Buying A Used RV – My Top 5 Tips For Success

In this article, we’re going to be talking about buying a used RV. And the top five things that you need to be looking for in the buying process.

Of course, buying a used RV can be very scary for a lot of people. That’s because nobody wants to buy an RV that is somebody else’s problem.

You know what I mean, an RV money pit with hidden problems in it. That’s every used RV buyer’s nightmare.

But if you follow a few simple guidelines, you can put the odds on your side that you’re going to get a great RV. And at a much better price than buying new.

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So let’s go ahead and get started. And the first thing we want to talk about is that when you’re going to get any RV there’s a few things you need to do first.

For instance, you need to make sure you get the right length RV for your needs. Also, you need to make sure that it’s the floor plan that you really like.

And of course, make sure that you get it to fit your budget too. But we’re not going to cover those things in this article.

Instead, we’re going to go from there and talk about the top five things that need to be done to make sure you get a good RV. One that you can count on.

Click here to view my video on this subject

Buying A Used RV – Tip #1

And number one on the list is to buy a good RV brand. Now why do you need to do that?

Well if you do, the odds get much better that you’re actually going to get a quality RV. And that’s because it was originally built with good quality and good quality materials.

So you need to be able to identify the manufacturers out there that build good quality RVs. Especially in the segment of the industry that you’re buying in.

And then make sure that you look for those brands while you’re searching for a used RV.

Click here to view my guidebooks on the best RV brands

Tip #2 For Buying A Used RV

Now for the second point on our list. You need to look for maintenance and repair records on the RVs you’re considering.

This is really important. But a lot of the time, folks never even ask for these kind of records at all.

However, it’s good to get maintenance and repair records that you can go over and review.

Why is that important? Well, it’s a good sign that the owners have been recognizing that an RV needs to be repaired and maintained.

And if they can show you those records, it indicates that they cared about that RV. That they have been caring for it well. And that’s a good thing!

But service records also lets you know what has been done on the RV so far in its life. And that can be useful to know in many ways.

So try to get an RV that has maintenance and service records.

Buying Used RVs – Tip #3

Now number three is really critical. And that is to check all of the joints and the seals on that RV.

And I’m not talking about just the side joints or the ones that’s easy to find.

No, you need to get up on that RV’s roof too. And if you can’t do it, then get someone you know that you can trust who will go up on the roof for you.

Either you or they will need to examine the joints and seals on the roof as well.

Because what happens if the roof joint sealant has begun to crack and get holes in it?

Or maybe something scraped it off as the RV went under a tree. Or a tree branch could have punctured the rubber roof.

These are places where water can get into your RV. And that means that you could have a serious water intrusion problem developing.

Buying a used RV - check the roof joints and seams
Roof joint sealant with cracks – a water intrusion issue

Remember that water intrusion is the number one enemy of RVs. It can break down your RV before you know it, requiring costly repairs to fix.

So get up there and look at all those roof joints and seams. You want to see everything covered with sealant. And you want that sealant to be in really good shape.

Other Places To Inspect

But of course, don’t just do it on the roof. Come down and examine the side joints of the RV too.

Especially where the front cap and the rear cap attaches to the RV. Most of the time, there’s a big joint there and you need to check that sealant too.

And don’t forget about the RV windows either. Because that’s another place that a lot of water intrusion can take place.

So look very carefully at the sealant around those areas as well.

Buying A Used RV – Tip #4

Now let’s move on to tip number four. And that is to try to figure out how well the owner has really cared for this RV.

You can do that by inspecting certain areas of the RV. Because there’s certain things to look for that gives you some insight into whether that owner has really been looking after the RV or not.

And one of those areas is the battery compartment. You might see batteries that are filthy dirty like nobody has been cleaning them.

Maybe they have corrosion on the connections and battery cables. Well, that’s an indication somebody is not looking after that electrical system in the RV.

RV battery connection corrosion
Battery connection corrosion

Next take a look in the RV’s water bay. I often look in there and find it’s dirty, filthy, and not organized in any way. Well, what does that say?

It says that this is an owner that’s not really looking after things on their RV.

