The Volkswagen T3 continues to be a perennial favorite, and for good reason. Their unique design and great feature set make them ideal for individuals and families looking for a great used VW camper van. Since T3’s are likely to be 15-25 years old, we’ve put together a set of tips to help you find the best quality VW camper vans for sale.
What to Inspect
The key to getting a quality used VW T3 is to take your time and do a complete inspection. Also temper the results of the inspection with your knowledge of the supply in your area. If you see several T3’s for sale every month then you probably can afford to be picky. However, if you’ve been looking for months and have only seen a few, you will need to decide how long you’re willing to wait or revise your standards. That said, here’s what to look for on a T3:
- Body – Inspect for damage, worn areas and particularly rust. Check the undercarriage and wheel arches and don’t be afraid to climb under the van to look.
- High Top – Check for evidence of leaks or cracks.
- Interior – Verify that all interior features are functional or if not make a note of them. Look for evidence of mold and rust.
- Mechanical – It’s best to have the vehicle inspected by a licensed mechanic. It is worth noting that body damage will likely cost more to repair than mechanical issues.
Where to Find Used Camper Vans for Sale
There are a few places you can check for used VW’s:
- Private, local sellers – This is likely to be your best bet for finding a good quality T3 for a reasonable price. Individuals will have the most knowledge about their T3 and will be most likely to have maintenance records available. Also, when you buy from a private party you don’t have to worry about dealer markup. On the downside, all sales will be final and you won’t have the luxury of having dealer assisted financing (though most T3’s likely won’t qualify for financing anyway).
- Local dealers – Some RV and Camper van dealers also sell used vehicles. Buying from a dealer has some benefits – namely the vehicle has probably been inspected and is at least safe to drive. The downside is that you’ll probably pay more and you may run into salespeople who want to persuade you to buy whatever new camper van they have on the lot.
- Online Auctions and Classifieds – While some people have had great luck buying VW T3’s online, you need to be wary about buying any vehicle long-distance. If possible, schedule time to drive to see the vehicle in person before you buy. Or, be prepared for the vehicle you get to be different from what you saw in photos. One option is to have an independent mechanic be your advocate and arrange with the seller for an inspection.