What To Look For When Buying A Used RV

Sep 14, 2022 Randall Boggs Comments Disabled
What To Look For When Buying A Used RV

Buying a used RV can be a little intimidating. For this reason, we have decided to put together the DO’s & Don’t when buying a Used RV.

First and foremost, there are some questions to ask before buying a used RV. Think about why you are getting a camper in the first place. What will you be using the camper for? How many people need to sleep in the camper? Do you like to cook outdoors? These are all questions that will help you narrow down the various models out there to ensure you find something that fits your needs. You will also need to see what you can afford. Most dealerships offer affordable financing options. What can you afford to spend on a monthly basis for a camper?

Next, you should buy from someone or somewhere that you trust. There are a lot of ways to go about doing this. If you are buying from a dealership, you should check out their reviews. You can find these from many different sources such as google, facebook, yelp, and even right on their website. The RV industry has grown very conscious as of late of online reviews and how they impact their business. In many cases, this has caused a shift in the customer experience and the sales process. What this means to you, is that you get better service without paying more money. I’m talking WIN-WIN!

After you have found a unit online, from a place that you can trust, you need to make an appointment to see the camper. Up here in Wisconsin, we have snow… So, if you are looking to purchase an RV in the winter, having an appointment before showing up allows the dealership to pull it inside and warm it up for you. You also want to make sure you take enough time to go through the camper thoroughly. This will give you a better understanding of what you are potentially purchasing and give you time to see if there are any unresolved issues with that camper. 

What are the most common problems with RVs? There are a few things you should look for when you go through a used camper:

  1. Are there any “soft spots” in the floor or ceiling? A “soft spot” means there is likely water damage or there was at one point. This could be a much larger issue than what you can visibly see while looking at it. It would be a good idea to have this check out thoroughly if you find a “soft spot” anywhere in the camper.
  2. Do all of the appliances turn on and work properly? This is a given, of course, but many consumers forget to check an appliance like the microwave or the air conditioner. Be sure to check every appliance you can find that is able to be powered on.
  3. Check the outside for delamination. This is another sign of water damage in the camper. Delamination looks like there is an air bubble on the exterior wall of the camper. This is especially prevalent in campers and RVs with fiberglass siding. 
  4. The roof! So many times, I hear horror stories about someone purchasing a camper, especially a private party, and they end up having major issues with the roof or leaking. The roof of a camper has special coatings to waterproof it. These coatings can be damaged by many different things like tree branches, harsh cleaning chemicals, and even tree sap. There are also many seals on the roof area around the edges and around appliance and electronic antennas. These seals can wear over time and start to crack. It is a small repair, but a necessary one to ensure that the unit doesn't leak.
  5. Tire wear is another small but important item to check on a used RV. Although tires dont cost an outrageous amount of money, the cost can significantly increase if one blows while driving down the road at 70 MPH and takes out a portion of the floor in your camper. 

The great perk to purchasing a camper within the state of Wisconsin are that all dealers are required to do a state mandated inspection on the camper. Most of the issues above can be found on this used rv checklist or “Wisconsin Buyers Guide” displayed in or on the camper. 

What if I’m buying a used RV out of state? There are a number of things you can do to ensure that you are still getting a great unit outside your home state. You should check the state’s guidelines for dealers to see what requirements they must meet in order to offer a used camper or RV for sale. Some states have no regulation or require no inspection on the camper. In these states, be sure to ask the dealer if there was an inspection done and to see the inspection paperwork. If not, you can always ask for an inspection if you are willing to pay for it.

If you have found that everything works and there are not detrimental issues with the camper, you can proceed to purchase. It is important to ask the dealer you purchase from if they have any sort of warranty or dealer paid service agreement with their used campers. At Greeneway RV, we have the ability to “Certify” used campers that are 7 year old and newer through Route 66. This provides every customer who purchases an eligible camper or RV with a 66 day warranty on parts and labor for most of the mechanical and large electrical items throughout the camper. This is an enormous benefit to you when you purchase as it gives you that peace of mind after purchasing.

Whether you have a dealer provided warranty or not, you should ask about your options to extend coverage on the unit if anything were to malfunction. Through Route 66 you can apply up to 4 years of coverage on the major items in the camper, which means it saves you big time if something goes wrong!

Lastly, make sure that if you have found something while looking at the camper, it is noted on the paperwork somewhere. It is always important to have any additional items noted to ensure they get completed and not forgotten. 

So, to recap we have provided a simple checklist in the link below to help you on your next trip to the dealer. Here are the bullet points:

  1. Figure out what you need in the camper. The Options.
  2. Come up with a payment or budget that is comfortable to you.
  3. Find a dealer you can trust by searching online through their reviews.
  4. Set an appointment to ensure the RV is ready when you arrive.
  5. See if there are any obvious issues with the camper.
  6. Take a look at the Wisconsin Buyers Guide for any underlying issues and dealer comments.
  7. Ask about what warranties come with the camper that are thrown in by the dealer.
  8. Ask about what your options to extend coverage are.
  9. Make sure any additional repairs or accessories are in writing.
  10. Enjoys life on the road and in the wilderness!

Print Your Checklist HERE!