50 things to check before buying a campervan

The big step! Even if you already bought a camper in your life, visiting the vehicle for the first time is always something important. To avoid scams or bad plans, we advice you to stay organize and prepare your visit with a checklist. It’s a simple and efficient way to not forget anything!

It doesn’t really matter if you are buying an old or recent leisure vehicle: the criterias you have to take care about are always the same! That’s why we decided to create a checklist that can be used by everyone.

How to prepare yourself to buy a second hand camper van? What are the criteria to absolutely care about? Here are our advices!


What to do before buying a camper van?


Before the visit

Visiting a camper or a van is harder than seeing a simple vehicle. It takes really long if you want to check everything, i’ll say minimum two hours and it can last for many more! That’s why we advice you to prepare your visit beforehand.

To make the checklist more usefull for you, you can print it or if you care of trees you download it on your phone in any notes app you got. Study the differents points: look up on yellowvanlife articles, on internet, or ask us any questions you have on the Q&A page.

You can also try to ask as much as you can to the seller before the visit, then you can start completing the checklist. It can also be a good idea to ask the seller to prepare the visit for you. You are going to check the electricity, water and equipments. This require a gas bottle, enough water in the fresh tank and in the boiler, and an access and cables to connect the vehicle to a 220V outlet (regular houses outlets).


During the visit

Of course, you can start it up with a quick tour looking if you like the general appareance of the vehicle or simply for a good feeling. Then you can start checking everything with the help of the checklist. Check everything, even things the owner told you about because a mistake can always happen (think about the 5 digits odometers on old vehicles!).

Check what’s ok, write down some notes about positive or negative things. You can also take pictures: a lot of pictures! This can be super helpful if you want to ask others if buying this vehicle is a good idea.


After the visit

Time to put everything on the table and think! Ask for advice, even more if it is your first purchase. Take your time, but at your own risk if you take too long. Once again, do not hesitate to ask any question you have on the question & answers section!


Ready? Tick it!

The checklist you’ll fill below is available to download for free. If you download it, you have an access to a table explaining in details what do you have to check, where you can also take notes.


Download the PDF here!


Do not hesitate to adjust this checklist to the vehicle you’re going to see. This is what the preparation time is for. For example, some engine are running on LPG: add it up on the list to not forget to check when was the last check at a garage and if the tank is UE compliant!

This checklist require a minimal amount of knowledge related to camper / campervan / caravans or any little house on wheels. Do not hesitate to search on yellowvanlife for articles related to equipments, or to know if you have to run away in front of broken things!


Administrative part

  1. ☐ Vehicle paper
  2. ☐ Maintenance bills
  3. ☐ Garage check
  4. ☐ Electric scheme 
  5. ☐ Vehicle historic


Mechanic / maintenance

Before starting the engine: 

  1. ☐ Timing belt oldness (date and km)
  2. ☐ Tires oldness (date and km)
  3. ☐ Last liquid emptying and filters oldness (date and km)
  4. ☐ Accidents?
  5. ☐ Mileage
  6. ☐ Battery age (date)
  7. ☐ Liquids (cooling, oil, brakes)
  8. ☐ Checking for any leakage (on the engine and on the ground) 
  9. ☐ Checking the hoses (crackles) 
  10. ☐ Honk
  11. ☐ Headlights and indicators
  12. ☐ Wipers
  13. ☐ Keychain


When you give it a try: 

  1. ☐ Start the engine
  2. ☐ Check the smoke color
  3. ☐ Smoothness of the gear lever
  4. ☐ Effectiveness of the brakes
  5. ☐ Parallelism
  6. ☐ Control any suspicious noise (when you turn, brake, stop)
  7. ☐ Engine vibrations


Outside part


  1.  ☐ General state of the chassis (rust, wetness)
  2.  ☐ General state of the body (accident, hole)
  3.  ☐ Bumpers
  4.  ☐ Roof
  5.  ☐ Joints sealing



  1. ☐ Gas
  2. ☐ Toilet
  3. ☐ Outside shower (option)
  4. ☐ Windows
  5. ☐ Water tank opening mechanism
  6. ☐ Lockers / door barrels 
  7. ☐ Outside blind
  8. ☐ Bike carrier (option)
  9. ☐ Solar panels (option)


Inside part

  1. ☐ Try out all the buttons on the control panel
  2. ☐ Test all the lights
  3. ☐ Try to open and close all the windows/closets/doors/mosquito nets
  4. ☐ Looking for wetness everywhere 
  5. ☐ Heater
  6. ☐ Try the fridges (3 ways: 12V, 220V, gaz)
  7. ☐ Try the gas pits
  8. ☐ Turn on the water in the kitchen and the bathroom
  9. ☐ Start the ventilation
  10. ☐ Try the 220V and 12V outlets
  11. ☐ Start the air conditioner (option)