Tips for Buying a Used RV

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As we head into Fall, it’s a good time to start searching out that RV you’ve always wanted. Whether you’re looking to enter the RV lifestyle for the first time or ready for a new rig, it’s a good time to start looking for deals on used RVs. The snowbirds are heading south, but the folks who were keeping their RVs solely for a summer of fun may be looking to sell their recreational vehicle.

It’s time to hunt down a great deal — but it’s not as easy as looking for the best price tag.

 

Why Buy a Used RV?

The number one reason to buy a used RV is the cost. A used RV, even only a few years old, can be bought for almost half the cost of a new vehicle. Considering how expensive RVs can get, that’s always a plus. But just like any used vehicle purpose, there’s homework to be done. This is a big investment — you don’t want to be bamboozled by unexpected issues.

Investigate Used RV History

Your search for the right used RV could lead you all over the country! Believe it or not, that plays a big role in what sort of considerations you should give a used RV before buying.

What’s the climate like? How many miles does it have? While with used cars you’re always on the hunt for the smallest mileage, that’s not really the case for RVs. Most experts will suggest you look for a used RV with at least 10,000 miles under its metaphorical belt (but no more than 35,000 miles).

There’s some leeway when the RV is only a few years old, but it’s important to know how much the vehicle was used and driven. Most RVs sit stationary for months and months at a time. If you’re dealing with an RV that hasn’t been used in years, there’s likely to be some big problems with it from disuse. If not that, low mileage can be an indicator that the vehicle is difficult or uncomfortable to handle.

When considering climate, also consider where the RV is being stored. Has it been sitting exposed to the elements? On carport? On grass? It’s important to pay attention to. It may have been sitting out in the snow for two months at a time, and the moisture from grass can seep up and rust the RV, damaging vital functions (like the brakes!).  You want to purchase a used RV that’s been well taken care of.

Also keep in mind that an RV that has been used primarily in warm climates may not have been winterized — you’ll need to check that pipes haven’t burst and do your own winterizing if you buy. Don’t assume the previous owner took the same care you would!

Conduct a Close Inspection

When considering a used RV, make sure to look for:

  • Clean interiors
  • Quality of the fabrics (Are they soft and still a bit bouncy?)
  • Check the underside of the RV for signs of rust. You want black, not brown! Minor rust stains are manageable, but beware too much discoloration.
  • Signs of a leaky roof
  • Signs of leaking between engine and transmission. Red equals a transmission front seal leak. You do not want to run out of transmission fluid. Trust us.

Buying an RV is a huge investment. Don’t be shy about asking for all the details you can get. Request compression tests and take test drives. Make sure that your RV is right for you!

When you buy your used RV, be sure to check out Safe-T-Plus Steering Control to make your travels the best they can be.

image credit: Tara Hunt

 

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