11 November 2014

An important part of purchasing a mobile home after the major initial cost is knowing what the ongoing expenses are ie how much it costs to keep your vehicle on the road.  We don't often remember to factor this into our buying decision but it can make a difference on a tight budget.


Each year you will have the following REGULAR COSTS:

  • Insurance
  • Registration
  • Self containment certificate (where applicable every 48 months)
  • Warrant / Certificate of Fitness - usually 6-monthly for an older vehicle and 12-monthly for a new one.
  • Warrant of Electrical Fitness - valid for 48 months


The FLEXIBLE REGULAR COSTS are relative to how much you will use the vehicle:

  • Fuel costs
  • Road user charges (if not petrol)


The VARIABLE COSTS consist of routine preventative maintenance and one-off repairs.

Each of the following need checking, and if necessary servicing:

  • Air conditioning gas
  • Anything that moves like a sliding door which may need greasing
  • Battery terminals and fluid level
  • Brake pads & fluid levels
  • Chassis nuts and bolts
  • Electronics (if applicable)
  • Fuel, air conditioning and air filters
  • Light bulbs, headlight glass, and fuses 
  • Locks, latches and hinges
  • Oil & filters
  • Radiator coolant level & condition
  • Rubber boots
  • Rust
  • Spark plugs
  • Timing belt
  • Transmission & power steering (if applicable) levels
  • Tyres - rotation & wheel alignment, balance, pressure & tread
  • Window & skylight seals; skylight condition
  • Windscreen water resevoir and wiper blades 


Some QUESTIONS to have in the back of your mind when assessing a vehicle are:

  • Is the vehicle a common make?
  • Are parts still available? 
  • Can I find a manual for this vehicle?
  • What am I able to do myself?
  • Is it controlled by an on-board computer that only a mechanic can diagnose?
  • Is there a service / repair person in our local area?



To calculate the cost per kilometre of a diesel vehicle:



Yes, this is the long way to do it, but I wanted to see what the total $ amount to budget was too, otherwise you can do it like this:




To compare a diesel vehicle to a petrol vehicle per litre of fuel:



Note: Neither calculation includes the admin fee for purchasing RUCs.

To find the RUC charge per kilometre for your type of vehicle (and the various admin fees) visit the NZTA website





For mileage rates you can try asking the vendor / manufacturer, generally searching online or you may find something (in the future) at Fuelly especially if you choose to contribute.


* 6200km - this is an estimate for how many kilometres a decent round trip of New Zealand might be.

04 November 2014

After months and months of scouring Trademe and NZMCD, we have some helpful advice to pass onto sellers that will make it faster, easier and more likely that a buyer will purchase your motorhome / caravan / bus / truck.

In fact, we've compiled this into a prompt list below, so that you can simply replace the information that is relevant to your mobile home and post your listing. ie a caravan won't have seat belts but a motorhome will - use your common sense!


When making a purchasing decision of value, people will often subconsciously stop if they encounter a barrier or something that they do not know.  Providing as much detail as possible gives the buyer the power to make the right choice for them.  It's a win-win situation.



  • Brand & model
  • Year & country of manufacture
  • Whether imported and when
  • License plate
  • Odometer reading
  • WOF or COF & whether current
  • Gross vehicle mass & class of driver's license required (if other than class 1)
  • Length and height (note with a caravan it is useful to detail the overall length from towball to rear as well as from front to back of caravan housing)
  • Category for road user charges; and how many km unused
  • Type of engine & fuel
  • Brand & type of gearbox (manual or automatic) 
  • Air brakes?
  • Does it have a towball to tow another vehicle?  If so, what weight can it pull - unbraked and braked?



  • Number of seatbelts (lap or angle?), and positions
  • Berths (number of beds there are) - permanent or night-only
  • Self contained for how many people?



  • Generator?
  • 12v?
  • Solar?
  • Mains only?
  • Inverter / charger?
  • Number of house batteries and amperage | Isolating switch to motor?
  • Battery monitors?
  • Gas?
  • Carbon monoxide / gas detectors
  • Warrant of Electrical Fitness date?



  • Post lots of photos
  • Colours inside / outside (you may think these are self-evident from the photos but often they are not)
  • Layout (if possible sketch a floor plan - this really does help)
  • Type of window, floor & wall coverings
  • Headroom ie height from floor to ceiling
  • Entry door on left or right side



  • Size of fridge / freezer and what power sources it runs on
  • Number of burners on stove or cooktop
  • Grill / full oven
  • Microwave?
  • Other electrical appliances?
  • Water filter?



  • Sizes
  • Does each bed have a light?  Shelf? Power point?
  • Doors that close off sleeping area?



  • Shower / bath / shub
  • Extraction fan
  • Type of toilet | Number of cassettes 
  • Fresh, grey and black water capacities
  • Monitors for water?
  • Method of water heating
  • Washing machine?



  • TV?
  • Freeview box?
  • Satellite?
  • Stereo / dvd player?



  • What type of extra storage there is inside and out.  Try to give an idea of size by either dimensions or what you have had stored in there ie 2 external lockers 1.2m long x 0.7 deep and 0.6m tall each side in front of the rear wheels - where we've had a folding trestle table, chairs, wheel blocks, tool kit and motorhome washing equipment
  • Awning?  Ceiling and sides?  Size?  Extra features like 2 rooms, mesh screens, double doors etc
  • Anything extra that is new / modified / different
  • External shower or bbq?
  • Reversing camera?
  • Special side vision mirrors & over-riders / stabilisers perhaps for a caravan?


TIP 1:

If you have a current listing and potential buyers are contacting you with the same questions about your vehicle, add those answers to your main listing.  This will save you time in the long run.


TIP 2:

Buyers, use the above as a checklist for the vehicles you are researching.  We've often compared 2 vehicles in a table/spreadsheet this way and it is VERY, VERY USEFUL to be able to compare one vehicle directly to another.

16 September 2014


Whether you are travelling from house-sit to house-sit, touring in a motorhome or caravan, back-packing, tenting or anything in between, you'll want to know where to pick up any extra outdoor camping, automotive or hardware equipment that you find you just can't do without on the journey.  


Remember though that you will have to stash it somewhere so think twice about your purchase.


GENERAL OUTDOOR AND HOUSEWARES (generally lower cost but limited range)



The Warehouse


SPECIALTY OUTDOOR (wider range but generally higher priced)

Bivouac Outdoors

Complete Outdoors  (Christchurch-based)


Hunting & Fishing



Yellow pages listing of camping supplies *

Yellow pages listing of sporting goods *



AUTOMOTIVE (general parts and equipment)



For brand-specific parts and service for your vehicle use the Yellow pages * 'What?' search field and type in the brand ie Holden, and your location to get a list of dealers and suppliers. 



* Yellow pages is a paid-for directory of businesses in New Zealand.  It is NOT comprehensive but is a start.  You may like to ask a local (person), who are generally only too pleased to help, for other business recommendations.