What To Look For In a Used RV

Looking at used RVs can be a daunting task, especially if you aren’t exactly sure what you’re supposed to be looking for. Checking each of the vehicle’s unique appliances, in addition to the engine, tires, battery, and structure is a task that should not be taken lightly. Here are a few specific things you should look for when considering a used RV.

Used RV - what to look for


Before looking at the vehicle itself, there are a few warnings signs that you can look for before you even step inside the vehicle.

Previous Use

One of your biggest concerns should always be how much the vehicle has already been used. Many used vehicles spend around 10 -11 months in storage, being used for short 1-2 month periods during the summer. Used vehicles are often 10 years old or more and have around 20,000 miles or less.

While a vehicle that has been used less might seem like a better option, this can actually mean that the engine and machinery will break faster. Machinery that sits around for long periods of time tends to fall into disrepair and not operate at an optimal level. Ask the seller about how the vehicle was used previously to get a good idea of whether or not this RV or motorhome is worth your time.

Storage Location

When buying a used RV or motorhome here in the Pacific Northwest, it is important to ask about where the vehicle has been kept when it wasn’t in use. Because of the incredible amounts of rain and snow that the Northwest gets, vehicles that are stored outside, particularly on grassy surfaces, experience the worst exposure to the elements. Fluctuating moisture levels and element exposure can mean serious internal damage to the vehicle that cannot be repaired without serious financial expense.

The Inspection

Well, if the vehicle you’re considering has cleared these warnings with no concerns, it’s time to take a look under the hood! Every used diesel pusher, Class vehicle, or fifth wheel is going to look different. Ultimately, you’re looking for a quality vehicle that meets your needs.


If the interior of the vehicle is not a place you would consider living out of for a few weeks, then it’s probably not worth the investment. While cleanliness is one of your highest priorities, here are some other important areas you should check before moving forward.


Make sure that the upholstery fabric is still soft, pliable, and has retained vibrant colors. Also be sure the fabric is clean. This can help keep your motorhome comfortable and clean for the long trips you’ll be using it. Replacing the upholstery can be an expensive job, so make sure it’s in good condition and something you like.


The ceiling of your RV acts like the roof of your home for weeks and months on end. A leaky roof at your house is no different than one on your RV, so be sure that the ceiling looks clean and strong from the inside, as well as the outside. You shouldn’t see any cracks or additional ceiling plates and screws, because these are often signs of previous leaks.


All appliances, from the oven and microwave in your used diesel pusher to the electricity and water pressure in your used Class A, should be tested to ensure full functionality. Check the water pressure and holding tanks to be sure no leaks or cracks have appeared and that they are fully operational.

Used RV - appliances


The exterior conditions and vehicular quality of the RV are one of the most important parts of vehicle. Be sure to inspect these areas to ensure that they are in good condition and can operate appropriately.


One of your biggest concern when considering a used motorhome is if the engine is in a solid working condition. Check for signs of leakage at the seam between the transmission and the engine, because replacing these parts can be incredibly expensive and a serious investment. Don’t be afraid to have a compression test done on the engine to ensure a strong and efficient engine.


Checking the underside of an RV will give an honest glimpse at its storage and travelling life. If the underside is still black, like RVs are supposed to be, then the vehicle has been stored well and has not suffered from too much exposure. If a thick layer of rust covers a majority of the vehicle, the internal workings are thick with oxidation and the vehicle is a risk.

While you’re down there, make sure that there are no patches in the flooring and that the frame is straight. If you see any additional welds in the frame, it might mean that the vehicle was involved in some kind of an accident. Also, check the tires to make sure everything is in line and in good condition.


Even though you might have already taken a look at the ceiling from the interior of the RV, ask to get a look at the roof. Check the corners for any damage or denting, and check the surface for any patches or added sealer that might indicate leaks. Also inspect the antenna entry points and around the air conditioning unit for cracks or old caulking. Any old or cracked caulking should be replaced.


Finding a good RV at a reasonable price can sometimes be a difficult task. As you conduct your inspection, consider if the vehicle’s conditions and quality match the seller’s price tag. Don’t be afraid to look somewhere else if your seller’s set price seems to be pushing it.

Best Vehicle in Industry

The diesel pusher is commonly accepted as one of the best RVs in the industry. What makes these vehicles unique to other models is their spacious and luxurious living areas, accessible even while travelling. While top model diesel pushers are normally quite expensive, used diesel pushers in more basic models tend to come with a lower price tag. Not only can these great vehicles offer a higher mileage rate, but used diesel pushers can be a financially conservative choice without compromising comfort.

At Kirkland RV, we offer a broad selection of used diesel pushers, Class Cs, and Fifth wheels. To view our selection, come by our Everett location and test your inspection skills. For more information, feel free to give us a call or fill out our contact form.