Motorhome buying advice: the handover
Known as a handover day, the date you pick up your new motorhome from the dealer is always highly anticipated.
However, to ensure a smooth process and plain-sailing motorhome ownership you need to make sure you know what to expect on the all-important day.
A few days before the collection day, call the dealer to double-check the date is still correct (pre-delivery inspection issues and current pandemic guidelines might mean a slight delay).
We always recommend not booking a trip until you get close to the handover date but, if you need to, then check with the dealer whether they can loan you a vehicle for the proposed trip if the delivery of your new motorhome is delayed for an unanticipated reason. Some dealers will offer this service but not all, so check.
Once the handover date is confirmed, then dig out the contract and paperwork from the day when you agreed the deal and have a read again, checking the terms and conditions.
Make sure you know all of the options that you have paid extra for, whether they are dealer or manufacturer fit. If the items are listed on separate sheets of paper, write them up as one list for reference on the day.
Sort out your insurance in advance to be valid from the day you collect your new motorhome or campervan.
Always be honest with the insurer and always look for a motorhome-specific policy – check out What Motorhome magazine’s insurance advice and comparison article in the September issue – available to buy here in our digital store.
When the day arrives and you are at the dealer, the handover process will start. You should be asked to check the motorhome (get out your list) for options and also that everything is as it should be. Do this before you sign the paperwork and arrange for any outstanding balance to be paid.
Your dealer will then demonstrate how everything works – most will hook up to the mains and fit a gas bottle to demonstrate with systems operating.
It’s also a good idea for the motorhome to be unplugged so you can make sure everything that’s supposed to work off 12V (the leisure battery) does.
While this is going on you should take copious notes or use a smartphone or camera to record the different elements and then refer back to them if you forget something later on.
Don’t rush through this process and ask for repeat instructions if there is anything you are unsure about.
Most motorhome systems essentially work the same, but they all have their quirks and specific operational procedures can differ.
Check you have instruction manuals for everything. There will be one for the motorhome (often very generic to the range or brand) and then different ones for all the components, like fridge, heating, control panels, etc. Plus, the base vehicle will have a set, too.
Many manufacturers and dealers offer video instructions so ask if these are available – often they are available for free on YouTube so you can view whenever you need to.
If you find something wrong or that doesn’t tally with your order, there are a couple of ways to go. You can arrange to pick up the motorhome when the issue has been resolved.
This is where buying from a dealer local to your home is a boon. Or you can take the motorhome away with you with a written agreement from the dealer to remedy the issue at a later date.
Remember to double-check the warranty cover and any related conditions, such as servicing and habitation checks to maintain the validity of the warranty.
If you miss a service or required check, then any warranty claim could be refused at a later date, so make a note in your diary.
We would always recommend staying the first night at a site close by if you can.
This will allow you to return the next working day if there are problems or further questions. Some dealers even have a camping area within the premises or preferred campsites nearby.
Things to make note of when collecting your motorhome or campervan:
- Fuse, jacking point and towing eye locations
- Jump-start process
- Maintenance tips
- Drain-down procedure
- Battery locations
- Heater/boiler switch operation
- Tyre age and condition
- Bed-making process
- Warranty conditions