Used 5th Wheels By Owner – When we bought our first RV, “Franklin” in 2014, we were ill-equipped to shop for RVs. In fact, we were just looking before purchasing the Franklin

The second used camper threw up a lot of red flags. It was obviously water damaged, had been in storage for years, and the man selling it couldn’t easily answer our questions. We knew these were bad signs, but aside from calling Heath’s grandfather every five minutes for advice, we couldn’t find a clear answer on what questions to ask and what we should know before buying an RV.

Used 5th Wheels By Owner

Used 5th Wheels By Owner

Finding a good used RV can sometimes feel like looking for a needle in a haystack. Here are 12 questions and tips to consider before buying a used RV.

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First of all, make sure that your contact is actually the owner of the caravan. The first C-Class motorhome we looked at was shown to us by the father of a man who owned a rig. He had no answers to our questions nor did he have any control over the price of the RV. He was unable to tell us how it was stored, how often it was driven, or show us any maintenance records.

Unless the owner is deceased or you are buying from a used RV dealer, make sure you can ask questions about the RV directly to the owner.

Pro Tip: A great place to find used RVs is It’s a reconditioned RV marketplace started by our friend Ashley. Every listing has been verified that you are buying directly from the owner of the motorhome (and you can find some beautifully restored motorhomes like the photo below).

We were the fourth owners of Franklin. An older man bought it new, then a man less than two years younger owned it, then a family of four used it for regular camping trips. We bought the device from a family after they moved from California to Texas.

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B) the owners have children, which meant they might be more careful about maintaining a device that is trusted to drive their young children across the country.

Moreover, judging from our interviews, it was clear that they used the device several times a year. This meant that it was most likely serviced regularly. Lower mileage isn’t necessarily a good thing when buying a used RV. When someone drives an RV quite often, it means that it is maintained and maintained. Lower mileage when buying a used RV can mean it’s sitting on a vacant lot somewhere and you could be in for a lot of trouble.

Maintenance records are the holy grail of buying a used RV. We were immediately told that the transmission was replaced in 2012 and that the cabin of the RV suffered major damage from leaks and was fully replaced.

Used 5th Wheels By Owner

Each previous owner of the camper carefully documented all maintenance records. This showed us that they were responsible enough to fix things (and keep records too) and gave us the confidence that we knew things were being maintained.

Just Installed New 5th Wheel Hitch Wife Got A Used 5th Wheel As A Project. Any Towing Tips For Me As It’ll Be The First Time I’m Pulling A 5th Wheel Today!! :

This is especially important if you are looking at buying a used Class A RV. Class A rigs have extremely expensive tires and replacing them is akin to college tuition. This summer we noticed an alignment issue and our front two tires were wearing unevenly. They needed to be replaced immediately. Luckily it was all under warranty as the bill came to a whopping $300 PER TIRE. Yuck. Check the tires carefully! This is less of a problem with C, B classes or trailers that have similar tires to trucks.

Even if you don’t know much about tires, checking the tread is pretty easy. Are they looking worn and sun damaged? If so, they probably don’t have much life left in them. Do your research on how much it would cost to replace all the tires you need and then ask for a discount on the price of the caravan.

Check the roof and around all windows. Push against the walls and feel for soft spots that may indicate previous or ongoing water damage. Water damage – in my opinion – is the number one reason not to buy a used RV. If it has water damage, save yourself now and don’t buy it.

Reason why? It’s often hard to know exactly how much water damage there is until you start digging into the wall. One small weak point can actually cause a lot more damage than you realize.

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After purchasing our camper we found a weak spot in the lower left corner of the window, behind the dining chair. It was impossible to notice because the chair was constantly blocking the area, but after a big storm in Nebraska we noticed a small puddle of water on the floor. This leak became a constant headache for us and a major lesson in proper RV sealing. (We highly recommend all RVers travel with Eternabond tape, the sealant of the gods.)

Start the engine (if possible). Turn on every light. Check the exterior marker lights and brake lights. Turn on the generator (if available). Align the jacks. Turn on the hot water heater. Try a water pump. Turn on all the faucets. Test all features to make sure they work. The last thing you want is to drop in one weekend and find out your water pump is broken.

Showered in Franklin unless necessary. The shower was too small to be comfortable. Plus, my first shower experience was less than stellar, and I’ve been avoiding showering ever since. Stand in the shower and see if you can do it. Although it may sound futile now, after three months on the road you will be glad to have a set with a proper shower,

Used 5th Wheels By Owner

On the Franklin (mostly Heath, ahem) we scraped our rear end on so many sloping driveways that we broke the metal wheels designed to keep your rear end from dragging. When we sold our RV the wheels were nothing more than half circles. While this may not be much for a buyer, be sure to note the RV’s chassis and how well it has been cared for. Look for rust, cracks, obviously broken wheels, etc.

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Heath is very allergic to cats so this is a must for us. You can usually tell by the smells, but it is necessary to ask if you have allergies. I also always ask about smokers because I’m allergic to smoke.

Most owners will let you take the kit for a test drive. If not, don’t buy it. Main red flag. Take the kit out on the open road (especially if it’s your first time in an RV!) and fire away. See how the rig handles different speeds, how it handles turns, braking, yaws, etc.

Plus, you’ll see how you handle driving. Does it seem too big or something you can adjust to? If you plan to take the rig to national parks with mountains, take it up a few hills and listen to the motor (specific to RVs). Is it too hot or is it whimpering in protest?

Remember that the kit you’re testing is probably empty and will be much heavier carrying all your stuff, family and full water tanks.

Cougar Captures The Attention.

Listen (or have someone watching the rig with you listen) for things that rattle and move as the rig moves. This can be frustrating. I know a couple who bought a Thora and the entire cabinet came off the ceiling and fell to the ground while driving. So listening to these sounds can be important!

Ask the owner if you can have the rig professionally inspected before purchase. We didn’t buy the camper because we made this request and it was vehemently denied. If the owner is not hiding anything, they will probably comply. This is especially good for your peace of mind when buying a used RV. If your device passes 3rd party inspection, I’d say you’re ready to start negotiating on price.

Depending on the RV, you may be able to purchase an extended RV warranty for your used drill. I recommend a company called Wholesale Warranties who can get you a quote for extended coverage. It will be an additional cost, but it can be a good option for peace of mind and ultimately save you money on expensive repairs. If you buy used from a dealer, they may also offer you purchase guarantees.

Used 5th Wheels By Owner

This post is an excerpt from my latest book, The Beginner’s Guide to RV Living: Everything I Wish I Knew Before Driving Across America Full Time. This book answers all your full-time motorhome questions from how to get mail and internet on the road to how to choose the right motorhome for you.

Rv For Sale: 2015 Montana Mountaineer 5th Wheel 38′ In Lodi Stockton Ca

The other half of Team Padgett and the main navigator on our travels. I blog about our latest adventures, how I manage our business from the road, and the ridiculous things Heath does on a daily basis. Luckily my husband thinks I’m funny.

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