Used RV Buying Advice for New RVers

RV Tip of the Day reader Iva offers some advice on things to look out for when buying a used RV:

We bought an older model motorhome, 1998 Class A Overland, diesel. Luckily we got her for a great price. We have gone through some of the problems outlined below and we are almost completely ok, 2 yrs later. Now we are starting on some fun cosmetic stuff. We have enjoyed the experience, for the most part. I’m glad we had lots of time to go through her little at a time, one problem at a time, and lucky to have been able to avoid major expenses.

Considering it’s a motorhome, a class A and a diesel I believe we have had very resonable repair costs.

Things to look for as a new RVer buying a used RV are likely going to be out of their league. The best plan of action is to take any rig to an unbiased pro BEFORE you buy. Camping World does RV systems inspections, sometimes they have discounts and occasionally offer free inspections. They do sales on repairs to many systems also. Get on their email list. Of course your local RV shop should be willing to do the inspection.

Water damage, dry rot are big issues and can be unseen to an inexperienced or even an experienced person not looking specifically for those issues. What may seem like a minor cosmetic issue could turn into costly repair… thousands of dollars.

Electrical systems have many areas to check, batteries, inverters, generator, wiring problems.

Propane systems need to be pressure checked… then check water heater, refrigerator and furnace, all run off the propane. Those items also run off the elecrical systems.

The fresh water system needs to be check for leaks and proper operation including the water pump. Blocked holding thanks can be a costly and unpleasant fix.

Tires and suspension are important. Tires needs to be inspected closer than just looking at the tread wear. Age is important when carrying that much weight.

Brakes must be inspected.

If you’re buying a motorhome make sure the RV tech is qualified to work on engines or let an engine mechanic do that part of the inspection.

Don’t base your decision on blue book, it’s a buyers market.

Check many different models on the market, walk through as many as you can, make notes, pro’s and con’s, condition, year, make and model. Go to sales lots. They are a good source of many models to look at and see what you like or don’t like. Remember you’re just looking, and taking notes. Take your digital camera or a camcorder.

Get a good feel for what you want, what is out there, and for what cost. Get a second opinion from a pro, or a darn good price, those unseen proplems can run up the cost quick.


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