Next look at the exterior walls of the RV. Are they faded and cracked? Does it look like they haven’t been washed in a while?

Once again, that’s an indication of the level of care that RV has been given.

And if you see problems in these areas, my recommendation is to proceed carefully. Because what else has that RV owner not been maintaining that you can’t see?

Of course, maybe they have taken care of the more important things on the RV.

But my experience is that if they’re not caring for the smaller things, they usually don’t care for the bigger things on their RV.

RV Buying Tip #5

Now number five is about tires, and the age of RV tires. I mention this because I see a lot of used RV buyers lose money in this area.

Now if you’re buying a car, you look at the tire tread, right? And if the tread looks good, that’s about as far as you go.

But that’s not the case on RVs. That’s because RV tires age out before they wear out.

So be sure to look at the date that each tire was manufactured. And the tire’s manufacture date is right on the sidewall of the tire. It’s a four digit code usually in an oval.

The two first digits tell you the number of the week that the tire was manufactured. And the last two digits is the last two digits of the year that it was manufactured.

This tire was made the 34th week of 2018

So if you see a tire date that has 3520 on it, that means it was manufactured in the 35th week of 2020. Now why is this important?

It’s because most RV tire manufacturers recommend replacing tires every five or six years.

So let’s say that you find that those tires are four years old. Well, that means you’ve got a big expense coming up to replace all those tires at one time.

And you need to know about that! You don’t want to buy the RV and then suddenly realize you have to replace all those tires.

It costs thousands of dollars in many cases. And you may not appreciate that until after you have bought the RV.

So check the tire dates before you buy any used RV.

More Tips For Used RV Buying

Okay, those are my five top things to look for when buying a used RV. Now is that everything you need to inspect before buying?

No way, not even close! So if you really want to know more about how to buy a used RV, I’ve created a guidebook for that.

It’s all about buying used RVs. And it will list not only the things we covered here in this article but much more as well.

It reveals many of the more expensive items that you need to be checking.

That way you can make sure that the RV you’re looking at is even worthy of consideration.

Click here for my used RV buying guide

Then the guidebook will help you learn how to narrow your search for RVs. From several to the very few that will really be the best to choose from.

Now once you’ve done all of that, I highly recommend getting an NRVIA certified RV inspector to go through that RV thoroughly.

Do this before you buy any used RV out there. And make sure that it is an NRVIA certified inspector that looks at the coach.

Don’t just hire somebody who’s going to charge you a couple hundred dollars and go through some quick checklist.

Instead, you want an inspector that’s going to go from top to bottom of that RV.

And their going to make sure everything in that RV is in the condition it should be in. That way you’ll know what you’re buying!

What About Older Motorhomes?

Now what if it’s a 10 year old or older motorhome? Then I also recommend that you do a fluid analysis as well.

Watch my video on motorhome fluid analysis

An analysis of the engine, the radiator coolant, and on the transmission fluid too.

But don’t forget the RV’s generator if it’s a diesel powered unit. Analyze it’s radiator coolant and oil as well.

You need to check those fluids because it will tell you a lot about what’s going on with the mechanical components of that RV.

And the older the RV is, the more important it is to get a thorough fluid analysis performed.


Now if you follow the guidelines that I’ve provided here in this article, here’s the good news.

You really can expect to get an RV that you will not only love, but also won’t be an RV money pit.

And you can avoid the pain of regret that so many used RV buyers experience.

How To Buy A Diesel Pusher Motorhome For Less Than $100K

This article will explain how you can buy a luxury diesel pusher motorhome for less than $100K.

Now that may sound pretty crazy. Because diesel pushers really are the luxury kings of the RV world.

And if you’re thinking about a new Class A diesel pusher or gas powered RV, I first of all recommend that you get my Class A Motorhome Buying Guidebook.

Because if you want to know what brands, manufacturers and models are building the best quality today, that’s where you’re going to find that information. So be sure to check that guidebook out.

Click here to download my Newer Class A Motorhomes Buying Guide

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Is A Diesel Pusher Motorhome Unaffordable?

But if you want to buy a new or slightly used diesel pusher, you’re probably going to start around $300,000. And the price goes up from there. So that makes them kind of unaffordable for many RVers.

