For folks on a budget, a used RV can be a good option as long as you know what to look for and avoid. It’s advisable to first come up with your budget, allowing a reserve to account for the inevitable taxes, fees and repairs (as most used RV’s don’t come with a warranty).
Consider what type of RV you want (trailer, pop-up-trailer, fifth wheel, slide-in camper or motorhome). It may seem obvious, but if you are considering a trailer of any kind, be sure that the tow-vehicle you intend on using is rated for the task. Also, be sure to use the gross vehicle weight of a trailer as the actual towed weight to avoid exceeding your vehicle’s tow-rating.
Never buy an RV sight unseen, or from a person not listed on the title (except licensed dealers). Common sense should prevail here, while there are great deals to be had on the internet, if you can’t affordably travel to make an in-person inspection of an RV then you probably shouldn’t buy it.
If you have found a promising RV, then you should take a long hard look at the vehicle during daylight hours before making any purchase. If you have a friend or associate who’s knowledgeable, then invite them along for the inspection. Obvious things to look for include physical damage, dry-rot, rust, leakage, neglected paint/graphics, damaged jacks and landing gear, cracked or damaged window sealing, missing vent caps, water damage, leaky sealants & insect/rodent infestation. These should be searched for in every conceivable nook and cranny (cabinets, under sinks, etc.). If possible, check and make sure every system is working including the plumbing, electrical, audio/visual, appliances, exterior/interior lighting, generators, inverters, solar-panels, batteries, hot-water-heaters. Check to ensure slide-out rooms operate properly and extend entirely.
Check the tires for tread wear, sidewall cracking and the date (listed after “DOT” on the sidewall, the first two digits indicate the week of the year (out of 52) and the second two indicate the year itself. Tires over 6 years old, whether on a trailer or motor home should be replaced. Like any car or truck, you want to inspect any motorhome’s mechanical components. If you aren’t knowledgeable in this area, you should try and arrange to take the RV to a shop you trust for a pre-purchase inspection. A PPI can save you big bucks on repairs and problems down the road.
If everything looks in order, or you and the seller have agreed on a price based on the necessary repairs, you should complete the following important paperwork tasks. These include: making sure the title is clear, and that registrations/ bills of sale are in order, making sure the title has no liens on it (or marked junk, salvage, flood, etc.), and checking to see if any warranties are still in effect and transferable. Lastly, match the VIN on the title to the vehicle and ask to see the sellers photo ID (to make sure it matches the information on the title, and to record the seller’s information).
Now that you are armed with this checklist, you are already to start hunting for a great used RV deal!
B & C RV & Marine Service provides RV checks. Contact us today.