For many RV owners, especially first time owners, buying a used RV makes more sense than buying one new. That’s because used RVs have the advantage of being cheaper, thereby allowing you to customize it the way you want. But, buying used also has its own drawbacks. That is why you need to know how to find and inspect used RVs. Otherwise you will end up buying a lemon, and in this case, you won’t be able to make lemonade.
In short, better safe than sorry. After all, an RV is just like a vehicle, you don’t buy one until you view it and test it (at least I hope not).
So how do you find and inspect used RVs? Let’s get to it, shall we?
How to Find and Inspect Used RVs (And Avoid Lemons)
Let me show you a few tips and tricks you should use when buying a used RV. Most of them will require that you give the RV a thorough inspection, so be prepared to travel to find the best used RV.
1. Don’t Commit Till You Inspect
Anyone can sell anything. Especially in this day and age where the internet has made the world a smaller place, you can buy anything from halfway across the world while you are in the comfort of your home. This has led to many people buying lemons because they looked good from the outside, and the inside too.
No matter how good an RV looks on paper, be sure to give it a thorough physical inspection before you commit to buying. So what do you look for when you are inspecting a used RV?
- Odors. Odors are usually the easiest signs that there is something wrong with an RV. These may point to rot, electrical faults, or even a faulty engine. If you notice an unusual smell in an RV, get to the bottom of it before proceeding with anything else.
- Mold. Mold is usually found in corners of the roof or laminate floors. Be sure to walk the length and breadth of the RV and look it up and down to make sure there are no signs of mold anywhere. Don’t be shy to open cabinets and appliances to check for anything suspicious.
- Leaks. This is one is a big one. A leaking RV is the worst nightmare anyone can be subjected to, and unfortunately, some unscrupulous sellers just want to pass their problem to an unsuspecting buyer. Make sure to check the ceiling, windows, doors, and even the flooring for any signs of a leak.
- Awnings. If your potential buy has awnings, test them to see if they are working properly. Faulty awnings can be costly to repair so you have to be careful here too.
- Roof. The roof, apart from the floor, is one of an RVs most abused parts. It takes a beating from all kinds of weather so it can easily get damaged if not cared for properly. Make sure to check for bubbles, peeling paint, and even scrapes and dents. You definitely want to avoid replacing the roof in your early days of taking ownership of an RV
Right, so you have seen the RV and you’ve given it a thorough inspection. You’re good to go, right? Well not exactly.
2. Take the RV for a Spin
Be sure to take the RV for a spin if you are satisfied with its internal and external condition. Take your time, you are not under pressure. Be sure to take along an assistant as you go and inspect a used RV you want to buy. They will come in handy as you test drive the RV. As you check for mechanical faults in the engine, your assistant can check the rest of the RV for any creaking sounds and also test as many of the appliances as possible. This will help you make sure that every fixture is firmly fitted and in working order. If possible take a mechanic with you to help you ascertain the mechanical soundness of the engine.
The engine is good and the RV drives like a dream. Surely you can now seal the deal, can’t you? Not quite.
3. Make Sure All Paperwork Is in Order
The final step before you commit to buying any vehicle, RVs included, is to check the paperwork. This includes service history as it will help you know of any major repairs that have been done on the RV. You can even go a step further and run the VIN to make sure it matches with the one on the paperwork (strange things happen in this world) as it is better to be safe than sorry when it is discovered that the RV you are driving is not what you think it is.
Ready to Buy a Used RV?
With these 3 tips, you have basically covered all the bases when it comes to buying a used RV. You will definitely be glad you took the time and effort to do all the inspections necessary as it will save you from a lot of heartache down the road.
Feature image via RVing Guide – Fun Times Guide