What Year Is My Caravan?
Considering selling and asking yourself "What year is my caravan"?Quick answer! Check your caravan's documents. Otherwise, check the 10th digit of your caravan VIN number and check the letter against our handy table!
There's no harm in knocking a few years off our own age if someone asks - but when it comes to caravans, it's useful to be accurate!
In this quick guide, we'll explain a couple of different methods that will help you identify the age of your caravan. We'll also explain why this information is helpful in making sure you get the best price for it if you ever decide to sell!
Why is it important to find out how old a caravan is?
If you're the owner of a caravan, having an accurate age is important for a couple of reasons.
Firstly, there's insurance to think about. Your insurance company will need to know the exact year of manufacture so they can offer cover. Without the correct age, you might find your insurer won't provide cover or that the cover they do offer becomes void if they've based it on a guess.
Secondly, there's resale value. Some people may buy a caravan without knowing the exact age - but most people will want to know the year it was made so they know they're paying a fair price.
Of course, if you're a potential caravan buyer, then this last point is especially important. Knowing the date of manufacturer helps you compare similar caravans that are for sale - to make sure you're not paying more than you should.
Where can I find my caravan's age?
You've got a couple of options for finding the age of a caravan. Here we'll look at where to find the age of the caravan on sales documents - and how to work out the age from a caravan VIN number.
Let's start with the easiest option!
Perhaps the easiest way to find the age of your caravan is to look at the documents you got when you bought it. Unfortunately, that does mean lifting everything out of that drawer full of receipts and old council tax bills!
You might want to look for a sales invoice, a handbook, or perhaps the CRIS registration documents.
Chances are, there will be lots of different numbers listed - but it should be pretty obvious when you find it. You're looking for something like "2022 Swift Vogue Compact" - the year then the make and model name.
Caravan VIN code/number
If you're not certain that the year on your documents is correct - or you just can't find them, then checking the VIN (vehicle identification number) is the best option.
Different manufacturers and caravan retailers have different names for the VIN number. Some refer to it as the 'CRIS number', some as the 'chassis number' or some as the 'serial number'. Either way, they all mean the same thing - so if you find one, you've found them all!
The key to finding the number is knowing where to look!
Check the following places to find the VIN number:
The bottom right hand corner of a window
Some manufacturers stick a permanent sticker in the bottom right hand corner of one of the main windows of the caravan. In modern caravans you'll often see a black sticker marked 'VIN' showing a 17-digit number. It will sometimes also have a QR code - a kind of barcode that gives some optional manufacturer data.
The sticker may only be a frame that goes around a number that's etched into the window.
On the chassis or A-frame
VIN numbers are often also stamped into the caravan's A-frame - that's the bit that sticks out at the front so the van can be pulled. On an older caravan it's often stamped underneath - so you might want to wait until it's not raining to duck under for a look!
On the weight plate
The weight plate is the small metal plate that's secured to the body of the caravan - usually near the door or the wheel arch. It gives the weight details of the caravan so it can be towed safely - but also shows the VIN of that particular vehicle.
In the handbook
We've already mentioned looking for the year of manufacturer details on your paperwork - but since some people keep their handbook in their caravan, it's worth taking a glance if it's to hand. The VIN will usually be printed inside the first few pages - or written in manually by the dealer.
I've Found The Vin - Now How To I Work Out The Age?
Hopefully now you've got the VIN number - but how do you turn all those letters and numbers into useful information?!
Don't panic - decoding caravan VINs is fairly simple.
Count 10 characters into the 17 digit number. You should get to a letter. Now, check against the list below to get your year.
N = 1992
P = 1993
R = 1994
S = 1995
T = 1996
V = 1997
W = 1998
X = 1999
Y = 2000
1 = 2001
2 = 2002
3 = 2003
4 = 2004
5 = 2005
6 = 2006
7 = 2007
8 = 2008
9 = 2009
A = 2010
B = 2011
C = 2012
D = 2013
E = 2014
F = 2015
G = 2016
H = 2017
J = 2018
K = 2019
L = 2020
M = 2021
N = 2022
Other useful information in the caravan VIN number
There's other helpful info built into the VIN number - and you don't have to be a code-breaker to work it all out!
We'll use an example VIN number of SGBSF5RBYE0001234
Let's walk through the full VIN one piece of information at a time
First two characters
The first two characters are a country code showing where the caravan was manufactured. SG is the most common as it is the code for the UK.
The third character usually gives a code for the manufacturer name. In this case, it is B for Bailey - and is there to make up something known as the 'world manufacturer identifier' - the first three digits of all vehicle VINs around the world - showing the same information everywhere.
The fourth character will be either T or S. This designates whether the caravan is a single axle (S) or a twin axle (T). Needless to say, this should always correspond with the actual caravan.
5th, 6th & 7th characters
This is a space reserved for optional manufacturer information. They might use this space for their own codes around layouts and other similar information.
8th & 9th characters
This is an additional space to show manufacturer codes - with each caravan maker having their own code. These aren't always an exact science as, sometimes, certain brands are made by (or have been bought by) other manufacturers. For instance, some Compass caravans will show 'EX' as they were built by the Explorer Group.
As we've already covered - the 10th character of the VIN stands for the year of manufacture.
11th, 12th, 13th characters
Again, these are reserved for optional manufacturer data.
14th, 15th, 16th & 17th characters
Finally, we get to the last four digits in the VIN number. These are the caravan's unique serial number - which can be helpful if your manufacturer gets in touch with you about a recall or anything other info specific to a certain range of caravans.
What Year is My Caravan? A Quick Summary!
Wonder what year your caravan is? No problem - you'll find quick answers by checking your sales documents or the unique VIN number of the caravan.
The answer should be fairly easy to work out from your documents - but if you're looking at the VIN - you need to look for the 10th character then use the table above to work out the year.