So then, how can you get a diesel pusher motorhome that’s really affordable? For let’s say under a hundred thousand dollars? Well here’s the secret… you need to buy a used one.

Watch my video on how to buy a luxury motorhome for under $100K

And my personal recommendation is to actually buy one 15 years old or more. Because here’s an interesting point that a lot of people don’t know.

Between the year 2000 and 2007 some of the best quality diesel pusher motorhomes that have ever been made were produced. They were really making good quality in those years.

But the economic crash of 2008 changed everything. And RV manufacturers cheapened up their product. The unfortunate truth is that it’s never really gone back to where it was before the crash.

We don’t see the same kind of quality materials and building methods anymore now.

Quality Built Diesel Pusher Motorhomes

But here’s the good news. We have several of these older great RV’s out there that were made so well. And they’re still viable choices for an RVer to choose from.

In fact, they can be a great choice for RVers who can’t afford a new diesel pusher today. But would like to be able to enjoy the luxuries and comforts that diesel pusher motorhomes offer.

So the question is what brands should you be looking for back there in say 2000 to 2007? Well, let me give you some suggestions.

I can’t cover them all in this article. But I’ll give you five brands and some models that they make that you should really focus on.

Click here for a list of all of my recommended older Class A RVs

An Older Diesel Pusher Motorhome – My First Choice

Number one is Newmar. And Newmar makes the Dutch Star, the Kountry Star, and the Mountain Aire. These are all fantastic diesel pusher motorhomes from those years.

Newmar Dutch Star diesel pusher motorhome
Newmar Dutch Star

And if you have followed me on YouTube much, you know that I’m a big Newmar fan. I believe that they put out some really good quality coaches. So you can’t go wrong with those three models from Newmar.

4 More Great Older Diesel Pusher Motorhomes

Now the second one I’m going to suggest is Tiffin. Once again Tiffin is really high on my list of manufacturers that use good quality methods and materials. So if you can find an Allegro Bus during those years, that’s a really good candidate for purchase.

Tiffin Allegro Bus
Tiffin Allegro Bus

The third manufacturer is Country Coach. Country Coach was building some fantastic RV’s during that period of time. So look for the models of Allure, Intrigue and Affinity. They would be very good choices.

Country Coach Intrigue
Country Coach Intrigue

Next up is American Coach. Now American Coach was actually kind of the luxury division for Fleetwood RV. But they sort of became their own entity in the minds of many people.

And they built some very luxurious RV’s with a lot of really nice features. The models that you can look for is the American Dream, American Eagle, and American Tradition. Look for those and you’ll find that you’ll get a very good RV.

Now the fifth diesel pusher manufacturer I can recommend is Monaco. Monaco built a lot of RVs during that period of time. In fact, they were buying up other RV manufacturers too in those years. So the models of Dynasty, Windsor, and Executive could be very good choices for you.

Monaco Dynasty diesel pusher motorhome
Monaco Dynasty

Are These Older RVs Really Affordable?

Now as you can see, just with these five manufacturers, we’ve got a lot of models that we could choose from to get a really nice diesel pusher motorhome that’s built with very high quality.

And here’s the great thing. You can buy these great older coaches for pennies on the dollar compared to what they sold for new. And that’s a great thing!

You’re still going to be able to enjoy all the quality, all the amenities, and all the luxuries. But you get it at a much lower price. And way lower than newer diesel pushers these days.

Make Sure The RV Is In Great Shape

So what do you want to look for? Well here’s my suggestion. Number one, try to find one of these older coaches that has all of its repair records intact.

In other words, someone has maintained them very well. And they kept really good records of all the maintenance they did to that coach That indicates that somebody’s really taken care of that motorhome.

Number two, before you buy anything that goes back in those years, get an RV inspection by a certified NRVIA inspector. Because yes, there could be hidden problems and issues in motorhomes that are that old.

But if you have an inspector go through it, he’s not going to be just looking at how nice it is. He’s going to tell you what the issues are, what the problems are.

And you’ll know what you’re buying then. If there are issues and problems, you very often can get those resolved by working with the seller. And very often you can also get a better price as a result of that.

