So you have decided to take that big leap and buy an RV. Congratulations, and perhaps I should also wish you good luck, because buying an RV is a risk. A huge risk.
Most people these days go for used RV’s because new ones tend to depreciate in value the moment you turn on the ignition and drive the RV off the dealer’s lot. Also, used RV’s are a lot cheaper than the new kind, and just as much as good as the shiny motorhomes that adorn the dealership displays. Buying an RV for sale by owner is definitely a good decision, however, there are many things to consider, because even though you have a good opportunity to save thousands of dollars, you could still end up losing more money if you are not careful. To be careful, one must know what a good RV is, and what is not. Just because an RV is looking so neat and pretty does not mean it is a good bargain. So for this post, I am going to talk about the things you should avoid when looking for a good RV to buy.
Water Damage. When water damage is present, structural damage in the RV is usually present as well. You should be very careful when you see signs of water damage, such as water stains in the ceilings and walls. Soft spots in the floor could also be a good sign. Paint peeling off, rusting, and wood starting to delaminate should ring an alarm bell. Once water has found its way within the walls of the RV, this could cause separation of the interior plywood structure. If you see these signs, shake your head and walk out of there as fast as you can.
Tires. Even though an RV has not be used often, tires tend to age and deteriorate. So do not be fooled when you see that the tires are looking all swell and dandy. You need to go over the tires and check for any cracking. If you drive the RV and the tires unexpectedly fails, there could be great danger for RV damage and self jeopardy when you lose total control of the RV. Checking the tires should always be mandatory.
Sun Damage. RV’s usually spend a great deal of time exploring the outdoors and being exposed to natural elements such as heat, wind and rainfall. The sun in particular, can cause a lot of damage over time. Just as our skin gets damaged when exposed to the sun for too long, so do RV’s. Sun exposure can cause both interior and exterior aspects of the RV to go brittle and easily break. Fabrics and plastics could go brittle and disintegrate into pieces right before your very eyes. So be extremely careful and make sure to inspect every part of an RV for any signs of cracks due to sun exposure.
Defective Appliances. Electronic appliances such as the fridge, the stove, the air conditioning unit, and centralized heater can appear normal as if nothing is wrong with them. But be careful. Always check appliances to see if they are working. When something goes wrong during an inspection, sometimes owners will downplay the damage and dismiss it as a simple malfunction that can easily be corrected. Do not let yourself be deceived. Try to find out what is causing the problem and decide if it is worth fixing or not.
Warranty. Not all warranty is transferable from the original owner to a second owner. Even if you buy an RV that is less than one year old, it does not automatically mean your RV is covered by warranty once you get ownership of the RV. Even when the seller has bought an extended warranty, always check that you are covered when you assume ownership of the RV.
There are still many things to consider when you buy a used RV, such as depreciation of value, plumbing problems, unwanted pet smell and smoke odor, and other technical issues. When you go looking for RVs for sale by owner, it is best to have a mechanic or someone who has a lot of RV experience, to tag along when you shop. A second opinion from an expert is really important, most especially when you know next to nothing about RVs and vehicles in general. Also, do your homework before you go shopping. Ask around, talk to highly experienced RViers, join online forums and read about common problems that people encounter when using or buying an RV. It is best to come fully prepared before you start making a huge investment.