BY: SAMANTHA TAPP
VW camper vans have been a staple in both past and present culture. It used to just be car enthusiasts who lusted after these vehicles to buy to restore the vintage vehicle to its original glory, but nowadays it ranges from enthusiasts to travellers to people looking to save some cash that are purchasing these vans to renovate them. There is a huge variety of VW campers to choose from if you too are looking to buy your own camper.
Whether you’re looking for an antique-looking VW camper or a more modernized version, there are some things to check out when you’re looking for your own dream camper. The first thing you will probably decide on is the cost you’re willing to spend on your camper, but after that is finalized there are a few other things you should make sure to look for. Checking off this list may feel tedious, but it’ll help you in the long run.
These are the 5 things to look for when buying a VW camper:
1. How rusty is too rusty?
This is arguably one of the biggest things you need to check for when looking at VW campers. Rust can be big killer for cars, especially if you’re checking out a vehicle that has been around for decades. Get on your knees and get dirty for this one. Check out every nook and cranny for rust, as some can be easy to remove, such as surface rust, or it can be so serious that the camper is not worth the money.
Rust can cause a multitude of problems, but basically it can weaken the integrity of the camper van, which will destroy the metal. If it’s just surface rust it can most likely be removed by sanding it down. If the rust is serious and has been spreading for years, which will look like parts of the metal is dissolved, this means the van will need serious upgrades. In other words, a little rust is worth your money while serious rust is a waste.
2. How are the essentials?
As with any vehicle you’re looking to buy you need to check out the major components of the camper: the engine, transmission and the brake. These can be expensive to replace, especially if you’re looking to purchase a rare VW model. So check out the engine, make sure the battery has a good connection and the gas pedal is smooth and functioning properly. Listen to the engine and the brakes, make sure there aren’t any strange noises when you turn the camper on.
Along with the engine, you need to make sure the transmission and brakes are working. Put the camper in neutral and move the shifter into each gear. Don’t force the shifter, wiggle it so that it moves easily, if it doesn’t work then the transmission may be shot. And replacing this can be costly. Test the brakes while you’re in the camper. They should be smooth, quick and have good pressure.
3. Is it smelly?
Be aware of everything surrounding the camper van because any fluid can be a sign of a big issue. Check for any signs of leaking gas or oil, which you may be able to see around the car or even smell. If the camper has been taken good care of then there shouldn’t be an issue, but any sign of fluid could mean that you should move on from the camper.
4. Does it have the basics?
This stuff may be cheaper to replace, but it’s definitely a bonus if all of the accessories are in place. Depending on what matters to you in your camper some of this stuff may not matter, but it’s best to know what works and what doesn’t before you decide to purchase the camper.
Do all of the signals and brake lights work? Does the radio work? Do the windows roll up and down? Does the horn work? Do the windshield wipers work? Does the sunroof open and close easily? Do the headlights work? Do the seats recline? The camper may come at a cheaper cost if these things don’t work, but it may cost you more in the long run to install them yourself.
5. Is it worth it?
Are the inevitable renovations and repairs that you’ll have to do worth the cost? If the camper is already expensive, but doesn’t have any special redeeming qualities then perhaps it’s best to look elsewhere. Factor in how much you’ll be spending on the renovations before you actually buy the camper; it may work out to be cheaper if you buy a more expensive camper that has less repairs. Or, if you’re looking to make whatever camper you buy completely your own then it’s probably best to buy a cheap, rundown version and use your money solely towards renovations.