Things to Keep in Mind When Shopping for a Used RV

Things to Keep in Mind When Shopping for a Used RVLooking for an RV? Used RVs in good condition can save you a lot of money! However, you need to do your research to ensure you are making a good investment. Remember to keep the following in mind before buying a used RV.

What to Look for

RVing Guide has some great suggestions for things to look for when considering a used motorhome. Check out the paint job – is it still bright and crisp? Is the interior clean and are the fabrics excessively worn? And above all, investigate the motorhome’s frame to make sure it hasn’t been compromised by rust. Extensive frame rust can significantly shorten the lifespan of your vehicle.

Start up the motorhome and check the exhaust for a small cloud of blue smoke that clears away quickly. This is an indication of leaking valve guide seals and excessive oil consumption. Lastly, check for any red-colored deposits between the engine and transmission, as this is a sign of a transmission front seal leak.


RVs spend a good deal of time parked in one place, and where that is affects the condition of the RV. If you purchase a used RV from a state that receives a lot of snow, you may find frame rust due to the use of rock salt on roads. RVs parked in wet, grassy areas may suffer from moisture damage to the undercarriage, causing brakes to become stiff, frames to corrode and floors to become spongy.

RVs parked in warmer climates risk sun and heat damage. RVs left in the sun can look faded and chalky, with sun bleached interior upholstery and brittle plastic. Generally, RVs from fairly mild, temperate climates are your best bet. If they have been kept in a garage or dedicated storage facility, consider it an added bonus.

Try Before You Buy

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Ask the owner or dealer about the RV’s condition, history, title, warranties, repair and maintenance records, why it’s being sold, etc. Ask to test drive the vehicle with the owner on board so you can ask questions along the way. If possible, try driving the RV in multiple road conditions as well.

Do your research to figure out the make and model you’re looking for, or rent an RV temporarily to find the best fit for you and your family.