Camping in a Class A motorhome can be one of the most rewarding experiences ever. However, Class A motorhomes can have a pretty large barrier to entry. They’re more expensive than other types of RVs. New Class As can range anywhere from about $70,000 to a million or more. It really depends on what you want.
Because of this, it can make a lot of sense to purchase a used Class A RV. Many of the RV’s are built to last, and that means you can pick up a used model for less and still get a great motorhome. However, you need to ensure you’re buying a truly good used RV. The last thing you want is to buy an RV that needs a lot of work or is generally unsatisfying. Here are some things to look for when shopping for a used Class A motorhome.
Make Sure Everything Works
Just as you would do with any large purchase, you need to make sure that everything the RV is equipped with works properly. Go around and make sure all the lights and electronics function as they should. Check all of the appliances and features of the RV. Take your time. You don’t want to rush into the purchase, and you should take all the time you need to ensure everything works. If a good majority is in working order but you spot some room for potential upgrades, Camping World carries a large assortment of RV appliances that will take any RV’s functionality to the next level.
Also, drive the RV. Obviously, you won’t leave with the motorhome if it doesn’t work, but make sure you take it for a test drive before purchasing. During that test drive, make sure you test all of the features and technology that the RV has, like cruise control, built-in navigation, etc. If there’s anything that doesn’t work, discuss it with the salesperson and see if you can get the price reduced.
Ensure the Seller Has the Proper Documents
Don’t purchase an RV that’s missing important documents. You need the title and the owner’s manual at a bare minimum. This shouldn’t be an issue at all if you’re buying from a dealership. It would also be great to have documents of the vehicle’s history. Documents about where it was and who owned it. The more paperwork the seller has, the better.
Don’t just check to make sure it’s all there either. You should actually go through it all to make sure there’s nothing out of the ordinary. As you go through the documents, discuss anything that comes up. Even little things can be good to talk about.
Is the Maintenance History Well-Documented?
This section could honestly be included above, but it’s important enough that I wanted to include it down here. When shopping for a used RV, especially a Class A, you want to see the maintenance history. The seller should have documents and receipts of any work that was done to the unit.
This includes oil changes, tires, air filter replacements, and any of the actual vehicle maintenance. It also includes any maintenance of the living area of the RV. When was the last time the roof received maintenance? What about the HVAC unit and other appliances? All of the appliances and electronic maintenance info should be documented.
Again, take some time to go through it. This will help you get the best price possible for the unit. Sit down with the seller and look at the documents and try to find any gaps in the records.
Obvious Exterior or Interior Damage
One thing you absolutely need to do is a full inspection of the outside of the RV and the inside. Look for any obvious damage, wear, or possible future repairs. On the outside of the RV, ask to look at the roof of the unit. The roof is one of the most important parts of any RV. If you have a leaky roof you have huge problems. You need to ensure the roof and the rest of the RV’s exterior are in good condition.
Also, pay attention to lighting on the exterior. Ensure that every light functions as it should and have the seller fix any lights that don’t. You also need to look at the tires. Find out how old they are, how much tread is left on them, and look to see if there are any signs of dry rot. Tires are expensive and you want to be sure you buy an RV with good ones already equipped. They don’t have to be brand new, but they should be in good condition.
Inside the RV, pay attention to areas like the kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom. Look to make sure the appliances and utilities all work properly and are still in good condition. Also, use all of your senses when shopping. Offensive smells can be a clear indicator of a problem. If a used RV has an odor issue, I’d suggest moving to the next unit. If the seller can’t get the smell out, you’re going to have a hard time, too.
If there’s any exterior or interior damage or wear that you notice during your inspection, discuss it with the seller so that you can get the appropriate price for the RV.
The Number of Miles and Amount of Use The RV’s Had
Some people really get around in their Class A motorhomes. Others park their unit in one spot for most of the year. It depends on the person and that’s fine. However, you need to at least get an idea of how it was used. Look at the number of miles on the odometer and cross-check that with the maintenance records. Was the proper maintenance done for the number of miles the unit has on it? If not, discuss that with the seller.
If the miles are low but the interior looks well-used, then you can bet the previous owner spent most of his or her time in one spot. This isn’t a bad thing, it just means that you’ll want to spend extra time inside the unit inspecting it for damage or worn-out equipment. Also, you’ll want to make sure the owners still kept up on maintenance to the vehicle’s engine even though it spent a lot of time stationery.