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Helpful Checkup Tips For Buying A Used RV

Chloe Harwood
Written by Chloe Harwood

Buying an RV for living on the road can be an exciting decision. However, a new RV can cost up to several thousand dollars, which can be a buzzkill. On the other hand, buying a used RV can be a super-saver.

That being said, buying a used RV is not as easy as it sounds. Although it can save you a lot of money, if you fail to make proper checks on the motorhome, you might actually be paying unnecessarily. So, an obvious question is to ask, how to know if you’re paying the right value for the RV you’re about to buy?

In this article, you shall find some of the common checkups that you can conduct to ensure that you’re buying a value for money RV.

Signs Of Water Damage

Most important of all, RVs are prone to heavy water damages. The constructors of the RV often cut out several sheets to fit the exhaust fans and windows into the structure. Although they seal any seams when an RV moves these seams twist and turn. It makes the seal come off or develop cracks for water to seep in. There are several telltale signs of water damage:

  • Look for any discoloration of the fabrics on the interior of the RV.
  • The exterior fiberglass laminates may develop bubbles or bulges on the surface, showing signs of water damage.
  • Check all the possible seams for any cracks.
  • Look inside the cabinets to see if the fitments come off easily or if they are damp.

The most common areas for water damage include floors, seam areas, and near the window fittings. If you find any sign of the water damage, it’s a red flag and you must not buy the RV.

Check The Drivetrain & Engine

Particularly, if you’re buying a ‘Class A’ RV, it’s important that you check the drivetrain properly. Searching through the used RV listings, you shall find that the resellers often mention complete checkup of the engine and other common components. Besides this, whether you’re buying a 5th Wheel or a Class A it is vital that you check the engine of the vehicle. For 5th Wheelers you may need to check the loading capacity of your truck. And if you also need to buy a truck in addition to the camper, you must check all the fuel hoses, battery lines, and belts for any visible damage. Check for all the fluids and lubricants, if they are topped up or not. Many resellers often put up a complete list of checks they make before putting up an RV in the listing. For instance, used RV listings Tucson provides a complete checklist of the vehicle for you to match your needs and budget. Minor checks can easily help you understand if you must pay for any repairs immediately after you purchase the RV. And if it is the case, you can ask the seller for some additional discounts, or perhaps to get the repairs done before buying the vehicle.

Proper Functioning Of All The Systems

A motor home comes with several appliances and equipment on-board. Depending on the type and size of your RV you may find a fully functional kitchen with a propane stove, a dishwasher, an oven, and so on. It makes sense to have a complete check on all the appliances before buying the RV. Of course, you wouldn’t want to buy any broken or damaged appliances. Here are a few checks that you can perform to ensure all the systems are functioning properly.

  • Check the plumbing and drainage systems. Look for any leakage.
  • Ensure the tanks for freshwater and greywater are large enough for your desired use.
  • Check the propane supplies are working properly and the propane detectors are also in working condition.
  • Check the air conditioning system, the lights, and also the heating system.
  • Plug the RV to the grid to check if the mains are working properly.

It is advisable only after ensuring that all the systems are working properly in the motorhome that you shall buy it.

Tire Condition & Other Repairs

Till now all the checks were largely concerning the interiors of the motorhome. Now, you must also check the exteriors of your motorhome. Have a visual inspection of the tires and look for any cracks or wear out of the rubber. Buying and replacing the tires can be a costly affair, especially when you’re living in a motorhome. Apart from the tires, you shall also check for any dents or signs of breakage in the outer hull of your RV. All the necessary repairs are to be estimated before you buy the motorhome. If you find any pending repairs on the RV you must ask the seller to either get it repaired or to waive off the repair costs, so that you can get it repaired on your own.

A common dilemma that buyers often face is determining the actual price that they should be paying. Thankfully, national appraisal guides commonly known as NADAguides can be a great help in determining the accurate value that you shall be paying for a used RV. Feeding in the details like make and model of the RV, the mileage, and the details of any visual damage shall provide you with the minimum retail price that you should be paying. Now, of course, the seller would be quoting above this appraisal price. You can, however, try to negotiate a price as close to the minimum retail value as possible.

Summing it up, buying a used RV is definitely an economical option. However, there are several precautionary measures that you must seek when you’re buying a used RV. Quite often buyers opt for an agency or a seller to participate in the sale process. This helps both the sellers and the buyers get their desired value. For buyers, an agent can help provide an unbiased health checkup of the vehicle so that they get a good product against the price they pay. Similarly, the sellers can receive the rightful worth of their RVs. In short, an RV professional can help mitigate the risks for both parties. That being said, as a buyer, you must still double-check the professionals’ estimate for yourself. After all, being careful is the only way to buy the right product, particularly when it comes used.

About the author

Chloe Harwood

Chloe Harwood