What To Look For When Buying A Used RV

Buying a used RV will definitely help you save a few bucks. If you want to dive into the RV world without necessarily going broke or spending so much money, a used RV is a good option. RVs are valuable vehicles, and most RVs have a high resale value. Thus, finding a used RV to buy is not difficult, as many RVers sell their RV to get a better one or when they want to quit RVing.

What’s difficult is buying a good used RV that will live up to expectations and not bring you more problems. In this article, we will tell you what to look out for when purchasing a used RV, so you don’t make a mistake down the road. Here are a few tips to guide you.

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What To Look For When Buying A Used RV?


The first tip when buying a used RV is to figure out the type of RV you would want to buy. Many people make the mistake of reviewing prices and settling for the cheapest option. The truth is that you don’t just need an RV, but you need an RV that will suit your needs.

If this isn’t your first time buying an RV, chances are you have an idea of what RV you want to buy. If it’s your first time, you may need to evaluate your needs and determine the most suitable RV for you. It could be the standard motorhomes, or a truck camper would be just fine. It would be best if you found out so that you don’t buy an RV you absolutely don’t need.


How Much You Can Spend on a Used RV?


A used RV can still leave a dent in your pocket if you do not plan and budget for one. Your budget will depend on your financial responsibilities as you do not want to buy an RV that will leave you broke. 

For used RVs, you will probably still have to do some repairs after buying the RV. A used RV comes with further expenses. You may need to change the tires and repair other parts of the RV. There may be additional hidden costs that will be incurred along the line, so you need to set aside some amount of money for this. 

Apart from the money spent on buying the RV, you will need to get an insurance cover, pay taxes, and licensing fees. Some places have further fees assigned to RV owners. Thus, ensure that you plan and budget for an RV before you buy one.


Research is Key


When buying a used RV, you need to activate your sixth senses and act with extra caution. This means you would have to confirm a lot of things personally or hire someone to research on your behalf. 

You should start with identifying the right RV for you and come up with a list of 3-4 models that you think you would like to buy. Read reviews of your preferred RV online. You can save yourself from making a bad purchase by learning from other people’s experiences. 

 After doing this, you should check for the prices of these RVs on the market, both the new and old RVs, to find the best deals and offers. After this, you can proceed to research the dealers or sellers of your preferred RV. Find out where they are and get as many details as you can on their title to the RV.


Find out the Market Value of Your Preferred RV


After identifying the Rvs that meet your needs, you should research on the fair market value of the RV. You can quickly get an estimate by entering the make, model, year, and other specifications of the RV on popular RV websites. This will reveal the fair market value of the RV. 

However, note that you can still beat the price of the RV down considerably. The market value should serve as a guide to know the worth of the RV and if it is going to be a good buy. 

The amount you pay for the RV, in the end, will be determined by other factors such as the state of the RV as at the time of purchase. 


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Buy from Authorised Dealers or Resellers


You can never be too careful when it comes to buying used items. Thus, it is advisable that you research thoroughly and only buy from authorized dealers and resellers. There is a lot at stake, and you can lose all your money and get nothing. There’s a sort of protection you get when you buy from an authorized dealer. 

Certain websites list used RVs for sale by dealers and individual owners. It’s safer to reach out to an authorized dealer through a trusted website.

Also, dealers in new RVs may sell one or more used  RVs and so the best place to get a used RV is from an RV seller. If you must buy from unknown persons, be sure to perform a thorough inspection of the used RV.


Check the RV’s History


After you have decided to buy a particular RV, you should check the RVs history. You can purchase an RVs history report on rvchecks.com for a fee. A vehicle history will include information on whether the vehicle has ever been damaged, rebuilt, or stolen, as well as the manufacturer’s specifications and recall notices.

This will help you make a better decision as the report will reveal some of the hidden defects that the seller may try to conceal. In addition, the details of the vehicle can be used to compare all other RVs you had in mind, and you can settle for the one with the least damage. You are also in a better position to negotiate a good price if you are aware of all the defects. 


Hire a technician


One mistake most buyers make is attempting to close a transaction by themselves and negotiating for the delivery of the purchased item without seeking the advice and expertise of a professional. You can avoid a lot of mistakes and save yourself from buying a lemon if you hire a technician. 

