Can you test drive an RV? (the ultimate buying guide)

In this article, we will explain: Can you test drive an RV? We will guide you on how to inspect a second-hand or new RV and whether it is best to rent or buy a recreational vehicle!

Can you test drive an RV?

Yes, it is possible to test drive an RV, even several that you like. As with any vehicle, it’s important to test an RV to see if it is right for you and if you like its handling. It also allows you to check that the vehicle is working properly and has no hidden defects (this is particularly important if you are buying a used trailer).

When test driving an RV, make sure you also do a detailed analysis of the vehicle:

  • Check for water damage and sun damage;
  • Check the tires, the brakes and suspensions;
  • Check for traces of rust and mould;
  • And finally, make sure all household appliances are in working condition.

How to inspect a used trailer or RV? Advice

 Several new and used RV dealers offer RV inspection services. Also, several companies in the US are specialized in the inspection, repair or maintenance of used RVs. Below is a list of the items to check when inspecting a trailer or an RV:

  1. Test drive the RV: It’s beautiful to just watch it, especially if it is a vintage motorhome, but it goes without saying that it is relevant to drive with it in order to assess the condition of the RV. 

Also, test household appliances. We recommend that you perform the inspection during the day, as some details are less visible at night. Also, take the seller’s name and make the meeting friendly, so that the seller may be more inclined to negotiate.

  1. Locate water infiltrations if any: Water damage can cost a lot. Don’t forget to go to the roof to check its condition. Outside, to make sure nothing escapes you, empty boxes and chests to inspect every nook and cranny of the used trailer or fifth wheel. Inspect the walls. Below the RV, also take a good look at the condition of the floor.
  1. Check the propane gas system: The propane system, including the regulator, must be inspected annually. It is recommended to have it done by a certified professional.

Make sure:

  • that there is no smell of gas;
  • that there is no damage to the regulator (remove the cover);
  • that the pipes and fittings of the system are in good condition;
  • that there is no leak;
  • that the tank does not show any signs of wear (replace the cylinder if in doubt);
  • that each propane appliance is operating correctly (test them one by one), etc.
  1. Used RV electrical device: Inspection of the electrical panel is important as replacement of this equipment can be expensive. The electrical system should be carefully inspected, as it is not uncommon for clumsy owners to install makeshift solutions in used fifth wheels or trailers. Check the refrigerator, heating, water heater …
  1. The aesthetic aspect of VR: This is the most obvious part of the inspection. Look at the windows, tables, chairs, walls, furniture, fabrics … anything that can affect the aesthetics of your future RV. Note that several cosmetic problems can be symptomatic of more serious problems.
  1. Check the build quality of the RV: Make sure you have your manufacturer’s manual and do a thorough inspection of the RV. To do this, here are some tips to guide you in buying an RV:
  1. Inspect it closely;
  2. Ask to see the manufacturer’s manual for information on the structure and materials used;
  3. Check whether the joints are smooth, whether the drawers and doors open easily, whether there are any traces or odours of humidity;
  4. Find out about the number of studs in the walls: the more studs there are, the more rigid the walls will be and the less likely they are to warp;
  5. Remember to learn about insulation;
  6. Avoid insulating wools;
  7. Look in cabinets and closets for cracks in materials.

Should you buy or rent an RV?

Do you fancy a family fishing trip, a getaway to your state neighbours, or a trip through our beautiful country? There’s nothing like having one of these unforgettable VR experiences! 

If you want to be in control of your vacation (that is, eating, sleeping, showering and moving around whenever you want), the purchase or rental of a recreational vehicle is essential. Between the two your heart, but especially your budget, balance? 

Here are some advantages that both options offer you. It’s up to you to see what suits your needs!

The advantages of renting an RV

Experience camping and RVing life. If you’ve never been camping, or very little, a rental is a great opportunity to get started without getting too much of a change of scenery. You’ve discovered a love for the outdoors, excellent! You will be able to rent again! After all, aren’t you a great lover of nature? No problem, you just have to flip the RV!

Travel with peace of mind. No registration, no maintenance, no storage. Simply attach the RV to your vehicle and go on an adventure! Mechanical, plumbing, as well as electrical and gas components have been checked for you.

Respect your active lifestyle and your budget. Do you like camping, but only have a few opportunities to indulge in it? Renting an RV is a cheaper option than buying if you plan to go out for one to two weeks during the summer season. There is always time to own a home once your schedule is less busy.

Find the features that meet your needs. Renting allows you to try out several RV models and find out what options and features you need when camping. So you will know exactly what you want when it comes time to buy.

The advantages of buying an RV

If you are one of those people who like to be masters of their own home, buying is a must. You will enjoy your own bed, your bathroom and your fridge!

Know your RV inside out. After a few outings with your new RV, you will no longer have any secrets from you. Sofa bed, water heater, propane stove, clean water supply, sewage drain, you will know all the features. In addition, you will quickly get used to its behaviour on the road, which will considerably reduce your stress level during your transport. 

You will also have peace of mind knowing that your towing vehicle is well equipped to tow your RV and adapted to its size. No doubt, you will quickly become an expert who will be able to detect any anomaly both on the campsite and on the road.

Travel affordable. If you’re the type of person who goes on a getaway several times a year or even every weekend, buying an RV will be more beneficial than renting on a budget.

Be free and autonomous. By owning your RV, no more reservations and return hours! You will be free to go where you want when you want, 365 days a year!

Have a home away from home always ready for adventure. When you have your own RV, the adventure never waits, because all the camping necessities are already there (bedding, lawn chair, cookware, household dishes, etc.). All you have to do is get your clothes ready, stop by the grocery store, and off you go!

The bottom line

Whether you decide to rent or buy, it is recommendable to test drive the RV. How else will you know that it is a good deal and that it fits your needs?!

And, remember that RV life is synonymous with fun, comfort and freedom! Contact us for more information about RV life or if you have any questions about the subject.

FAQ on Can you test drive an RV?

How do you know if an RV can take a long trip?

To know if an RV can take a long trip you must:

  • Check the engine. 
  • Measure the engine oil. 
  • Check the other liquids
  • Check the clamps and other pipes that connect to the engine and radiator.
  • Check the lights. 
  • Check the condition of the shock absorbers and suspension. 
  • Check the tire pressure.
  • Check the battery.

What happens if I leave my RV’s engine running overnight?

The problem is that this creates considerable fuel waste. In turn, it increases engine wear. Do you want to save gas, money, extend the life of your car, pollute less and take care of your health?

How far can you drive an RV in a day?

It is recommended to drive no more than 500 miles (800 km) with an RV in a day. Driving a motorhome is not the same as driving a car. 


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