buying a used RV
Can you guys help me make a list for my cousin. She and her husband want to start looking for a used RV before the spring comes. But I think they should take a checklist along with them.
I think it would be kind of hard to buy a used trailer or whatever because there are so many things that could be wrong. Like the working order of the stove, fridge, furnace and taps.
Is the vehicle in good condition inside or does it look like it has been trashed?
Can you add some others so I can put this in a spreadsheet and print it out.
My suggestion would be to take someone with them that has a camper or has had one in the past. There really isn't much more to buying a camper, either used or new than buying a car or house. I will mention a few things to look at.
1. Look at the outside really good. If possible look at the top. If the camper has ever been damaged, you can usually see where it has been repaired. Don't read much into small dents in an aluminum sided camper. It doesn’t take much to dent this type sides.
2. Especially look at the tires. They develop what is called "lot rot". If a camper sits for a long time, especially on a lot, the asphalt gets super hot and of course this is transferred to the tires causing them to weather really bad. A trick that is used is they will use a solution on the tires to make them look new and not show the cracks in the tires. A trailer tire can go for over $150.00 easily when you have to replace one. Also, take a look at the spare.
3. Gas leaks. Before you ever purchase a camper, most dealers will have everything connected so you can see everything works and no leaks. I really look and "smell" around the tank connections. If it has a tank selector valve make sure that each tank has gas in it and check both tanks for leakage. Gas used is scented so you can smell a leak.
4. Refrigerator. If it's an AC/DC/Gas refrigerator, make sure that it works on all the different settings, especially the Gas setting.
5. Water leaks. Take a look underneath for leaks. Open the storage areas and look for water damage or leaks.
6. Freeze damage. If the unit was not winterized correctly you will have leaks and pipe damage. Look for tape, as this can be used to hide damages.
7. Slide out(s). Have the salesperson bring the slide out(s) in and out a couple times. They will operate with DC or AC power.
8. Hot water heater. Before you leave the lot, make sure it works on both AC and Gas. At a minimum, make sure you check this out before your first camping trip. This is an area that has freeze damages, so take a close look here.
9. Battery. Have the salesperson disconnect AC power and make sure that the battery holds a charge. If the battery is bad, when operating the slide outs and water pump the battery will drop out quickly. Look at the battery monitor to see what kind of charge it maintains. A good RV battery will run you around $100.00 or more. The charging unit is much more.
10. Tank odor. Enough said. Have the dealer flush the tanks if you think the smell is bad.
These are just a few things to look at. I feel they are the most important. Just about any replicable dealer is going to give a 30 day warranty on a used camper, so make sure you check it out in this timeframe, even if you set it up at home first. Spend a night or two in it to see how it sleeps. Better to find out problems there rather than a campground.
Here is a list I saved a while back that could be of help
ITEM THINGS TO LOOK FOR RATING
Surfaces Dents, dings, scratches or stains - can we live with them?
Leaks Warped or stained walls, especially in the corners. "Soft" spots around windows, vents and along the floor
Generator Does it start smoothly? Voltage produces should be 110-125 volts
Lighting Working? Fluorescent ones should come on at full brightness etc.
Door Hinges Check for wear
Side Mirrors Do they allow for good visibility?
A/C Run the air conditioner for at least 15 minutes and make sure it stays cool
Tires Check the tires for wear and cracking
Refrigerator Takes about 3 hours, but should stay cold and freezer to be icy cold using both propane and electric.
Stove/Oven Light the oven and stove top burners.
Try all the water faucets and check for leaks around the pump, water heater and tanks. Does the water inlet have a filter before the water gets to the pump? Is there a pressure regulator?
Check under sinks for signs of previous leaks.
Holding Tanks Run water into them and check for leaks
Bathroom Is it big enough?
Interior Colors Can you live with the colors?
Flooring Check the condition of all carpet and flooring.
Windows Do they all work properly?
Seating Condition of seating and/or foam cushions.
Cable Is it wired for cable TV?
Microwave Does it work?
TV/Stereo Do they work?
Sleeping Is the sleeping area large enough?
Exterior Compartments Are they dry and clean, with no rusty areas?
Siding Check the screws for rust and streaking. Are there rusted areas in the body?
Roof Check for cracking on rubber roof, rust and loose screws on metal.
Is there a roof rack?
Furnace Start the furnace and be sure that it is working smoothly. Flame should not be too blue.
Awning Pull out the awning and check condition and ease of use.
Interior Storage Is there enough? Check in cupboards for signs of previous leaks.
Previous Owner Can you contact the previous owner?
Vehicle Battery Check the condition.
Manuals Do they have the manuals for all appliances and equipment?