When purchasing a used recreational vehicle, a buyer needs to look for interior and exterior damage, signs of rust, service record paperwork and water leaks. Buyers also need to make sure the vehicle identification number matches the seller’s paperwork.
Rust on the exterior or interior of an RV can be a sign of damage to the frame, which is a costly repair that can negate the savings gained from buying a used vehicle. Leaks in the roof and seams of RVs can also lead to expensive repairs. One way for a buyer to check for roof leaks and potential steering issues is to test-drive the vehicle in the rain. Riding as a passenger in the vehicle allows the buyer to listen for noises and problems that may otherwise go unnoticed while driving. A used RV buyer needs to have a quick look under the hood to check for burnt oil smells, which can be a sign of engine trouble.
It’s important to make sure the VIN on the vehicle matches the seller’s paperwork to confirm the RV was not stolen or rebuilt. The VIN also allows the buyer to find out about manufacturer recall notices and past collision damage. Buyers need to request a test-drive with the interior systems charged and operational to troubleshoot potential electrical problems. In cold climates, buyers need to inspect the RV’s plumbing for burst pipes and leaks.