Buying a used RV can be an incredibly smart move because it saves you so much money. That’s why they’re such a great option out there for a wide range of customers. But, that doesn’t mean every used RV you come across will be a great buy. Some older rigs don’t have the necessary technology for today, and they might not be up to par as far as safety goes.
Some people like the idea of buying an older RV because they feel they were constructed better and withstand more weathering than newer models in addition to being less expensive. Or, people buy them because they are particular to a specific brand or year and don’t mind spending the money to renovate or refurbish. These are all great ways of thinking about used RVs, but it’s still important to do your research and be well informed on whichever used RV you plan to purchase.
There are many things to consider when shopping for a used RV.
There are a lot of things that can go wrong, so it’s important to be armed with as much information as you can on the process of buying a used motor home.
The main factor to consider is the age of the RV. What year was in manufactured? This is something to really think about. While it’s not necessary to buy an RV that’s only a few years old, it’s also not the best idea to look at any that are several decades old.
Let’s look at a few other factors and things to consider before buying a used RV!
How old is too old for a used RV?
The age of the RV is important, but how well it’s been kept by previous owners is critical. Some of this is obvious – how the RV smells, how clean it is on the interior and exterior, if there are any stains, and general overall cleanliness. Other factors aren’t so apparent. Maintenance, for example. It’s difficult to tell when the last oil change was just by looking at the RV! If you see any physical damage or issues, it’s safe to assume it’s worse under the hood and it probably wasn’t maintained very well.
Remember – if you buy the RV from a private seller, it’s automatically your responsible for repairs. It doesn’t matter if it’s two or twenty years old.
If you’re unsure about the quality or uncomfortable looking it over yourself, you can always have it professionally inspected. Take it to your local RV dealer and have them do a full inspection. Since it’s not their RV and they aren’t trying their best to sell it, you’ll get a more objective inspection, too. If this isn’t an option, another thing to do is look for RVs that have already been inspected by the dealer and received a seal of approval.
Steer clear of “vintage” RVs unless you’re a handyman
We agree with you – vintage RVs are, well…They’re cool! But they’re called vintage for a reason. They’re just too old for today’s world. Unless you are handy and you don’t care about the long maintenance road ahead, then go for it! They’re also great if you’re specifically looking for an RV to completely gut out and renovate. Some of us like a good challenge, and a vintage RV is the perfect place to start!
Maybe you aren’t handy, and you don’t want to renovate, but you still can’t get your mind off a vintage RV. Worry not – there are still options! Perhaps you can look around for one that’s recently been renovated. In this case, talk to the owner about everything that was done and changed. They shouldn’t have a problem to give you a detailed list of any records, receipts, or maintenance repairs they conducted. If the seller is seasoned, he should almost expect this and have documentation at the ready for proof of his claims. Even if he does have this prepared, you can still ask for an inspection from a trusted dealer, just in case.
Just like cars, RVs depreciate quickly.
The second a new is driven off the lot, it can decrease in value by up to 30%. Even after that, it still depreciates as a fast rate, especially after the first year. Class As will decrease in value faster, because they’re more expensive to begin with. In the long run, buying used is probably a smarter decision. Again, just be sure you know as much as you can about the RV. But also have it inspected before you purchase.
Unless you’re living in your RV full time, it’s simply just a toy. So, to spend tens of thousands on a new RV doesn’t make the most sense. Save your money, do tons of research or have the RV professionally inspected. You’ll be happy with whatever used RV you choose.