resale value
  •  Assessing your budget and financial goals
  •    Determining your travel needs and preferences
  •    Weighing the pros and cons of new vs. used vans
Buying a Camper Van Mercedes Sprinter camper


Buying a New Camper Van: Is It Worth the Investment? 💰


When buying a camper van, one option is to buy a brand-new vehicle straight from the showroom. Let’s explore the advantages and drawbacks of taking this route.


Advantages of Buying a Brand-New Camper Van

Reliability and Warranty Coverage

One of the significant benefits of buying a new camper van is the assurance of reliability. With a brand-new vehicle, you can expect it to be in pristine condition, free from wear and tear. Additionally, buying a new camper vans often come with a manufacturer’s warranty, providing you with peace of mind and protection against unexpected repairs.


Customization Options and Modern Features

Buying a new camper van allows you to customize the vehicle to your preferences. You can choose the interior layout, amenities, and even the color scheme. Moreover, new models often incorporate the latest technological advancements, such as advanced navigation systems, energy-efficient appliances, and enhanced safety features.

👉 Find a van builder to customize your new camper van

Reduced Maintenance and Repairs

With a new camper van, you’ll likely experience fewer maintenance issues in the early years of ownership. The vehicle’s components are new and less prone to breakdowns, reducing the frequency and cost of repairs. This advantage can lead to fewer disruptions during your adventures on the road.


Drawbacks of Buying a New Camper Van


Higher Upfront Costs

One significant consideration when buying a new camper van is the higher upfront cost. New vehicles come with a premium price tag due to their condition, customizability, and modern features. If you have budget constraints, this might pose a challenge and require additional financial planning.


Rapid Depreciation

Another factor to bear in mind when buying a camper van is the speed of depreciation. New camper vans suffer rapid depreciation – that is faster depreciation than when you buy a used camper van.

As soon as you drive it off the lot, the vehicle’s value can depreciate significantly. It’s crucial to consider the potential loss of value and how it may impact your financial position should you decide to sell or trade-in the camper van in the future.


Limited Selection and Availability

New camper vans may have limited availability, especially if you’re searching for a specific make, model, or customization options. Depending on your preferences, you might find yourself facing a waiting period or compromising on certain features.


Buying a Used Camper Van: Finding Value and Savings 🔄


If purchasing a brand-new camper van seems financially challenging or unnecessary, exploring the used market can be an excellent alternative when buying a camper van. Let’s delve into the benefits and considerations associated with buying a used camper van.


Buying a Camper Van: Women sat on roof of converted campervans with view of countryside


Benefits of Buying a Used Camper Van


Lower Purchase Price and Depreciation

One of the most significant advantages of buying a used camper van is the lower purchase price. Used vehicles typically come at a more affordable price point compared to their new counterparts, allowing you to stretch your budget further. Additionally, since the initial owner absorbed the majority of the vehicle’s depreciation, you’ll likely experience slower depreciation rates during your ownership.


Wider Variety and Availability

The used camper van market offers a vast selection of models, brands, and configurations. Whether you’re looking for a vintage VW camper or a more modern Mercedes Sprinter, you’re likely to find a wider variety of options in the used market. This increased availability allows you to find a camper van that aligns perfectly with your preferences and travel needs.


Potential for Customization and Upgrades

Buying a used camper van provides an opportunity to personalize and upgrade the vehicle according to your specific requirements. You can customize the interior, add amenities, or even incorporate sustainable features such as solar panels or energy-efficient appliances. This flexibility allows you to create a camper van tailored to your unique taste and lifestyle.


Considerations When Buying a Used Camper Van


Vehicle Condition and Maintenance History

When buying a used camper van, it’s crucial to thoroughly evaluate the vehicle’s condition and maintenance history. Conducting a comprehensive inspection or seeking the assistance of a professional mechanic can help identify any underlying issues or maintenance requirements.

Reviewing service records and vehicle history reports will provide insights into the vehicle’s past and aid in making an informed decision.


Inspection and Pre-purchase Evaluation

Before going ahead and buying a camper van, take the time to inspect the camper van thoroughly. Check for signs of wear and tear, leaks, mechanical issues, and any potential safety concerns. A test drive can also help you assess the vehicle’s performance and drivability. Don’t hesitate to ask questions and request documentation related to the vehicle’s maintenance, repairs, and ownership history.


Financing and Insurance Options

When buying a used camper van, explore various financing and insurance options to secure the best deal. Research different lenders and insurance providers to compare rates, terms, and coverage. Additionally, consider obtaining an extended warranty to safeguard against unexpected repairs and maintenance costs.



Comparing the Costs: New vs. Used Camper Vans 💸


When deciding between a new and used camper van, it’s crucial to evaluate the total cost of ownership. Let’s break down the key cost considerations for both options.


Calculating the Total Cost of OwnershipTo assess the true cost of a camper van, consider the following factors:


Initial Purchase Price

The initial purchase price encompasses the cost of the camper van itself, including any taxes, registration fees, and other associated expenses. This is where the price difference between new and used vehicles becomes apparent.


Depreciation and Resale Value

Depreciation plays a significant role in the overall cost of owning a camper van. New vehicles experience rapid depreciation in the early years, while used vehicles tend to depreciate at a slower rate. Additionally, considering the potential resale value of the camper van can help gauge its long-term cost.


Maintenance and Insurance Costs


Owning a camper van entails maintenance and insurance expenses. Consider the average maintenance costs for both new and used vehicles, as well as the insurance premiums associated with each option. Used camper vans might require more frequent repairs, while new vehicles benefit from warranty coverage during the initial years.


