How much do 5th wheels depreciate?

In today’s blog post, we will answer the following question: How much do 5th wheels depreciate? We will review the depreciation rate per year for the 5th wheel trailer. We will also explain how you can evaluate your travel trailer. 

How much do 5th wheels depreciate?

5th wheel trailer depreciates 19.3% in the first year of purchase, which is quite a lot. Two years after purchase, 5th wheel trailers depreciate on average 5.7% per year. Of course, the depreciation rate will vary depending on the 5th wheel size, brand and manufacturer, number of amenities, and how often it was used and how well it was maintained. 

Considering that the average price of a new 5th wheel trailer is $35,000, let see in an example below how much it will value after 10 years of use (average lifespan). 

YearDepreciationValue
0$35,000
119.3%$28245
223.5%$26775
326.8%$25620
430.1%$24465
535.8%$22470
638.3%$21595
740.6%$20790
842.8%$20020
944.7%$19355
1048.2%$18130

How can I find out how much my 5th wheel is worth?

If we want to have a general indication we can simply search on the internet for a vehicle equal to ours by model, age and that’s it, but what if we want a specific 5th wheel rating? The calculation of the value of your RV is subject to many variables and NADA guides (reserved for dealerships) can give us a big hand, but it doesn’t always tell the truth. 

Meanwhile, we can divide the value into different categories:

1. Purchase value

2. Affective value

3. Insurance value

4. Market value

The purchase value is what the motorhome dealership or private individual offers for sale. In the case of the dealership, it will in turn be composed of several variables which can be the guarantees, the management of the various transfers and changes of ownership, the gain and a minimum for the negotiation and the discount. 

In the case of the private individual, the situation is different because he could sell for realization, or because he no longer uses the 5th wheel or because he wants to buy another one.

The affective value is what we ourselves give to the object, for an affection that binds us to it. In this case they could be particularly beautiful holidays, or trips made with children, or more simply “as I keep it, nobody keeps it” (this also happens to me when he wants to replace his car).

The insurance value generally coincides with the NADA value. It is the value that the insurance asks you to insure the RV In this case, we recommend that you also include the accessories installed on the 5th wheel.

The market value is the most accurate and truthful of the various categories, but also the most difficult to calculate. It includes several variables including the NADABlu value, the make of the 5th wheel, the mechanics and the mileage, the year of registration, the interior layout, the maintenance of the 5th wheel, the maintenance done in past years and finally the place of sale. 

The NADA has nine-year previous RV values ​​- this helps the dealership salesman get an indication of how new the  RV might cost and how much the current value might be, and that’s the biggest chunk of the valuation. 

The RV brand can make the valuation fluctuate even by several dollars: a better-known brand will be more salable than a less noble one. Mechanics and mileage are basic: a motorhome of an excellent brand but with less commercial mechanics or with many miles in relation to age could be penalized by a few points on the evaluation.

Based on market periods and different zones even within the same region, the value may vary. The market and therefore the customer’s request helps us to understand if a seven-bed motorhome can be at that moment, and in that area that is more reliable than a small motorhome. 

The maintenance of the 5th wheel in relation to the year of registration, the miles travelled and the maintenance performed is the last evaluation step. They are generally those fluctuations ranging from $ 500 to $ 1,000 in positive or negative.

In our opinion, the most decisive variable and the one that over time helps us to determine the value of a motorhome is the year of registration. There are 5th wheels kept in a particularly careful and precise way, but with over twenty years of life, and this is a clear case where it is understood that age is the determining factor on the evaluation.

As mentioned in the previous lines, up to nine years of age, NADA makes our job easier, but …

How can we calculate the value of our 5th wheel if it is more than 9 years old?

In these cases, we can use a mathematical formula. When a 5th wheel is purchased new, the price consists of a value component and a tax component (VAT) which is lost when the RV is registered. 

