What To Look For In a Used RV

Before you head to the used RV dealer, it’s a good idea to know what you’re looking for in a used RV. Buying a used RV is generally a sound decision as it can help you save money upfront if you’re just getting into the lifestyle. Many used RVs are sold again after only light use, which means you’re often getting something that isn’t far from new condition. However, inspecting any RV you’re considering is still important.

Don’t Let a Lemon RV Sour Your Camping Trip

Whether it’s weekend trips to your favorite campgrounds or a cross-country adventure, buying a previously owned RV is a great way to save money. But before you drive or tow your camper off the lot, you’ll want to give it a thorough inspection like you would for any used vehicle. Leaks, mold, and mildew aren’t just a nuisance: they can cause costly damage to your new-to-you RV and lead to serious health issues. Here are some tips for inspecting a used rig before you hand over your money so you’re not dragging home a lemon.

Exterior Inspection Tips

Start with the roof whenever you inspect a used RV. The roof of an RV tends to be out of sight, out of mind, but a leaky roof can hide massive damage such as rot in the walls and unseen mold. These issues are among the most expensive and time-consuming to repair. If you can’t access the roof, hiring someone who can is important.

If you do check the roof yourself, look for rips, worn spots, and dried-out seals. Pull out all the vent covers and check the seams beneath. Use a hose to spray down the roof and make sure that it’s draining properly.

What To Look For In a Used RV- roof inspection

Just like with the roof, check all the window seams and seals. Spray the windows and doors with high-pressure water to check for leaks. If the windows have a film on them, it’s important to check for cracks or delamination.

RV Electrical Systems Inspection Tips

First, check the power distribution panel. Run all the circuits and make sure that they’re not emitting excessive heat. Check for blown fuses and check the AC breakers. Inspect the lighting features in the RV to ensure everything works and is not overheating. Take a look at the main power cord, paying close attention to the metal plug prongs. Use a circuit tester to test all the AC outlets in the RV.

Find the battery bank, which is usually in its own vented box. Inspect the connections for corrosion and make sure the wires don’t exhibit signs of overheating. Use a multimeter to test the voltage. It should be between 12.6 and 12.8 volts when not plugged in.
Remove the AC covers and look for any signs of water leaks. Check the filter to make sure it’s clean and not clogged. It’s always a good idea to run the AC for 10 to 15 minutes and ensure that the temperature is 18-22 degrees below the outside temperature.

Interior Inspection Tips

When it comes to the interior of a pre-owned RV, it’s a good idea to inspect the toilet, plumbing fixtures, and kitchen appliances. Make sure all the drains work properly and that the fridge and freezer have the correct cooling temperatures. Check the stove to make sure all burners are working as well as the oven.

Finally, check the operation of any entertainment features such as the rooftop antenna, any TVs, audio systems, or satellites. Take a flashlight and investigate all the nooks and crannies, cabinets, and storage bays.

Remember that many used RV dealers do their own inspections before offering the RV for sale. It’s always good to have a pro look at any RV that you’re considering, but if everything looks well-maintained, chances are the rest of it is too.

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