You will need a technician to inspect the used RV and make a recommendation before you purchase the RV. A technician is in a better position to detect faults from the RV than you can. RV service technicians are trained to inspect, diagnose, and repair recreational vehicles. Thus a technician can discover defects in gas, hydraulic, appliances, plumbing, chassis, or towing systems.

Besides, if you are going to repair somethings on the RV, you need a technician to give an estimate of the cost of repairs so that you can negotiate the price. 


Check the Exterior


A used RV cannot be spotless or without any fault. However, the extent of wear and tear can help you negotiate a good deal, or you may decide to opt for a better RV. Thus, the first thing you should check when buying a used RV is the exterior. It would be best if you inspected the RV for dents, rusts, and other external damage. 

Most exterior defects would be easy to spot, although it’s advisable to do a thorough inspection. If you can, get someone else to help you check as two pairs of eyes are better than one. He or she may draw your attention to defects you missed while inspecting the RV exteriors. 

Check for Water Damage

Water damage is quite common in used RVs, but they are difficult to detect. When checking for water damage used RV, you should start from the visible part- the exterior. From the exterior, you can get an idea of the state of the RV and how long it has been used. Most RVs are designed with aluminum or fiberglass sidings on their exteriors. These sidings protect the RV from harsh environmental factors and keep the temperature inside the RV bearable. 

Fiberglass exteriors are generally preferable as it is more durable and provide better insulation than aluminum. However, fiberglass RVs are more expensive than aluminum RVs so you can still opt for either depending on your budget. 

Before purchasing a used RV, inspect the exteriors for water damage. You can do this by tapping gently on the exterior with a nickel. Listen as you tap for dead thuds. Also, look out for delaminations, scratches, and signs of fading. 

For aluminum sided RVs, you may not notice water damage from the outside of the RV. So you need to inspect the interiors for water damage. Check the panels, cupboards, and slides to be sure there are no hidden leaks. 

On the interior, you can detect water damage from stains and discolorations. Also, soft spots around windows, slideouts, inside cabinets and on the floor are signs of water damage.

Also, you should check hidden places like underneath the RV and the roof if you can climb up. It would be best if you also inspected the windows, doors, and generally places with less surface area.


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Inspect the Tires


Check the date code of the tires and sidewalls of the tires of the used RV you intend to buy. You need to know if you need to replace the tires or if you have more time before replacing them.

Also, you should check to see if all the tires are from the same manufacturer or the same brand. If the tires are from different brands, it means that previous owners have replaced them. Check for tread wear and also check for tread depth. Inspect the spare tires also to ascertain that they are in good condition and ensure that the proper jack and lug wrench are present. Finally, check for scuffing, cracks, or bulges on the tires. 


Check the Seals


The seals are used to keep the water out and prevent water damage. You should check the Seals to see if they are still firm enough to seal off water. All the seals need to be inspected.

If most of the seals require resealing, the chances are that the RV has suffered water damage. If you skip checking this, you may end up purchasing a badly damaged RV with so many leaking places. 

You should examine the sealants on the roof to see if there are any tears on the roofing materials. If you hire a technician, the technician can set up a seal tech machine to pressurize the interiors and spray water on the roof to detect any leaks. This is a faster way of inspecting the seals.


Check the Batteries


If the battery of the RV you intend to buy was not properly maintained, you might incur an additional cost in replacing it. There are different types of RV batteries with varying maintenance requirements. Lithium batteries, for instance, require less maintenance than other types of batteries.

Also, since recreational vehicles are usually stored for a long time without being driven, there’s a possibility that battery may get discharged. Thus, it is important to check the batteries before you purchase a used RV to determine if you need to buy new batteries.


Inspect the Appliances


It’s essential to check every appliance in a used RV before buying the RV. These should be done for a long time. You will probably not notice any faults from turning on the appliances for a few seconds. You can ask to be allowed to observe and make use of the appliances for 24-48 hours to confirm that they are working perfectly. If you don’t think you can detect the faults by yourself, you can hire a qualified technician to inspect the appliances in the RV. 

These appliances cost a lot to replace, so you need to make sure they are in good condition or that the seller is willing to replace them or give a good discount to cover the cost of racing them.