Maintenance and Insurance Costs 🛠️


Maintaining a camper van is essential for its longevity and optimal performance. Let’s explore the maintenance tasks and insurance considerations associated with owning a camper van.


Essential Maintenance Tasks

Regular maintenance is crucial to keep your camper van in top shape. Some essential maintenance tasks include:

  • Regularly checking and replacing fluids, such as oil and coolant.
  • Inspecting and rotating tires to ensure even wear.
  • Servicing brakes and replacing brake pads when necessary.
  • Cleaning and maintaining the interior, including appliances and plumbing systems.
  • Conducting routine checks on the electrical and propane systems.

By staying proactive with maintenance after buying a camper van, you can minimize the risk of breakdowns and costly repairs.


Insurance Considerations

Insuring your camper van protects you financially in the event of accidents, theft, or damage. When choosing insurance coverage, consider the following:

  • Liability coverage to protect against damage caused to others.
  • Comprehensive coverage for theft, vandalism, or natural disasters.
  • Collision coverage to protect against damages from accidents.
  • Personal property coverage to safeguard belongings inside the camper van.
  • Coverage for medical payments and personal injury protection.

Shop around for insurance quotes, compare coverage options, and ensure you have adequate protection for your needs.


Tips for Negotiating the Price 💲


Whether you’re purchasing a new or used camper van, negotiating the price can help you secure a better deal. Consider these tips to enhance your negotiation skills:

  • Conduct thorough research on the current market value of the specific camper van you’re interested in.
  • Compare prices from different sellers or dealerships to identify potential price discrepancies.
  • Point out any defects, maintenance requirements, or comparable vehicles at lower prices to negotiate a better deal.
  • Be prepared to walk away if the seller is unwilling to meet your desired price point.
  • Consider using a professional inspector or mechanic’s evaluation as leverage for negotiation.
  • Be respectful and approach the negotiation process with a cooperative mindset to foster a positive outcome.

By employing these negotiation strategies, you may be able to secure a camper van at a more favorable price.

For more tips, check out this blog: 👉 Mastering Negotiations: Getting the Best Deal on Converted Vans for Sale



Making the Decision: What’s Right for You 🤔


When it comes to buying a camper van, the decision ultimately depends on your unique circumstances, preferences, and financial goals. Consider the following factors to guide your choice:


Assessing Your Budget and Financial Goals

Evaluate your budget and determine how much you can comfortably allocate toward buying a camper van and maintaining it. Consider your long-term financial goals, such as saving for retirement or other priorities. Aligning your decision with your financial capabilities will help prevent unnecessary strain and ensure a more enjoyable ownership experience.


Determining Your Travel Needs and Preferences

Consider the type of travel experiences you seek and how a camper van fits into those plans. Are you planning extended road trips or shorter getaways? Do you require specific amenities or customization options to accommodate your lifestyle? Assessing your travel needs and preferences will help you prioritize the features and benefits that matter most to you.


Weighing the Pros and Cons of New vs. Used Vans

Reflect on the advantages and disadvantages discussed earlier in this article. Consider your risk tolerance, desired level of customization, and the importance of warranty coverage. Weigh the benefits against the drawbacks to make an informed decision that aligns with your priorities.


Summary ✨


Buying a camper van can be a thrilling and life-changing decision. Whether you choose to purchase a new or used vehicle, each option comes with its own set of advantages and considerations. New camper vans offer reliability, customization options, and reduced maintenance, but at a higher cost and rapid depreciation.

Used camper vans provide affordability, wider variety, and potential for customization, with considerations such as vehicle condition and maintenance history. By carefully evaluating your budget, travel needs, and weighing the pros and cons, you can make a well-informed decision that suits your lifestyle.


Key Takeaways ✅


  • Buying a new camper van offers reliability, warranty coverage, and modern features, but come with higher upfront costs and rapid depreciation.
  • Buying a used camper van provides affordability, customization options, and wider availability, with considerations of vehicle condition and maintenance history.
  • Calculate the total cost of ownership, including the initial purchase price, depreciation, and maintenance expenses, before buying a camper van.
  • Regular maintenance and appropriate insurance coverage are crucial for a camper van’s upkeep and financial protection.
  • Negotiation skills can help you secure a better price when buying a camper van.


Frequently Asked Questions 🙋‍♀️



Yes, negotiating the price of a camper van is common practice. Research the market value, compare prices, and leverage any defects or comparable lower-priced vehicles to negotiate a better deal.

Look for reputable sellers or dealerships with positive customer reviews and a strong reputation. Seek recommendations from friends, family, or online communities that specialize in camper vans.

Renting a camper van before buying can provide valuable firsthand experience. Renting a camper van allows you to assess the practicality, comfort, and suitability of different models before making a significant investment.

Regular maintenance tasks include fluid checks and replacements, tire inspections, brake servicing, cleaning the interior, and routine checks on electrical and plumbing systems. Following the manufacturer’s guidelines and seeking professional assistance when needed ensures your camper van remains in good condition.

Read this next


Register to receive our newsletter, bringing you exclusive offers and the latest news.

Sell your Van in 7 days

Built by enthusiasts, for enthusiasts, Buy or Sell Campers is the ultimate place to browse hundreds of camper vans for sale nationwide. Drill down into van-specific features that make all the difference in finding your perfect camper van. 

Selling your camper van? We can help with that too. Instantly gain exposure to thousands of van buyers across the Country!

Why Buy or Sell Campers?

With over 200k followers, tapping into our social media guarantees mass exposure for your rig.