Even Buying a Used RV from a Dealer Can Be Dangerous
These are just four examples of real people’s horrifying RV experiences. One notable feature of these examples is that three of the four RVs were new purchases from dealers. The dealers and the manufacturers of these new RVs failed to resolve the problems for the original owners. A design flaw in the black water tank on a new 36’ motorhome, a dangerous fire in a travel trailer, and a whole set of unresolved problems in a 45’ 5th wheel, all resulted in those rigs being quickly turned into used RVs.
In a way, this works to the benefit of unscrupulous RV dealers. They sell the RVs with all the problems, then either they can’t or won’t correct the problems, which results in the RVs being traded in on different RVs. The dealers profit on the first sale, on the replacement sale, and they profit again when they sell the used RVs, to unsuspecting new buyers.
Do Your Due Diligence
I am not suggesting that there is an industry wide conspiracy to create and sell dysfunctional RVs just to increase profits, but RV buyers of both new and used RVs need to be aware that some dealers, some manufacturers, and some brands are better than others. It’s imperative that you do your due diligence regarding the manufacturers, brands, and model of RV, that you are interested in purchasing. Additionally, if you intend to purchase from a dealer, you should use caution and extend that due diligence to the dealership, as well. This is not as hard as it used to be now with the internet. You can search RV forums and databases for information regarding brands, models, manufacturers and even dealerships.
Buying From a Private Seller
If you intend to purchase a used RV from a private party, having the RV professionally inspected for defects, to make sure it is fully functional, and that the condition of the rig is being correctly represented, is the best way to avoid buying one of these RV nightmares, described above.
If you intend to purchase a used RV from a dealer, asking for an independent inspection might be met with some resistance on the part of the dealer, but their unwillingness to allow for an independent inspection might, in itself, reveal important information about that RV and about the dealer.
If an RV deal seems to be “too good to be true” … very low milage, virtually new, no evidence of real use, a super low price… then ask yourself why the rig is being offered for that price. Is it possible there are undisclosed problems that made the previous owner sell it? Why not ask the dealer to provide contact information for the previous owner, so you could ask them directly if the RV had any problems? If they won’t provide that, ask for all the service records and for an impartial inspection by a third party. Be firm, it’s your money and if you spend it on someone else’s nightmare, you will be the one stuck with the problems, not the dealer.