After owning my first RV for about eight months, I have compiled a good list of things to know before buying a used RV.
(For my non-RVing readers, feel free to skip this post.)
While the title says “Ten Things”, there are likely many more than ten things you should know before buying a used RV. Below, I’ve included about 15 things to check before buying a used RV or motorhome.
First, it was a LOT easier to get one than I thought. The folks at See Grins RV were great with helping me choose a motorhome, and with financing. But before you start to think this is a commercial, know that my mention of See Grins is unsolicited and not compensated. (In fact, they don’t even know I’m posting this.)
These tips, many from kind fellow RV owners, were immensely helpful to me when buying my first RV. Some I have come to discover on my own.
Here are some things to look for:
1. Check all electrical systems under power of the house battery.
2. Then check all systems hooked in to an external power source (not using the battery).
3. Do the same for the water – make sure everything runs when plugged in.
4. Fill all tanks (water, propane) and check for leaks.
5. Check the A/C and heater on the dash and in the house/cabin.
6. Make sure all roof vent covers are included, and aren’t brittle.
7. When was the oil last changed? Should be within manufacturer’s recommendations or after a few months.
8. When was the roof last sealed? Should be within a year.
9. Check the batteries. Do they look like they’re old? Not holding a charge anymore?
10. Check the tires, just like you would on a car. Is the wear even? Don’t forget to check the inside dualies. Also, most manufacturers recommend getting new tires every six or so years – no matter how few miles are on the tires.
11. Class A’s are more desirable and will have a slightly better resale value according to my friend who sold RVs for 20 years.
12. Unless you have a large family, don’t buy more than 30′ in length. This has little to do with the (mostly inaccurate) rumor about getting into any state parks, and more to do with cost-per-mile and ease of parking. And, like the Class A, a motorhome 30′ and under tends to be more desirable.
13. NADAguides.com is the equivalent of Kelley Blue Book when it comes to RVs. Get the price before you negotiate.
14. Check the VIN for accidents, etc., through your local DMV or similar agency or service.
15. Check NHTSA.gov for recalls on the model. If there are any – get the VIN, and call the manufacturer to see if there are any open recalls (recalls that have not been addressed). Don’t buy it from a dealer until they’ve fixed them.
I hope this helps. Feel free to add any of your tips in the comments.
Now that you’ve got your RV, you’re probably considering whether to purchase a tow vehicle. My article, What you need to know when deciding to tow a vehicle behind your RV, may help you decide.
UPDATE July, 2016: I’ve been on the road for five years now – and LOVE it! And Ive learned so much more! I’m in the process of writing a free ebook full of RVing Tips and Tricks for newbies and old-timers alike. Sign up below and be the first to be notified when it’s ready for download! (You will not be added to any other lists, or spammed – I promise! xo KtB)