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Buying a Used Motorhome: Checklist

July 17, 2023

Buying a brand new motorhome can involve a hefty upfront fee – and with moderate depreciation rates, it can often make sense to purchase a pre-loved vehicle which comes with a serious markdown. Many used motorhomes for sale are a real bargain, but buying secondhand isn’t without its risks.

To make sure that the deal you’re getting on your next RV isn’t too good to be true, we recommend carrying out a thorough vehicle check prior to signing any paperwork. Today, we’re highlighting some of the main things to look out for when inspecting a pre-loved motorhome, to give you confidence in your next purchase.

Related post: Used Caravan Checklist

1) Check the seller

Most RV dealerships sell secondhand motorhomes, and these specialists are often more reputable than private sellers. To eliminate some of the risks associated with a private sale, carry out a full HPI check and make sure that there’s no outstanding finance on the vehicle. Used motorhome sales are only legitimate if outstanding finance has been settled, so it’s always good to check this to avoid disappointment. It’s also worth confirming that the seller has a copy of the vehicle’s service history, which should indicate any major mechanical work carried out on the van.

2) Look for damp

Damp can be a real problem in any panelled vehicle, with weather proofing and seals losing their effectiveness over time. Some older vehicles even use wooden panelling, which can rot if exposed to water. Make checking for damp top of your list when inspecting a secondhand motorhome. The distinctive smell can often be the biggest giveaway, but it’s worth using a damp meter to be sure. Make sure you inspect the seals around the windows and doors, and look underneath and behind furnishings for any telltale signs of mould or dampness.

3) Check doors and windows

It’s important to check that the motorhome is mechanically sound, and that means testing all of its moving parts – including windows and doors. Check the hinges move freely and that doors and windows lock firmly closed. A firm seal is also going to help to waterproof the vehicle. If there’s double glazing present, check for condensation between the acrylic or glass, as windows can be expensive to replace – especially on older vehicles, where spare parts may no longer be readily available.

4) Examine the chassis, wheels and engine

A corroded chassis or signs of new paintwork will be a dead giveaway that there’s a fault hidden underneath – so steer well clear of vans with these kind of faults. As a motorhome is essentially a self-powered road vehicle, all of the checks that come with buying a car also apply here. Take it for a test drive and check the accelerator, brakes, gears and steering are all responding to your control inputs as they should. Check the wheels and take a look at the engine bay under the bonnet for signs of excessive corrosion or any leaking fluids.

5) Ensure the gas and electrics are in good condition

It’s vital that the gas and electrical systems are in a good condition, so having a professional take a look can keep you and your fellow campers safe. Any indication of DIY work on these systems could cause future complications – and these could be lethal, so it’s worth a thorough check. Ask the seller to demonstrate the electrics are in full working order by switching everything on, as well as the heating and gas.

Whether you’ve already set your eyes on the motorhome of your dreams, or are looking to secure finance whilst you peruse the salerooms, the Pegasus Caravan Finance team are committed to providing affordable motorhome finance deals. Purchasing motorhomes on finance means that you can get on with touring the Great British landscape, safe in the knowledge that your repayments are affordable.


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