If you like to travel but value independence, then you may be thinking about buying a caravan to take you and your family into the wonderful Australian countryside. This gives you an amazing amount of flexibility, doesn't tie you to schedules and provides for an amazing bonding experience. If you've never owned a caravan before, you do need to think carefully before proceeding, to make sure that you not only buy what you need, but are careful when it comes to safety. What are some of the key elements you need to bear in mind?
Choosing What's Right for You
The first thing you need to do is to figure out what type of van would be best for your family unit. This means not only how many sleeping berths, but also what type of appliances and accessories are fitted inside, how everything is laid out and what type of styling meets your eye. This is the fun part, where you have a good deal of leeway in terms of selecting what's right for you.
Safety and Compliance
After you've done this, you need to ensure that what you are buying is compliant, legal and safe. This is where you should be aware of your obligations, but always choose a dealer who will patiently walk you through it, as well.
Plating and Declaration
Caravans are not required to have a compliance plate attached. You should look for a declaration by the manufacturer, however, that states that the caravan is compliant with any relevant regulations. For example, have a look at the trailer plate, which should have the details of the manufacturer and a specific identification number. There should be a declaration to say that the trailer was manufactured in compliance with the relevant law, and you should see details such as the "aggregated trailer mass."
Mass and Ratings
You need to be aware of the limits when it comes to ratings and mass ratings. Essentially, this means that you need to know the weight of the caravan and make sure that the tow-vehicle you use can legally pull that weight and that you never exceed it. You'll also need to know whether the loading on the tow ball is acceptable, and this will depend in large part on the configuration of the caravan and where you place heavy accessories and components.
Finally, make sure that the electrical and gas appliances are correctly installed and in accordance with Australian standards. You should have compliance certificates related to the caravan that you are considering.
If you are unsure about any of these elements, don't forget to ask your caravan dealer to help you both understand and get the paperwork needed before you set out on the road.