Used RVs for Sale: A Brief Guide to Choosing the Right Motorhome


When most first-time RV buyers go to make their first RV purchase, they often don’t look into used RVs, afraid that the lower asking price a broken down money-pit instead of a land-ship for their vacations or lifestyle. However, as long as you do your homework and ask the right questions, nothing could be further from the truth when it comes to buying a used (or “pre-loved”) RV.


A Guide to Choosing the Right Used RV

To help you in your journey, here’s a brief beginner’s guide to what you need to know to get the right pre-loved RV for your budget, your future plans, and the lifestyle you want to maintain while on the road.

1. Find Out the Number of Previous Owners

The fewer previous owners, the fewer times your potential RV has changed hands, and consequently, it is less likely that it has been passed quickly from owner to owner because of problems. You also want to find out any details you can about previous owners, as family RV drivers tend to be more cautious and maintain their RVs in better condition since they are transporting themselves and their little ones across long distances. You also want to find out (if possible) how frequently the RV was used and driven. High mileage on a used RV isn’t the same as high mileage on a used car. The more an RV is used, the more likely it is that it’s been well maintained because of frequent use.

2. Obtain Any Available Maintenance Records

The second most important thing you want to learn about a used RV is whether or not it’s had routine maintenance, and if the seller has the paperwork to back it up. A seller who keeps every maintenance receipt, repair bill, and service invoice is a seller you want to buy from, as they clearly invested the time and attention into keeping the RV in the best possible condition during their travels together. Having a well-documented maintenance record also makes the buying decision much easier since you know what repairs, part replacements, and other work has been done on the RV before you but it. Afterall, you don’t want to buy a big-ticket item like an RV just to find out it needs expensive routine maintenance!

3. Ask About Tire Mileage and Their Last Replacement Date

This can be a critical, deal-breaker issue if you are looking for a big rig like a Class A, as the tires for these bus-sized RVs are very costly, and replacing all six can cost thousands of dollars. RV tires in general definitely aren’t cheap, and you don’t want to have to replace those tires in addition to the purchase cost and start-up expenses either.

It isn’t difficult to spot worn out tires, as they typically look warped, cracked, or have very thin or shallow treads. Sun damage is also very apparent since the rubber will be discolored and much lighter where it has been overexposed to sunlight. Should your potential RV have worn-looking tires but otherwise be a sound purchase, find out how much replacing the tires would cost and ask that the price of replacements be deducted from the asking price.

4. Check EVERY INCH of the RV for Water Damage

The roof, window seals, walls, and floors need to be checked for leaks, cracked sealant, patches, and soft spots. Failing to find water damage before buying an RV can result in nothing but headaches and expensive repairs down the road. Water damaged RVs are often not worth the investment, and even what appears to be minor water damage may turn out to be much more severe in the long run. This often proves painfully (and expensively) true once you start checking as closely as you should have before making the purchase in the first place.

5. Test Everything For Yourself

Stand up in the shower and make sure it’s comfortable. Look for rust on the undercarriage or elsewhere on the body and in the engine compartment. Test all the buttons, latches, environmental controls, fan controls, faucets, the toilet, door locks, and every other part of the RV that you are going to use on a daily basis when on the road. You want to know if any of these crucial functions are not working or are in need of repair before you settle on a price or make a buying decision. It’s the little repairs over time to keep your RV functioning well that can make your investment significantly more expensive in terms of your overall cost-to-own.


Begin Your Adventure Today!

Bottom line, you want to check out these five important details on any used RV you are interested in buying before you make a purchase. Failing to do so could result in a vacation disaster in the future, numerous additional expenses to keep the RV in good working condition, and costly repairs or routine maintenance that should have been factored into the purchase price.

Buying a pre-loved RV privately can be a risky proposition, but there are dealerships that have numerous listings for preloved RVs that have been thoroughly inspected and tested for your safety and peace of mind when you make your first used RV purchase. If you are local to the Everett area and are looking into purchasing a used RV, pay a visit to Kirkland RV Sales and check out their inventory of pre-loved RVs that are sure to fit any lifestyle and budget.