How many miles is too many for a used RV? (9 basic tips)

In this blog post, we will answer the following question: How many miles is too many for a used RV? We will discuss the basics of buying a second-hand RV and what to look out for to avoid a bad surprise. 

How many miles is too many for a used RV?

Any RV that has close to 200,000 miles is deemed an old RV and has too many miles to be considered a good investment. Besides the number of miles, obviously, you need to ask the dealership all kinds of questions regarding the condition of the recreational vehicle. Here are some questions and tips to consider:

  • What model is the RV and how old?
  • How many people have owned this RV and how many times have they driven it?
  • Do they have maintenance records?
  • How many kilometres are there on the tires and when were they replaced?

The goal here is to avoid a bad surprise and in the end, to get a good deal. Here are a few more tips to take into consideration:

  1. Request a test drive:  Most owners will let you take the RV you’re interested in for a test drive. If they don’t, don’t buy it. Major red flag. Take the RV on open roads. See how the trailer manages the different speeds, how it manages the turns, the braking. Plus, see how you handle driving. As a driver, how do you feel?
  1. Check under the motorhome for damage: Inspect the roof and around all windows. Press down on the walls and look for soft areas that may indicate past or continuing water damage. If there is water damage, save yourself and don’t buy it.
  1. Request a thorough inspection: It’s worth it! Ask the owner if you can have the rig professionally inspected before purchasing it. Press all buttons: Turn on the engine, lights, check lights, turn on the generator. Test all features to make sure they work.

After having thoroughly inspected the various RVs, and having set the optimal price, it’s time to get behind the wheel of your new RV.

Buying an RV, especially a used vehicle, can be a tedious and overwhelming process; it requires intelligent and strategic thinking, as well as the intelligence to get a reasonable offer based on quality. Make sure you follow the directions above for a good deal.

9 essential tips for buying a second-hand RV

Do you want to purchase a used  RV? Before you jump into shopping head-first, there are a number of things to consider! From the type of trailer desired to insurance issues, including the different trailer standards in effect, this is a purchase that should not be made on the spur of the moment and should be carefully considered.

  1. Determine your budget. Buying a used trailer is an important financial decision, as you can imagine! And it is almost certain that you will not get the top-of-the-range Class A motorhomes if you only want to invest $ 15,000 in your trailer (but you are still allowed to watch them dream a little)! 

However, it is essential to establish your financial limits as well as monthly payments that stick to our budget; after all, you buy a trailer to get away from it all and enjoy a good vacation, not to be financially strangled!

  1. Determine your needs. If you’re a couple on your own or with big kids, you might not want to invest in a used family trailer that can sleep 12 people. And unless you like to accommodate children, parents and friends during your vacation, such a size trailer will no doubt be superfluous. Turn to models of used trailers for couples; your finances will thank you for sure!
  1. What do you favour? Do you want comfort worthy of a hotel or more rustic facilities? Shower and toilet in the trailer or public on a campsite? Will you be using your trailer for 2 weeks or 6 months a year? 

Are you looking to live in harmony with nature or do you want to listen to Netflix in the middle of the woods? You will need to ask yourself all of these questions – and more! – to be able to determine which type of trailer would suit you best!

  1. What type of vehicle do you have? If you own a subcompact, you will ultimately be able to tow certain ultralight trailers or hybrid trailers. And while many utility vehicles and some mid-size sedans will be able to tow a mid-size trailer, you will absolutely need a pickup truck to be able to tow 40-foot trailers or fifth-wheel trailers.
  1. Have your trailer inspected! Would you buy a used car without having it inspected? Chances are not! Even if you buy a trailer that does not have an engine or transmission, it is still a good idea to make sure that it is in good condition. 

Indeed, it can hide certain problems which, if left untreated, can turn out to be catastrophic (for example mould between the walls, caused by water infiltration). The coveted trailer is on a campsite? The inspector can come and inspect it on the spot.

For all these reasons and more, a trailer inspection by a used RV specialist should not be seen as an unnecessary expense, but an investment!

  1. Take it for a test drive. Also, make sure that you are able to drive while towing your trailer and that you are comfortable no matter how much mileage you have to cover. Indeed, there is no point in buying a 35-foot trailer if you are not confident in handling it!
  1. Buying from an individual or a dealership? The decision is yours. However, in either case, do not neglect inspection and testing. The biggest difference is that when you buy from a dealer, you will be entitled to a warranty, which can come in handy, especially if your used RV is already a few years old in the meter.
  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:
  • Inspect it closely;
  • Ask to see the manufacturer’s manual for information on the structure and materials used;
  • Check whether the joints are smooth, whether the drawers and doors open easily, whether there are any traces or odours of humidity;
  • 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;
  • Remember to learn about insulation;
  • Avoid insulating wools;
  • Look in cabinets and closets for cracks in materials.
  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.

The bottom line

Buying an RV, especially a used vehicle, can be a tedious and overwhelming process; it requires intelligent and strategic thinking, as well as the intelligence to get a reasonable offer based on quality. Make sure you follow the directions above for a good deal.

Contact us for more information about RV life or if you have any questions about the subject.

FAQ on How many miles is too many for a used RV?

Do scrap yards take caravans and RVs?

Most scrap yards do not take caravans nor RVs. You can search for a company that specialises in motorhome removal or you can donate/sell it online. You could also take the caravan apart and sell it bit by bit. 

How do I get rid of my RV?

To get rid of your RV you could try reselling it, donating to a local charity or renovate and repurpose it. 

How do you modernize an old RV?

You can modernize an old RV by repainting it, changing some of the furniture, change the interior lighting, add a few chairs and an awning, add some abstract art pieces or change the wallpaper.


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