rv buying tips


Only after you know just what kind of RV you want and which one meets your needs, are you're ready to get serious. If you're buying online or from eBay or an auction site, you should contact the seller and ask as many questions as you can and ask for as many photos as possible.

Also, see if you can get the seller (in an email) to commit to "guarantees." Good online RV buying tips are; asking if its ever been wrecked, asking why they are selling, do they know of any problems and has it been maintained properly. If its a lemon, you'll be in a much better position to get your money back if the seller has lied in print.

Buying locally, obviously is safer. That doesn't mean you shouldn't buy online, but RV's have a LOT of parts and systems. Remember to carry a note pad and pen when you go looking. You'll see the value of this as soon as you start in on your inspection. Besides, you'll really look like you know what you're doing and you'll make the salesperson or seller a little nervous! That's a good thing.

1. EXTERIOR The first of the RV buying tips is to look really closely at the exterior. Check to see if any body damage has occurred. Tap around with your fingers. If you think Bondo or filler is present, inspect closer. Look along the surface toward the light. Are there ripples or inconsistencies? Go up on the roof and check the calking, especially around the air conditioner and vents. Have the decals been replaced? Look closely at the window moldings. Are any cracked or brittle? Look underneath and in the fender wells. Any rust? Always ask if its been in a wreck.

2. FIXTURES Have your original "motorhome specialist 101" notes with you as to what appliances and features you want or need. You should have already searched online enough to be 99% sure of what you must have and what can be expected to come with the particular RV you're looking at. This includes awnings, stereo systems, interior options, kitchen extras, etc.

3. INTERIOR Inspect the interior for signs of leaks and water damage. Assess whether the stains are from rain getting in or a plumbing problem. Is it serious or something that can be easily fixed? Is the flooring mushy? Is the wall laminate separating or rippled? Do all the systems and appliances work properly? Are there throw rugs to protect the carpet or hide the carpet? Sniff around the toilet. Lift the dinette seats and look under.

4. ELECTRICAL & PLUMBING Plug in the 110VAC cord and check those systems. Open the Grey Water cap (the small cap on the large drain cap on the left side of the RV). Does water come out? How about the Black Water cap? No water should come out of either if the blade valve is closed. If you can, hook up to a garden hose and check to see if any of the inside fixtures leak.

5. MECHANICAL If you can, while you're doing all this, have the mechanic be doing his/her thing. This includes the engine, transmission, drive train (motorhomes), brakes, tires, electrical, water supply and plumbing systems.

6. RATE IT From your inspection and your notes, give the RV a score. Rate it "A", "B", "C" ect. or 1 to 10, whatever you like based on the combination of all factors. Even if your score is really low, however, you just may decide to buy it ... especially if the low score is caused by things you can fix easily, or were thinking of replacing.

These RV buying tips will give you tremendous bargaining power, really establish you as a specialist and show you what to expect you'll have to deal with if you buy it. Remember, your most powerful buying strategy is being able and willing to walk away.