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The Pros And Cons Of Buying A Used RV

May 3, 2023

Are you considering purchasing an RV for your next adventure on the open road? While new models may seem appealing with their shiny exteriors and modern amenities, buying a used RV can be a more cost-effective option.

However, before making any decisions, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of purchasing a pre-owned vehicle.

One advantage of buying a used RV is that it typically comes at a lower price point than its brand-new counterpart. This can free up funds for other travel expenses or allow buyers to upgrade to higher-end features within their budget. Additionally, since someone else has already taken the initial depreciation hit, reselling the RV down the line could potentially result in less financial loss compared to selling a newer model.

On the other hand, there are also potential downsides such as hidden maintenance issues and limited warranty coverage. It’s essential to carefully consider these factors before committing to a purchase.

Cost Savings

Buying a used RV can offer significant cost savings compared to purchasing a brand new one. The initial price of a new RV is often much higher than that of a used one, even if the latter is only slightly older. In addition, buying a used RV may allow for more wiggle room in terms of negotiation tactics.

However, it’s important to consider the condition of the used RV before making your purchase. While some sellers may be upfront about any issues or necessary repairs, others may try to hide these details in order to make a sale. It’s essential to thoroughly inspect the vehicle and ask questions about its history and maintenance records before finalizing the deal.

Despite this potential risk, many buyers find that they are able to save thousands by opting for a pre-owned RV rather than a new one. With proper research and careful consideration, you could score an excellent deal on a well-maintained vehicle with plenty of life left in it.

Plus, choosing a used model leaves more room in your budget for potential upgrades down the line – which we’ll discuss next!

Potential For Upgrades

While purchasing a used RV can yield cost savings, it also presents the opportunity for customization options. Compared to buying new, there may be more flexibility in choosing features and amenities that suit individual needs when shopping pre-owned. This means buyers have the chance to make an older model feel like their own unique space.

However, retrofitting challenges may arise with an older vehicle. While customizing is exciting, it’s important to consider what changes will require professional installation or repairs—especially if they’re beyond one’s skill set. Retrofitting could add unexpected costs on top of the purchase price, so it’s wise to factor these expenses into the decision-making process before committing.

Despite potential retrofitting challenges, having access to customization options can still outweigh any negatives. Whether adding solar panels, upgrading appliances, or repurposing storage areas, a used RV offers room for personalization that might not exist with newer models.

Customization allows owners to create a home-away-from-home tailored specifically to their preferences.

As mentioned earlier, reduced depreciation is another benefit of buying used—a topic we’ll delve into next.

When considering all pros and cons together—from cost savings and customization options to retrofitting issues—it becomes clear that taking time to research and evaluate different vehicles ahead of time is key in making an informed decision about investing in a pre-owned RV.

Reduced Depreciation

Purchasing a used RV can be a financially savvy option for those looking to hit the road without breaking the bank. One of the biggest advantages is reduced depreciation. New vehicles lose significant value as soon as they are driven off the lot, but with a used RV, someone else has already taken that initial loss.

This means that you may have more financing options available and could potentially benefit from a higher resale value down the line.

When purchasing a new RV, you’ll often find yourself locked into specific financing options offered by dealerships or manufacturers. With a used RV, however, there’s typically greater flexibility in terms of financing choices. You might consider securing funding through your own bank or credit union, which could result in better rates than what’s available at the dealership.

Another advantage of buying a pre-owned vehicle is that it offers insight into how well-maintained it was by its previous owner(s). If an RV has held up relatively well over time with regular maintenance and upkeep, then it may continue to do so under new ownership. Of course, hidden maintenance issues can still arise no matter how diligent the prior owner was – which we will discuss further next!

Hidden Maintenance Issues

Despite reduced depreciation being a major advantage of buying a used RV, there are also hidden maintenance issues that come with it. As the saying goes, ‘you get what you pay for,’ and this rings true when purchasing an older vehicle.

While some may have been well-maintained by their previous owners, others could be ticking time bombs waiting to break down on your first trip. To avoid unforeseen repair costs, it’s important to thoroughly inspect any used RV before making a purchase. This can include going through an inspection checklist or even hiring a professional assessment service. These measures can help identify potential problems such as leaks, damage from previous accidents, and worn-out components that require replacement.

While inspections and assessments can provide peace of mind during the buying process, they still cannot guarantee that every issue has been uncovered. In addition to regular maintenance tasks like oil changes and tire rotations, unexpected repairs will likely arise at some point in the future.

This is where limited warranty coverage comes into play – providing protection against certain types of breakdowns within a specific timeframe after purchase. However, it’s important to carefully review the terms of any warranty offered as coverage levels vary widely between providers.

As enticing as reduced depreciation may be when considering purchasing a used RV, buyers must keep in mind the potential for hidden maintenance issues that can sneak up on them later down the road. By performing thorough inspections or obtaining professional evaluations prior to purchase, buyers can minimize risk and make informed decisions about which used RV is right for them.

Even so, having limited warranty coverage provides added security should anything go wrong post-purchase.

Limited Warranty Coverage

When purchasing a used RV, one of the biggest concerns is the limited warranty coverage. Unlike new RVs that come with extended warranties, most used ones only have a short-term warranty, if any at all. This can be a major disadvantage for buyers as they may end up spending more money on repairs and maintenance.

However, there are ways to mitigate this risk by negotiating the price of the RV and considering an extended warranty. Negotiating the price can help offset some of the costs associated with potential repairs or upgrades needed down the line.

Additionally, an extended warranty can provide peace of mind knowing that major mechanical issues will be covered. It’s important to keep in mind that not all extended warranties are created equal. Before purchasing one, it’s crucial to read through the terms and conditions carefully to ensure that it covers what you need it to cover.

It’s also worth comparing prices from different companies to find the best deal. In summary, while limited warranty coverage is a definite con when buying a used RV, there are options available for mitigating these risks such as negotiating the price and investing in an extended warranty. By taking these steps, buyers can feel confident in their purchase and enjoy their new home away from home without worrying about unexpected repair bills.


In conclusion, buying a used RV can be a great way to save money while still enjoying the freedom and adventure of the open road. You may even find that you have more options for upgrades than if you were starting with a brand new vehicle. And because depreciation is reduced on used models, you won’t lose as much value over time.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that there could be hidden maintenance issues lurking beneath the surface. Plus, your warranty coverage will likely be limited or non-existent.

So before making any decisions, make sure to carefully weigh the pros and cons and do your research so that you can enjoy all of the benefits of owning an RV without any unexpected surprises along the way.

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