Let’s say you buy a new motorhome at a price of $ 100.000, – and after ten years you want to sell it but don’t know how much. The real new value of our RV is actually: $ 100.000 – 22% (VAT) ==> $ 78.000, –

In the first years of life, and depending on the current economic period we are experiencing, the devaluation is more relevant and important. For the first year of life, a reduction of 10% is calculated in addition to VAT, 6% for the second year, and gradually 4% in the following years. The new motorhome that we bought by contract about ten years ago, today would therefore have a value of:

$ 100.000 – 22% ==> $ 78.000 – 10% ==> $ 70.200 – 6% ==> $ 65.988 – 4% – 4% …. ==> $ 45.698, –

This is a very indicative value to compare with the miles travelled, the maintenance is done, the internal housing typology, etc … as mentioned above.

How much are the accessories installed on my 10-year-old 5th wheel worth?

The accessories, if installed by a specialized workshop, and not by the cheaper and less qualitative “DO IT YOURSELF”, up to nine years of age have a value equal to 50% of the initial cost. Beyond this date they are incorporated in a general evaluation of the 5th wheel complete with instrumentation.

There are also exceptions for accessories. For example, power generators and air conditioners, beyond five years of life, lose their value completely. This is due to the rapid evolution of technology which foresees continuous variations and changes.

The value we have given to our used motorhome is certainly indicative and may vary from region to region.

In addition to a certain age of the vehicle, there are values ​​for years of registration. A vehicle produced and registered between 1989 and 1992 can be worth around $ 5,000, -, between 1992 and 1995 from $ 5,000 to $ 10,000. Exceptions are those vehicles such as Hymer which are very long-lived!

7 tips to optimize the resale value of your 5th wheel

After investing a considerable amount of money in the purchase and maintenance of your RV, it is good to know a few tips that will help you sell it for a good price.

The key is obviously to regularly maintain the mechanical and aesthetic components of the vehicle, but more specifically, what should be done? 

  1.  Use it! You might think that the less you use your RV, the more it retains its value, but it’s not that simple. Indeed, when you regularly use your vehicle, you tend to keep it in good condition to make the most of it. In addition, some parts will degrade if they are not stressed. The mileage is therefore not proof of everything.
  1.  Keep the original decoration. While it may be tempting to personalize your RV, avoid certain permanent aesthetic changes (painting walls, adding wallpaper, laying carpet, etc.). 
  1. Avoid holes in the walls: It seems obvious, but if you want to hang something on the walls of your RV, use small self-adhesive hooks instead of nails or screws. If you are installing a satellite dish or solar panels, try not to puncture your RV.
  1. Do not apply stickers: Many RVers like to put stickers on their RVs in memory of places they have visited. Of course, you can remove them, but often your RV’s exterior finish will come with it!
  1. Take care of the fabric and wood mouldings: Although the fabric and mouldings will inevitably wear out, replacing them would be rather complicated. Instead, take care of the original fabrics by cleaning them and repairing the mouldings with glue or mask the scratches with a wood-coloured repair pencil.
  1. Maintain exterior decorative elements: Vinyl appliqués give your vehicle a stunning look, but if these start to peel, your RV will be a lot less appealing. 
  1.  Do regular basic maintenance. Changing the oil, staying on the lookout for water infiltration, changing the air filters: here are some little things to do on a regular basis.

Conclusions

A fifth-wheel trailer can last up to 10 years, on average. However, the lifespan of a vehicle can vary considerably taking into account some essential aspects such as: how often you drive it if you live full-time in the trailer or not, if you do regular annual maintenance, if you take precautions when parking it long-term and in time what are you on the road.

Please feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions about the content. 

FAQ on How much do 5th wheels depreciate?

What are the worst travel trailers to buy?

The following are considered the worst travel trailers to buy:

  • Hurricane.
  • Coachmen.
  • Jayco.
  • Coleman.
  • Keystone.
  • Winnebago.
  • Fleetwood.

What is the most reliable travel trailer brand?

The most reliable travel trailer brands are:

  • Airstream.
  • Winnebago.
  • Forest River.
  • Jayco.
  • Keystone.
  • Oliver.
  • Happier Camper.

Do travel trailers hold their value?

Travel trailers do hold their value longer than RVs or caravans. A travel trailer can hold its value between five and 15 years, more or less regularly. 

References