Buying a used RV is no minor decision, but is an incredibly smart move because it saves you so much money. That’s why they’re such a great option out there for a wide range of customers. But, that doesn’t mean every used RV you come across will be a great buy. Some older rigs don’t have the best technology, and they might not be up to par as far as safety goes. The staff here at Northgate RV is ready to help you find the right one for you and your family.
Some RVers like the idea of buying an older or used RV because they feel they were constructed better and withhold more weathering than newer models in addition to being less expensive. Or, people buy them because they are particular to a specific brand or year and don’t mind spending the money to renovate or refurbish. These are all great ways of thinking about used RVs, but it’s still important to do your research and be well informed on whichever used RV you plan to purchase.
There are many things to consider when shopping for a used RV. There are a lot of things that can go wrong, so it’s important to be armed with as much information as you can on the process of buying a used motorhome. Below, we discuss a few things to know about used RVs, and we talk about what to consider before purchasing one.
Things to consider when looking at used RVs
Used RVs and trailers still won’t exactly be cheap, but they’ll easily be less expensive than their new counterparts. New RVs depreciate around 10 percent the minute they’ve driven off the lot, so buying used automatically saves you money.
There are other ways you can benefit from buying a used RV, besides saving lots of money. The previous owners may have already repaired any problems or issues they’ve had, and they may have even conducted a bit of premeditated maintenance in case something was about to happen. It’s also normal for them to have added any homey touches, like more storage, spice racks or an extra mirror in the bathroom.
When shopping used Vs new, be sure the rig isn’t too old. Some parks and campgrounds have restrictions on age. If you plan to visit luxurious resorts, be sure your RV isn’t too vintage. And, the older an RV gets, the more wear and tear it accumulates, which can mean multiple and/or expensive repairs down the road. If you don’t want to waste the money you saved from buying used immediately on repairs, do a thorough walkthrough and look for any water damage or mold along any walls and inside cabinets.
However, if vintage is what you’re going for, then have at it! Older RVs have such character and personality about them that it’s hard not to fall in love with one.
If you decide to buy a used RV, be sure you go to a trusted RV dealership in your area (or even out of your area) that you know will be honest with you. The most important thing is to do your research before settling on anything at all. If you don’t, you might end up with a rig that doesn’t fit your needs or a hefty payment that simply isn’t worth it.
Do an in-person tour before you buy
It’s easy for sellers to hide any imperfections of an RV by simply not uploading photos of them online. Because of this, it’s critical to tour the RV in person before you make any decisions. The seller should be more than happy to accommodate this request, but if not, your best bet is to walk away. Any hesitancy here should raise a red flag that something is seriously wrong with the rig and they aren’t telling you.
Remember – if you buy the RV from a private seller, it’s automatically your responsibility for repairs. It doesn’t matter if it’s two or twenty years old.
If you’re unsure about the quality or uncomfortable looking it over yourself, you can always have it professionally inspected. Take it to your local RV dealer and have them do a full inspection. Since it’s not their RV and they aren’t trying their best to sell it, you’ll get a more objective inspection, too. If this isn’t an option, another thing to do is look for RVs that have already been inspected by the dealer and received a seal of approval.
Look for any signs of mold or water damage
Even if you don’t see any immediate signs of water damage on the interior of the rig, mold usually means there are leaks and other plumbing issues. Take a flashlight with you and open up all the cabinets, check the walls, corners, the caulking in the bathroom, and every nook and cranny you can to ensure there isn’t mold or signs of leakage. If the cabinets or closets feel warm, it’s a possibility there’s mold growing.
Check the roof
Gently walk on the roof of the rig and make sure it’s sturdy and doesn’t give. If you can feel too much give, it might be rotting.
Closely inspect the floors
Similarly, to the roof, you’ll want to make sure there isn’t too much give on the floor. Walk heavily or even jump in a few spots to test for yourself. Make sure you don’t see any brown spots, as these are never a good thing to see.