When you buy a used RV for full-timing, you won’t have some of fancy bells and whistles that new RVs have. But the upside is that you’ll kick off your new lifestyle with a lighter debt load and far less worry when you roam.
Of course, used RVs almost always have something wrong, but you can avoid the most costly issues by following these basic tips.
Know what you can afford after you buy
Used RVs save money upfront, but even the best ones eventually need work. Before you decide on a rig, take an honest look at your finances. Even the best full-timing budget has uncertainty.
Do you have the financial cushion to cover regular and unexpected repairs on that rig? Consider the age of the RV and costs of fixing everything from maintaining axle bearings to buying new tires.
Different RV types have different maintenance costs, some higher and some lower. For example, a Class A RV may have more maintenance or repairs than a trailer because it has an engine.
Think about buying from a private party
When we chose to buy a used RV for full-timing, my husband and I assumed that buying from a dealer would give us more protection under state lemon laws.
Wrong! The few RV lemon laws in existence don’t cover pre-owned towable RVs (at least in states where I was looking). Motorhome protection under lemon laws is also extremely limited.
Of course, RV dealers have to stay relatively honest to remain in business, but private parties can be more trustworthy than we give them credit for.
See if extended warranties are right for you
Extended warranties on used RVs are ideal for the RVer who isn’t mechanically inclined (or who just doesn’t want to be). Many companies offer comprehensive plans that will cover you for all incidents, even for add-on items like solar panels.
Others aren’t as generous and exclude anything that wasn’t bolted to the rig when it came off the assembly line. Talk to RVers about extended warranties. Don’t buy until you have a copy of the plan’s exclusions, limitations, and benefits. Then you’ll know if it’s worth adding over $1,000 dollars to your used RV purchase.
Above all else, get the RV inspected
Don’t be more interested in the look and layout of the RV. It`s very important to look behind the walls and under the floor. Never commit to an RV unless you have a knowledgeable RVing friend, mechanic, or RV inspector take an in-depth look at the candidate.
A good RV inspection isn’t cheap but it helps avoid bad RV purchases. Set aside a few hours to check out your strongest RV options. Asking other RVers about RV inspection checklist tips will benefit you greatly and save you money.
You might be thinking that buying new can save you time and worry. Rest assured, it won’t because even the best new RVs can have problems. Stay methodical and open-minded about pre-owned RVs that you see. Choose to buy a used RV for full-timing and you’ll enjoy a whole new level of confidence in your adventures.
See also: What To Look For When Buying A Used RVResearch Campgrounds, Plan RV Safe Routes & Turn your phone into an RV GPS.
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Rene Agredano and her husband, Jim Nelson, became full-time RVers in 2007 and have been touring the country ever since. In her blog, Rene chronicles the ins and outs of the full-timing life and brings readers along to meet the fascinating people and amazing places they visit on the road. Her road trip adventures are chronicled in her blog at LiveWorkDream.com.