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Buying A New vs Used Campervan

Wondering if you should be buying a new vs used campervan for your campervan conversion? In this article, we are going to break down the main differences between buying a new vs used campervan.

While it might be nice to start fresh and build out a brand new campervan, it could save you thousands of dollars by buying a used van. There really is no right or wrong answer, but we will highlight the pros and cons of buying a new vs used campervan. 

Buying New vs Used Campervans

One thing to note is a car is a depreciating asset. While your campervan conversion might become your full-time home, it won’t have the same resale value as an actual home because you will simply be adding wear and tear to the engine and body of the vehicle. And not to mention living in your tiny home on wheels will add normal wear and tear to the interior.

How to Know if Vanlife is right for You Pin

If you are at all on the fence about vanlife, check out our post: How To Know If Vanlife Is Right For You

And if you aren’t even sure where to even begin with what van you might want to convert, check out our post: How To Choose A Van For A Campervan Conversion for an in-depth guide of all the different types of campervans.  

Buying a New Campervan:

Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash

The main benefit of buying a new campervan is that you are starting fresh. There is no mechanical or cosmetic damage yet.

And if you plan to build out a conversion, you can probably get a van without any of the seats inside or extra fluff they add to make a van comfortable for passengers.

Also with buying a new campervan you often get set up with warranties for any manufacturer problems for the first few years or so. This can be huge if something goes wrong because it might be covered under warranty and not come directly from your pocket. 

But with the pros come the cons. Not to mention the main con of buying a new campervan is it is more expensive, and it loses 10% of its value as soon as you drive it off the lot. And insurance on a new vehicle tends to be higher than a used vehicle. 

Pros Of Buying A New Campervan:

  • Fresh start
  • No mechanical issues
  • No cosmetic damage
  • Warranties
  • Latest Technology

Cons Of Buying A New Campervan:

  • Expensive
  • Loses 10% value as soon as you drive it off the lot
  • Higher Insurance Rates

Who Are New Campervans Best For:

If budget isn’t an issue and you plan to use your campervan over many years or plan to sell it to make a profit, then a new van is best for you. It can be great to have a clean slate and know that your campervan has many years to run on the road with little to no mechanical issues. 

Buying a Used Campervan:

Photo by Tobias Tullius on Unsplash

Buying a used campervan can definitely have some pros and cons. With the biggest pro being “less expensive”. But obviously, with buying a used campervan comes the uncertainty of the campervan’s mechanical condition. There is a whole slew of different things to consider when buying a used vehicle such as make, model, mileage, year, previous owners, etc. 

One note of buying a used campervan, is they tend to make it to 250,000-300,000+ miles if they’ve been well maintained. Old diesel engines tend to go even longer. So don’t let a high mileage used campervan for sale scare you away. 

With today’s technology, there is a good amount of online tools that can help you decide if the used vehicle you are buying is a good deal or not, such as Kelly Blue Book. Or you can find the history of a used vehicle on Carfax.

Private Party vs Dealership

There are a couple different ways to buy used vans for sale. Such as buying it from a dealership or private party. While the price often goes down buying it from a private party, you also might not get the full details about certain problems. Or the vehicle might have problems the seller might not even know about. Whereas if you buy a used van from a dealership, they are most likely going to fix all the little problems the vehicle has before selling it to you or at least mention it to you before purchasing (but not always).

Therefore, if you plan to buy a used van, we HIGHLY suggest getting a Pre-Purchase Inspection. It’s best if you have a mechanic you trust. But if you are buying a used van from a place away from home, then you might have to find a local mechanic and hope they don’t screw you over. 


One other way people might find used vans for sale is in an auction. But this carries the most risk when buying a van because you don’t always get all the details of the vehicle. If you have some experience with car mechanics, you could strike a great deal on a used campervan for a great price. Auctions can be intimidating because you usually have to purchase the vehicle that day without much time to think about it.  And they almost always come “as is”, with no refunds for any reason.

If you are interested in buying a used campervan from an auction here is a list of the Top 10 Best Online Auction Websites To Buy Used Cars.  Or another good one that’s not on that list is

Ultimately if you decide to go with a used van, then the cost of insurance tends to go down. But you also probably wont be covered by warranty, so in the long run, you might be paying more for little things here and there. However, when you buy a used van, you can find a vehicle that is more in your price range so you don’t have to take out a loan. Or if you do take out a loan, you can plan to pay it off quickly or get a lower interest rate. 

Plus, if you buy a used van you will have a way larger assortment of vans to choose from rather than the select few new vans on the market. Be sure to check out our post How To Choose A Campervan For A Campervan Conversion to find which van is best for you. And if you are interested in AWD or 4×4, be sure to check out our post All Vans With 4×4 or AWD (in the U.S.)

Pros Of Buying A Used Campervan:

  • Less Expensive
  • Larger assortment of vehicles to choose from
  • Less expensive insurance 

Cons Of Buying A Used Campervan:

  • Might not know the car’s full history
  • No warranty
  • May have less life left

Who Are Used Campervans Best For:

Honestly, because vehicles are a depreciating asset, we think buying a used campervan is best for almost everyone. You can save tons of money by buying a used campervan for sale. 

Even if you are leaning towards a new campervan, you can find a lightly used vehicle with little miles for a fraction of the price versus a new vehicle. 

And for those of you who are on board with buying a used campervan for sale, there are TONS of great vans on the market. There are great websites like Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, local dealerships,, car gurus, etc.  But always use good common sense to protect yourself from scams and dishonest sellers.

Takeaway | Buying New vs Used Campervan:

Photo By Negative Space on Pexels

Jake and I are pretty on board with buying used campervans exclusively. I think it is enticing to buy the shiny new van and have all the top-of-the-line technology, but you lose thousands in the first year alone.

Yes, there comes some risk with buying a used vehicle, but with the money you save from not buying a new vehicle, you can put toward any issues you might face from buying a used vehicle.

But, ultimately, it’s your decision, so we hope highlighting the pros and cons of buying a new vs used campervan helps you make the best decision for you! 

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Should You Buy A New vs Used Campervan for a campervan conversion
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