So be sure to get an RV inspection by a certified NRVIA inspector on those older coaches.

Why Fluid Analysis Will Be Needed

Finally my next recommendation is something a lot of people don’t do and they really should. And that is you should get a fluid analysis performed on the engine. Also the radiator, the transmission, and on the generator.

Especially if it has one of those diesel generators, get a fluid analysis done.

Why? Because the fluid analysis will tell you what’s going on inside that engine. Or inside that radiator, or transmission or generator. And much better than almost anything else that you can do.

Even better than a mechanic. A mechanic can tell you a lot from looking at the outside. But this actually tells you what’s going on inside when you get a fluid analysis.

So if you’re buying something that old, then you really need to know what shape the engine, drivetrain, and generator is in.


Now if you’ll follow those three suggestions, then most likely you should be in good shape if you buy an older diesel pusher motorhome.

In fact, I did those things and I have a 2004 Newmar Kountry Star diesel pusher. And I am very happy with it. I love it, and there’s a lot of other folks like me.

So lets recap what we have covered in this article. Some of the best older diesel pusher brands of motorhomes are:

  • Newmar – Dutch Star, Kountry Star, Mountain Aire
  • Tiffin – Allegro Bus
  • Country Coach – Allue, Affinity
  • American Coach – Dream, Eagle, Tradition
  • Monaco – Dynasty, Windsor, Executive

I know several people who have older coaches. And they love them!

In fact many of us prefer these older coaches and the quality that’s built into them. Especially compared to what we see being rolled off the assembly line today.

So it’s really a viable consideration to buy these older coaches. And you get the advantage of getting them at much less. And being able to also have quality at the same time.

So this is a way to enjoy RV travel at its finest. With all the luxuries you want. And for so much less than what you would spend today.

Well that’s it for now. Have safe and happy travels my friends.

RV House Batteries – Comparing The Top 3 Choices

RV house batteries are a major power source for your RV living space.

If you have a motorhome, you probably have another set of batteries. They start the engine and run all kinds of chassis related items. And they are usually called the chassis batteries.

But the batteries that power your living space are designed to provide steady 12 volt power for a long time. They are not usually used for cranking an engine.

So what are your choices for RV house batteries? Let’s take a look at them now.

Watch my video about the top 3 choices for RV batteries

Disclosure: Please note this post may contain affiliate links. This means – at no additional cost to you – I earn a commission if you make a purchase using our affiliate links. I only link to products and companies I use and feel comfortable recommending. The income goes toward supporting the free content on this website

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Lead Acid RV House Batteries

Many RVs come with 12-volt lead acid house batteries when they are new. But RV owners often replace them with golf cart batteries instead. Especially if they plan on doing much boondocking.

Golf cart batteries are designed to provide a lot of power for a long time. So that makes them an ideal choice for RVs as well.

But they usually come in 6 volt versions instead of 12-volts. So it takes two 6-volt golf cart batteries to replace one 12-volt battery.

And they are very heavy because they have much thicker lead plates than 12-volt batteries. So you have to be able accommodate the extra size and weight.

Now let’s talk about the pros and cons of golf cart 6-volt lead acid batteries.

Watch my Youtube video on RV house batteries

Lead Acid Battery Advantages

  1. They are usually the lowest cost battery that you can use for your house battery bank.
  2. They are easy to find. You can get lead acid batteries in lots of places. Auto parts stores, Walmart, Sam’s, Costco, and other stores often carry them.
  3. The technology is old but it is also very reliable if you care for them. Do the regular maintenance on these batteries and they will reward you for it.

Lead Acid Battery Disadvantages

  1. They are very heavy. You will need a stout storage area for them. And the weight becomes more of an issue with every battery that you add.
  2. You can only regularly discharge a lead acid battery safely to about 50%. You may occasionally discharge them to as low as 20%, but don’t do it often. This means that you only have about half the stored power of the battery available to you.
  3. They require regular monthly attention to replace the water that has evaporated in the charging process. And always use only distilled water in lead acid batteries. This keeps the impurities in tap water from attaching to the lead plates. If they do, they can lower the battery efficiency quite a bit.
  4. Lead acid batteries produce toxic gasses during the charging process. So this means that they must be well vented. Storing them inside the RV is NOT a good idea.