Check the Engine


The engine of an RV is a very important part. Without a functional engine, your motorhome might just be an apartment. When checking the engine, you should check for any leaks. It could be oil, coolant, or brake fluid leaks. Then proceed to check for tears and wears. Check the tension of all drive belts and check the wiring for signs of burnt insulation. 

Also, you should check all the fluid levels to make sure they are topped up, and the fluids are clean. 


Check Maintenance Records


Most dealers will include a maintenance record in the documents shown to inquirers. The maintenance records cannot replace the need for a mechanic to inspect the RV, but it gives the buyer a clue on how the RV was managed. From the maintenance records, you will know if the previous driver was meticulous about the RV maintenance or if he neglected to maintain the car. 

If you are not shown any maintenance records, you can ask the dealer for it. Although the record might not have details of every maintenance activity carried out on the RV, it would have a few, and you can judge from this.


Take the RV for a Test Drive


Before you buy a used RV, you need to take if for a drive. You may not notice some fault until you actually test the RV on the road. While driving, you should watch out for any unusual noise. A noisy engine might be a sign that the RV has been overworked or not properly maintained.

You also want to check the responsiveness of the brake and clutch and how the tires slide against the road. Check the horns, the wipers, and other fittings in the RV. Also, you should check to see how easy it is to maneuver the RV and the speed and power.  

You can spot a fault that will make you change your mind or negotiate for a lower price from a drive. Also, you can see how the RV performs on different t roads. While most dealers will be reluctant to leave you with the RV for a long while, many others will be willing to negotiate the terms for the test drive. 


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Check the Storage


Storage is very important in an RV, and if you are going to enjoy your RV, then you need to buy one that suits your storage needs.

You need to check the storage provisions in the RV and ensure you can fit in all you need on your trips. If you are going to be traveling with a lot of things or many people, be sure that the RV can accommodate all that you need.

Also, you can check for signs of water damage in the storage. Check for leaks, loose nuts, and you can demand that the seller repairs any damage before you buy. 


Check the Size


You need to check the RV size to determine if it suits your needs. Apart from the specifications, you need to check inside the RV to see what the space arrangement looks like. Check if the floor plan allows smooth movement inside the RV or if you have to move out a lot of things to create the space you need. All these matters so that you don’t end up buying an RV that is too small for your needs. 


Compare the Specifications with the RV


If it’s your first time buying an RV, the chances are that you do not know what to expect. This is why you should go with an expert or have a checklist of the specifications of the vehicle you are about to purchase. With a list of the specifications, you can compare the RV you’re being shown with what you expect to get. 

Some dealers or resellers sell parts of the RV or replace parts of the RV with inferior parts before they put it up for sale. To ensure that you do not get less than what you expect, make sure you compare what is on your checklist with the make, model, and other features of the RV. 

It’s also good to have a technician present to be able to identify and make the comparison correctly. You may not be able to decipher what exactly you are looking at looking for from your checklist, but a technician would be able to do that for you.


Negotiate The Price


This last tip is very essential to make sure you get the best price possible. Price negotiations should be the last thing you do after using all previously shared tips. It is expected that after you have gone through the process listed above, you would have decided to buy or not to buy that RV. Thus, you either discontinue if you are not convinced that the RV in good condition or bargain with the seller to get a reasonable price if you want to buy the RV. 

With all the information you must have garnered from the inspection, you’ll be able to negotiate a good price for the used RV. This is because you would not just be quoting an amount of the top of your head, but you’d be giving reasons why you think the seller should take you up on your offer.

In summary, finding a perfect used RV might be impossible. Even new RVS come with some defects, but you definitely don’t have to end up buying a lemon. With so many options and juicy offers to pick from, one has to be extra careful to buy a good used RV. However, if you get a good used RV, not only will you save money, you would also enjoy owning the RV. The tips in this article will help you make the right choice when buying a used RV.

Moreover, these tips will help you negotiate a good price for a used RV so that you get value for your money. Many people have had terrible experiences buying used items, but some have also had pleasant experiences. It’s possible to buy a good used RV, and it just takes you to be extremely thorough and careful to do so. I’m sure if you follow the above tips, you’ll end up with a used RV that will last for years and serve all your needs.