If you’re considering buying a used RV we have some sound advice for you that you would do well to heed. Whether it’s a travel trailer, fifth wheel, motor home or other recreational vehicle you should never hand over the cash sight unseen.

It is vital to know the RV’s history including the maintenance records, general vehicle history and if at all possible you should test drive the vehicle. Depending on the type of RV it may look amazing on the outside but have a full time off road history that has caused unseen water damage, for example.

Here’s a list of what to check for when buying a used camper:

  • General Appearance. Walk around the RV and give it a quick once over to see if there have been any recent repairs.
  • Are there fresh patches of paint? Does one tire look new but the rest not? Take note and ask about these items.
  • Check From the Top Down. The roof must be in excellent condition. No compromises here. Inspect it by going inside the RV and looking at the areas around vents and in the overhead for soft spots or discoloration.
  • Feel the Walls. Inspect the exterior walls, looking for any bubbles or waviness otherwise known as delamination. This can cause big problems later. Make sure the walls look structurally sound.
  • Inspect the Seals. Make sure all areas around windows and microwave vents are tight with no gouges or gaps. Look for any soft spots around these areas to make sure the walls are solid.
  • Check for Water Damage. Open cabinet doors, nooks and storage areas and inspect them with a flashlight. Water damage can hide in these places and you need to know if it’s there.
  • Light It Up! Turn on every single light to make sure there are no electrical issues which can be costly later on. Check wires if possible to ensure they’re in good shape.
  • Go Down Under. Inspect the undercarriage for any rust or flood damage. You’ll also be able to determine if off-roading has caused any damage that you’ll be stuck repairing.
  • Check Exterior Storage Areas. This is important to know when buying a used camper trailer. Water damage can easily hide in exterior storage areas caused by water-logged kayaks or leaky fresh water barrels.
  • Turn Everything On. Switch on all the appliances to make sure they are in good working order. Let the oven warm up to desired temperature to make sure it can.
  • Where the Rubber Meets the Road. Finally, inspect the tires for wear and find out if the bearings have been serviced and when. Tires in good condition are very important for you and your family’s safety.

In conclusion, here’s what to look for when purchasing a used camper: general appearance, roof, walls, seals, any water damage inside cabinets, electrical issues, damage to undercarriage, damage to outside storage areas, working appliances and tire/bearing condition.

Following these guidelines when shopping for a pre-owned RV will give you peace of mind to just sit back and enjoy the ride.