Buying a pre-owned RV is a great way to enjoy this traveling lifestyle we’ve all come to know and love. This might be your first, second or even third RV but with any large purchasing decision, you don’t want to take it lightly. Do your homework, know what you’re looking for, do more than kick the tires and you should be able to find yourself a great coach.
Start by determining what you need in an RV. Ask yourself:
What size will suit our family? And how many beds will we need?
What layout might work for us?
What are our towing capabilities? How much weight can our vehicle pull?
What extra licensing will be required if we get a diesel pusher?
You’ll want to ask your friends and family who either own an RV or have owned one in the past. They’ll have a good idea not only what to look for in a pre-owned RV, but likely give you advice surrounding what they liked, didn’t like or wish they had with their RV. This information is golden! Use it.
Then, check out manufacturers, models and brands you’re interested in by searching them online. You’ll get to know each manufacturer and learn more about their company including the all-important company policies around building great products. At the dealership, we find a lot of customers already know what brands they’re interested in because they’ve done significant online browsing.
When searching RV brands online, you’ll likely come across discussion forums or social media links that could give you indicators of product quality, recalls or recurring issues. A great way to get right to this is by searching ‘[RV brand name] problems.’ Of course, take everything with a grain of salt. There are some sour souls out there that aren’t pleased by anything. Also check out www.rvtravelforum.com and rv.org for reviews.
When you finally find a few RVs you want to look at, do more than kick the tires. These vehicles have a lot of moving parts and components. Newer units will still have warranty left, which is a plus. Don’t hesitate to ask for service history. It’s important to know.
A few things to really pay attention to include:
The frame: In good shape, not bent or rusting badly?
The roof: In good shape and sealed properly?
The sidewalls: Noticeable damage, cracking
Windows: Seals okay?
Seating, beds, fabric, upholstery: Any major ware and tear? Everything is in good condition and
Water system: Any leaks? Has it been regularly winterized?
Electrical system: What needs upgrading or fixing? Is there a solar system, and does it
Plumbing system: Any leaks, breaks or cracked pipes? What is the condition of the holding tanks?
Kitchen: Everything in order here?
Furnace and water heater: Are they working well? Any issues in the past?
For motorhomes, you will want to take the coach for a drive, and not just around the block. Get it up to highway speed and check for vibrations or strange noises. You may also want to set up the motorhome to check leveling systems and slide-outs.
Finally, when you’ve found the RV of your dreams, don’t forget to update any warranty information and contact a local RV dealership in case something goes wrong. If you purchased from us at Bucars, you’ve likely been introduced to our amazing Service Department at this point, and are being well taken care of.
Jeff is Owner and General Sales Manager at Bucars RV Centre, a refreshingly different RV dealership located in Balzac, Alberta. Jeff has served as board member of the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association of Alberta as well as Go RVing Canada where he is also past Chair. Jeff lives in Calgary, has a wife and two kids. They love to go RVing! For more information, visit www.bucarsrv.com.
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