Buying a new or used RV is an exciting process, but it can also be easy to feel overwhelmed by all the details that separate good RVs from questionable ones. From checking the drivetrain to inspecting the roof, there are many considerations when buying a new or used RV, whether it’s from a dealer or at an RV show. Here’s what you must know before buying.
General RV Specs
Learn about the general items like the make and model, year, mileage, length, and width. However, there are several additional specifications you can acquire before you even see the RV in person including tank capacities, height and weight information and inspection history.
Check the overall exterior condition and appearance, condition of seals and caulking, condition of tires, vents, doors, windows, and screens, and awning operation and condition. Also, make sure to look for signs of rust, leaks and seals, as well as the condition of the lights and air conditioner. Inspect exterior equipment including the power connector, cable
connections, propane tank lines and connections, generator components, trailer hitch, all drains and hoses, storage compartments, the inverter, and any connections.
You really don’t want anything falling out of those cabinets onto you when you’re driving, so make sure the latches, hinges, and interior panels are all working properly. Make sure the floor plan is right for you. While things like carpet and tile condition should be obvious, items like looking up to assess ceiling condition and particularly looking for soft spots, sagging, or peeling wall covering might not be so intuitive.
Make sure the countertop space is enough and in good condition, as well as sink size and condition. In this area, it’s important to look closely for any leaks in the drain, faucet, or refrigerator area. These can be signs of larger damage and should be more closely inspected before buying. The same goes for ensuring appliances are in working order.
The obvious place to start is with the toilet. Make sure the toilet flushes properly and refills adequately with water (when the water pump is turned on). Grab a flashlight and look down through the toilet and into the black water tank,
making sure there’s no buildup of solidified waste. The same goes in the sink and shower drains.
Be sure to test the operation and condition of cabinetry and the bed frame itself, especially if it’s the kind that lifts up for additional storage. Also, pay attention to the condition of the carpet, ceiling, and blinds, looking closely for any soft spots or signs of leakage.
Be sure to inspect the safety features that every RV should have and that you’d most likely use in the case of an emergency when the RV is at rest. The common safety features we want to check for here include fire extinguishers, smoke, carbon monoxide and propane gas detectors, and the alarm system.