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What to Look For When Buying A Used RV

Many RVers, both veteran and newbie, consider buying a used travel trailer at some point. RVs are expensive in general, so this is a common cost-effective alternative that many people consider exciting. However, some find themselves stuck with a defective or damaged camper, as they didn’t know what to look for when they were searching for the RV. The goal of our RV buying guide is to help walk you through the process of buying used campers and to give you the knowledge to find a reliable, affordable RV that’s perfect for you.

When starting the process, try to write down what you’re looking for in an RV. Are you looking to go long distances, drive long-term, or short-term? After you’ve decided how you will use your RV, make a list of your requirements and the rest will be easy. You’ll only need to inspect the vehicle and test drive it. So let’s explore how to buy a used RV.

buying a used travel trailer


Narrow Down The Search

Start off by taking a look at RV forums, such as RV Talk or iRV2. Find out what RV you’re wanting in the first place. Will you get a Class A or a Class C? If you’re planning on living full-time in a travel trailer, which model will best suit your needs? After you have a specific type of RV in mind, you can begin to search online or at dealerships for your used RV.

Take It For A Ride

One of the most important things to do when buying a used travel trailer is to take it for a test drive. Drive up long hills, winding turns, and bumpy roads. Hit the highway and floor it. Find out how the RV handles basic functions like speed, maneuvering, and breaking, and even how well you, personally, are able to drive it. Make sure to pay attention to any funky noises or smells.

You might be taking this RV to a national forest all the way across the country and the last thing you want is for your newly purchased used RV to break down halfway through your trip, so don’t skip this step.

Ask The Right Questions

Simple questions can tell you a lot about the vehicle. When you’re planning how to buy a used RV, this list of questions will be extremely valuable:

  • How many people have owned the RV?
  • Are there written records of its repairs?
  • How often has it been used?
  • Why are they selling the vehicle?
  • Have any parts been replaced or repaired?
  • How often has there been maintenance on this vehicle?
  • What is the mileage?
  • How old are the tires and when were they last rotated?

Just make sure you’re asking these questions to the right people, either the owner of the vehicle or the dealership, so you get accurate and honest information.

how to buy a used RV


Inspect The Vehicle

Even after all these questions, you’ll still need to inspect the vehicle and verify the answers for yourself, when buying a used travel trailer or another form of RV. Keep an eye out for water or unit damage. Push on different parts of the RV, like walls and floorboards, to test for soft spots. Water damage could compromise the entire structure and functioning of the RV.

Any RV buying guide will also tell you to walk around the RV and mess around with the amenities and buttons. Check that every light, every faucet, every feature is in working condition. The generator, refrigerator, and hot water heater are important too.

It might be prudent to ask to get a professional inspection. It will likely be only a couple hundred dollars, but it is worth it. They’ll be able to catch even the smallest form of damage, much more than an untrained eye can catch. If the seller refuses a professional inspection or test drive, this could be a red flag, as they might be hiding some damages of the vehicle.

RV buying guide

Once you’ve finally decided on your RV and have made the purchase, you’ll need to stock your new RV with accessories before heading out on the open road. If you’ve followed all the steps of our RV buying guide, you’ll find yourself with a comfortable, reliable RV that will take you all across the country and show you a whole new way of life! Stop by The RV Man today to see our selection of used RVs for sale. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff know all the ins and outs of buying a used RV, so come on by and let us help you select the used RV of your dreams!


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