Campers continue to gain popularity and are unstoppable. By May 2022, no fewer than 166,000 motorhomes will be driving around the Netherlands. However, you should be careful if you are considering buying a motorhome, because there are vehicles with roll-back odometers or counterfeit maintenance booklets among the range. MAX vacation doing research and trying to separate the wheat from the chaff.
The investigation was prompted by a complaint from a viewer of MAX vacation† He and his husband bought their dream motorhome last summer from a car dealer somewhere in the middle of the country. The camper has a completely new interior and looks nice from the outside. It seems like a good buy. The only thing missing is a registration number, but this is fixed quickly after purchase. The camper is imported from abroad and must first be inspected by RDW, the organization that takes care of the registration of motor vehicles and driving licenses in the Netherlands. This will be arranged within a few weeks.
Kilometers on the counter
The couple is proud of their purchase and would like to travel with it. After the camper is delivered, they go to Spain for a few months. However, they already have engine problems along the way. They knock on the door of a Spanish garage for help, but this one brings bad news. The condition of the engine does not correspond to the number of kilometers on the counter at that time. It is suspected that the motorhome has driven a few tons more. A big financial downturn for the couple, who therefore paid way too much for the motorhome. They get their caravan repaired and visit the seller when they return to Holland. He refuses to know anything but offers to check the motorhome again at his expense.
The couple is trying to figure out the true status of their campers, but it’s hard. The motorhome does not have a registration number when purchased, which means that it is not possible to inquire with RDW at that time. With the help of Vereniging Aanpak Tellerfraude (VAT) and MAX vacation the motorhome’s vehicle report is retrieved. This contains all recorded odometer readings of the vehicle and facts do not lie. Shortly before the sale, the camper was turned 163,000 kilometers back. As a result, the couple has paid thousands of euros too much for their motorhome and they will have to go to the garage for maintenance sooner. Because the garage that previously maintained this motorhome no longer exists, there is no longer any resort for them. With their experience, the couple would like to warn other motorhome owners: check the status of a motorhome before buying.
Reversing odometer readings has been banned by law in the Netherlands since 2014. Nevertheless, probably 20 percent of vehicles on the Dutch road have a reverse mileage. To prevent this, the vehicle’s mileage must be recorded every time you visit a workshop. This is stored by RDW in a mileage record. Based on a number plate, you can check the mileage on RDW’s website. It says ‘logical’, ‘illogical’ or ‘no judgment’. A logical position means that the counter reading increases, in case of an illogical judgment, a previously registered position is higher. This represents a break in the trend. In the case of “no judgment”, RDW does not know whether the counter reading is correct or not. The vehicle then comes from abroad and there is no access to the counter-registration.
With a vehicle output report, the buyer can check whether the registered counter readings form a logical, sequential series. A vehicle report can be requested for Dutch cars, commercial vehicles and motorhomes up to 3,500 kg on RDW’s website. The vehicle report also contains technical information about the vehicle and mentions any recalls on the vehicle.
If you have a motorhome with a reverse counter, you can take action against the seller. They must inform you that the counter reading is not logical. If the seller has not stated this, it is possible to cancel the purchase. You can then start a complaint about errors, this expires 3 years after the discovery that the counter reading is incorrect. To cancel the purchase, you must provide proof that the counter reading was not correct at the time of purchase. If you cannot reach an agreement with the seller, a judge can make the decision.
Are you considering buying a motorhome? Then it is good to be aware of a number of points. This prevents a lot of misery afterwards. RDW and Nederlandse Kampeerauto Club (NKC) provide tips if you want to buy a motorhome. We list them below.
- Ask for the maintenance history. The booklet must be present with the vehicle. There must be stamps in from garages where the camper has previously been for maintenance. There you can also inquire about whether the data is correct.
- Check if the vehicle has a logical meter reading and do not buy a motorhome without a number plate. Because then you can not do a study at RDW. If the vehicle comes from abroad, you should do your own research. Imported motorhomes are sometimes rolled back to make them economically attractive to the Dutch market.
- Have a purchase inspection carried out by a reputable company. He checks the motorhome completely technically and motorically.
- Buy from a company associated with the BOVAG quality brand and make sure you have a guarantee. The warranty may vary depending on the age of the motorhome. If you still have problems later, you can contact BOVAG for help. This is only possible if the selling party is a member.
- Take care of moisture problems in the motorhome. This causes dirty stains, stench and mold. The interior can also skew, become porous or rust due to moisture. If the camper smells musty or smells of a scent freshener, the seller is probably trying to hide something. Most dealers have a moisture meter and can use a measurement to show if the motorhome has moisture problems.
- Look at the interior of the motorhome. Are the seats, mats or gear lever worn? This may indicate a higher meter reading.
- Take a test drive. Does the camper start flawlessly, drive well and rattle nothing? Also check engine and tires.
- Note the weight of the motorhome. Motorhomes for which a B driving license is required must not weigh more than 3,500 kilos. Due to the use of accessories, they are often already heavier than the number plate indicates as ready-to-drive weight. Therefore, also visit a bridge weight during the test drive and check if there is sufficient load capacity for people, full tanks and luggage. As a rule of thumb, we recommend a maximum weight of 3,000 kg on the bridge weight.
Do you not have that much knowledge about motorhomes yourself? Then ask someone else to take a look at the technical and motor skills. You do not buy a motorhome for 1 holiday, but for several years. A few extra eyes that look with you are therefore never wrong.
(Source: Research MAX Vakantieman, Vereniging Aanpak Tellerfraude, RDW, De Nederlandse Kampeerauto Club, ANWB. Photo: Shutterstock)