Buying a Used RV: What to Look For


Every year, around 40 million Americans visit nature for a camping trip at least once. Many of them will camp at least two or three times a year. Of course, traditional camping in a tent isn’t always the ideal option.

Some enjoy nature but prefer a little more comfort in their sleeping arrangements. Others don’t relish the long drive in a cramped car or jeep. For these nature enthusiasts, buying a used RV is often the ideal solution for their problems.

They get the extra room and more comfortable sleeping arrangements, but can still visit the outdoors. If that sounds right for you, keep reading for what you should look for when you purchase a used RV.


There are lots of things that you can buy sight unseen. A used recreational vehicle is not one of those things. You must examine the RV before you buy it or you can face serious problems with it.

Instead, search online for “used RV near me” and check out the local options.

The Right Type

There are several types of RVs out there from the full-blown motorhome to towables like a fifth wheel. If possible, check out other people’s RVs and get a sense of what you like or which kinds offer the features you want. Once you pin down your preferred RV type, you can narrow your search even more.

Curious about the differences between towables and motorhomes? You head over here to read more.


Poorly maintained RVs will routinely develop mildew and mold. Check over the interior carefully for signs of either, particularly around doors and windows. If you see signs of mold, take the most important of all buying tips and move on from a problem RV.


You should also check the seals around the doors and windows. Do they look solid or worn and cracked. If the seals look good, there is a good chance that the rest of the RV saw solid maintenance.

Key Systems

There are several key systems in any recreational vehicle that should operate without problems. Those systems can include:

  • Electrical
  • Plumbing
  • HVAC
  • Gas for cooking

If the RV has any or all of these systems, ask to see them in operation. Check out the wiring and plumbing yourself. Look for signs of severe wear, pest damage, or cracks.

The last thing you want on a road trip is for the stove to not function or the electrical to fail on you.

Buying a Used RV and You

Buying a used RV is a little more complicated than buying a used car. Recreational vehicles often feature more systems that you must worry about, such as plumping and propane. That means you must watch out for more potential problems.

Ask to see everything in use before you buy. You should also check the seals and look for evidence of mold. If everything works and appears well-maintained, odds are good that it’s a decent buy. Ultimately, before buying a used RV, familiarize yourself with RV Depreciation rates, as you do not want to pay more than the depreciated value of the used RV.

Looking for more RV tips and advice? Check out the RVs section on our blog.


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