What Problems Should I Look for in a Used RV,
People in the market for a recreational vehicle often find that used RVs provide much better value than new vehicles because they generally have many of the same features at a fraction of the price. Buying a used RV takes much more work, however, since even newer pre-owned units have problems.
If you’re serious about purchasing a particular used RV, you should be willing to spend several hours checking it out with a trusted mechanic. Let the mechanic inspect the vehicle for technical problems while you make sure everything inside works. Keep a list of all problems, large and small, and find out how much they would cost to fix. You can use this list to negotiate a fair price if you like the vehicle. And if you find too many red flags, don’t be afraid to simply move on.
So what problems should you look for when inspecting a used RV,
Water Leakage
Nothing can lead to problems in a used RV quicker than water leakage. Over time, water rusts metal pieces, destroys electrical parts and causes countless other small problems that aren’t apparent until they turn into massive headaches. While inspecting a used RV, look for water damage by walking throughout the vehicle, sensitive to spongy floorboards. Feel the walls and ceiling for a similar sponginess and search for brown discoloration. Finally, you can look outside for clues like excessive rust or patches and sealant around windows and vents.
Faulty Electrical System
Electrical problems have a way of multiplying as vehicles get older. Have a mechanic check a prospective vehicle’s wiring to make sure everything is in good working condition. You’ll also want to hook the RV to your vehicle to check all lights and blinkers. Also, remember to bring a voltage meter to test the vehicle’s battery. Older vehicles commonly have weak batteries, which can be expensive to replace.
Mechanical Issues
While many electrical problems affect the usability and convenience of your RV, some mechanical issues can have a huge impact on your vehicle’s safety. Never purchase a vehicle unless you take it on an extended road test, checking its engine, brakes and handling. Also, listen for unusual noises, watch for leaks and look for excessive exhaust. After your road test, have your mechanic check the vehicle’s tires, belts, hoses, LP gas regulator and propane tanks.
Small Problems
One of the cardinal rules of buying a used RV is never assume anything works. A used RV may have a television antenna that doesn’t go up all the way, windows that no longer open, air conditioning that blows out warm air or a refrigerator that doesn’t get cold. One or two of these things by themselves may not be a big deal, but when they start adding up, they can turn into a huge headache down the road. Remember, once you buy the RV, all of its problem suddenly become your problems. If you don’t comb over every square inch of the vehicle, you will regret it later.