Absorbed Glass Mat RV House Batteries

Absorbed Glass Mat or AGM batteries solve some of the negative issues with lead acid batteries.

These batteries are not filled with a water and acid solution. Instead, each cell uses a solid glass mat that is absorbed with the proper solution to charge the battery plates.

So let’s start with the pros of AGM batteries when they are used for RV house batteries.

Click here for AGM RV house batteries

AGM Battery Advantages

  1. No water in each battery cell means much less maintenance.
  2. Not nearly as much toxic gassing takes place with an AGM battery. But it’s still enough to prevent them from being used safely inside the RV.
  3. You can mount them in almost any position because there is no liquid solution to leak out.
  4. They charge faster than regular lead acid batteries in most cases.
  5. They can be discharged to 20% of battery capacity more often. I wouldn’t do it on a regular basis, but they can take more deep discharges more easily.
  6. Low self-discharge rate while in storage and not being used.

AGM Battery Disadvantages

  1. They can cost nearly twice as much as most lead acid batteries.
  2. The battery charger used for charging must be able to be used for AGM batteries.
  3. They are sensitive to being overcharged. So make sure you have a good quality battery charger for AGMs.
  4. They also must be installed in a vented exterior compartment. Even though off-gassing is lower than with lead acid batteries, it still exists with AGMs.

Lithium RV House Batteries

RV Lithium batteries are getting more popular in RVing circles by the day.

They are especially in favor with RVers who like to dry camp or boondock.

They do have a lot of advantages on their side. And they actually are practically the perfect RV house batteries. But they have just one big disadvantage that we will cover.

So let’s start with the positives about RV lithium batteries.

Click here for RV lithium batteries

RV Lithium Battery Advantages

  1. They are much lighter than any other kind of RV house batteries. Much lighter!
  2. There is pretty much no maintenance need as they are in use.
  3. They can be installed in any position. There is no liquid to leak out, so no need to be placed upright.
  4. No off-gassing. This means that they may be stored inside the RV and many RVers use them that way. Of course, that opens up a lot more options for battery storage.
  5. They last a very long time. Usually 3 – 5 times as long as other types of batteries, or even more.
  6. They charge up to four times faster than other types of RV house batteries.
  7. You can discharge them up to almost 100% repeatedly without damage to the battery. This means that you get the full use of the rated power for each battery.
  8. Very low self-discharge rate when not in use.

The RV Lithium Battery Disadvantages

  1. There is one big disadvantage of RV lithium batteries at this time. And that is the cost. They often cost 8 – 10 times what a lead acid battery costs to buy. So buying a full bank of lithium batteries is very expensive.
  2. Usually can’t be charged while the temperature around the battery is below freezing. Of course, if they are stored inside, that’s usually not a problem.

RV House Batteries Comparison Conclusions

So having covered the pros and cons of the three most popular types of RV house batteries, what can we say?

Generally speaking, lead acid RV house batteries are great for RVers that spend most of their time in campgrounds. They also are good choices for those who are RVing on a budget as they are much cheaper than other battery types.

But you have to be willing to do regular maintenance on both them and the battery cables to keep them in shape.

AGM batteries are very good choices for full-time RVers and those who like to boondock a lot. They are a great choice for a solar panel systems too. You just have to be able to afford the extra initial cost.

RV lithium batteries answer almost all of the disadvantages of the other two battery types, but they are very expensive. The good news is that the costs seem to be lowering as they become more accepted. So hopefully, they will eventually become much more affordable for most RVers.

They are very good choices for full-time RVers and boondockers who have a large budget to work with. And they are practically made for use in RV solar systems.

A couple of very important extra points need to be made here.

First, don’t mix and match battery types. That’s a big no-no!

And make sure that you get a high quality multi-stage RV battery charger for charging. Doing so, will reward you with a long and productive battery life.

I hope this information on RV house batteries helps you understand your choices better.

Have safe and happy travels my friends!

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