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Are Older Low Mileage RVs A Good Buy?

by FRANK M DEPAUL
(LISLE ILL)

Are Older Low Mileage RVs A Good Buy?

Are Older Low Mileage RVs A Good Buy?

Are Older Low Mileage RVs A Good Buy?
Are Older Low Mileage RVs A Good Buy?

I have seen c class RVs 1998 to 2005 with low mileage some as low as 20,000 miles could these be good buy's or should I stay away from these oldies just because of age.

ANSWER Greetings Frank, First let me thank you for submitting your question through our Free Ask An RV Question Page.


The answer to your question is not as simple as a Yes or No. Older RVs can be an excellent buy, or they can turn into your worst nightmare after you purchase them.

There are a lot of factors to consider when buying an older RV. One of the main ones is; how well was the RV maintained by it's current owner. Just because an RV only has 20,000 miles on it does not mean that it has not had extraordinary wear and tear on it.

Let The Good Sam Extended Service Plan Pay Your RV Repair Bills

The first thing to remember about buying a used RV, especially from a private seller is that you are buying it AS-IS. Once you own that RV, the seller is not legally obligated to fix anything. If you drive that RV for 5 minutes and the engine seizes up, you will be responsible for all the cost of the repairs.

The phrase to remember when buying a Used RV is "BUYER BEWARE". Here is a different phrase I would like to throw in "BUYER BE PREPARED". You can alleviate much of the risk of buying a used RV by performing a pre-purchase inspection.

There are companies that you can hire that will actually come out and do a thorough inspection of the RV for you. Once they complete this inspection you will be provided with a report that will tell you what problems; if any there are with the RV.

Remember, you are the one that will be paying for this inspection. The money you spend on this inspection will be well worth it and could save you a lot more money in the future if the inspector finds a major problem on the RV you are considering buying.

If you feel comfortable performing the inspection or if you have a friend that is very knowledgeable about RVs, you can save money by performing the inspection yourself.

Over 1,500,000 successful roadside rescues—Good Sam RV Emergency Road Service

The bottom line is that you should not buy a used RV from a private seller until a used RV Inspection is performed.

We feel so strongly about these inspections that we have dedicated a whole section of our website to Used RV Inspections. I would suggest that you click on the links below and review the information we have provided.

Used RV Inspection, Is It Important?

Section 1
is for motorized and non motorized RVs. It covers the guidelines for reviewing important documents about the RV, the inspection of the interior and exterior of the RV.

Section 2 is for motorized RVs and covers the guidelines for inspection of the engine and the guidelines on what to look for during a road test of the RV.

Hopefully, this will help you better determine if the Used RV you are looking at is a "Great Deal" or "Bad Deal".

If any of our visitors, would like to put in their 2 cents, they can click on the add comments link at the end of this page.

I wish you the best of luck on your RV search and Happy RVing.

Do you have any suggestions or comments on this topic? You can add them to this page by clicking on the "Click Here To Post Comments" link located near the bottom of this page.

Happy RVing

RVing Al

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Comments for Are Older Low Mileage RVs A Good Buy?

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Hopefully I Can find a good Motorhome
by: Anonymous

My wife and I are wanting to find an RV but we don't have a large bank roll so we've been looking in the 15000 to 25000 price range. Let me tell you, I'm a decent mechanic when I need to be but the thought of buying some else's junk really scares me! With so many different systems on an RV it's easy to miss something that could potentially cost thousands of dollars. So here is my plan and maybe this will help someone else, I will do an inspection myself using the information on this website as well as some others. (Print out an inspection form and take it with you, you cannot remember everything!) Even if you have a towable you can have the same problems as with an RV. Brakes, water leaks, electrical problems, tires, appliance issues, the list goes on and on. The biggest difference to me with an RV is that they sit for long periods of time without being moved and when you start driving it after it has been sitting, all of the dry rotted rubber parts will start falling apart. I've heard of RVs needing complete suspension rebuilds after just a few short trips. That's why I'm not necessarily looking for an RV with the lowest miles. I want one that has been driven some but not worn out. Maybe somewhere around 60 to 70000 mile range for a late 90s model, and yes the cleaner the better, inside and out. To often people let RVs sit for years at a time and when this happens humidity gets trapped inside and causes wallpaper to peal, mold and mildew and rot in places you can't see. If it smells bad when you walk in an RV, RUN!, and don't look back...
That's my 2 cents worth so I hope it helps. Good luck and just be cautious, use your head and nose and you might just find the dream RV you've been looking for, I hope we do!

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Purchase of a 2002 Phoenix Cruiser
by: Pete

We purchased a 14 year old Phoenix Cruiser with 38K miles on the odometer; a purchase which came within our budget.

Fortunate in that the seller (the second owner) had kept the RV in very good condition. We are now closing in on four thousand miles of use, and have experienced no significant problems. Some minor repairs which are easily handled with a basic tool kit.

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Used RV
by: Dave

Bought a 1997 Damon ultrasport 35ft 3 years age and absolutely love it. It had 28,000 miles and was is great condition. Bought it and drove 1300 miles home with no problems. Over the past 3 years gremlins have popped up and as I am good around automobiles and home construction nothing is too major. I usually improve the design and upgrade.

Wiring is horrible in RVs so I reconfigure more sensible wiring paths when possible. I paid 15k for mine and use it every 1-2 months with family. Advise to anyone looking for a used one is know what you are in for. Updating items such as tvs, faucets, lights, is going to be expected and with general repair knowledge around the house and doing things yourself is cheaper and fun. Good luck.

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Yes and No
by: Anonymous

I recently bought a 2010 (title), 2009 paint, and 2008 chassis date - short Class A. I got it about $20,000 below retail and expected to have to put cash in it. $1700 tires, originals were date code 1408; $1300 for alternator, chassis batteries, all fluids, filters, brakes and bearings checked out ok. Getting ready to replace roof air, and have replaced or repaired a dozen or so little items including coach battery - another $2000 total. I hope I can keep it a year and get my money back out or break even. It has been good handyman therapy, re-education on RV systems, and fun on the weekends.

I knew it might be a bigger money pit. My wife is a Hilton girl and didn't know how that would work. I expect to upgrade in a year and look forward to shopping for another "project" coach.

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I bought used
by: Anonymous

Well, I'm back from my trip and I had a great time in my used motor home. I read where the gas mileage for the V-10 was awful, but I have no complaint. I got between 10 and 11 miles per gallon and that is about the same as I got with my truck towing a trailer for the past few years. Before my trip I replaced the air filter, had a lube job and checked the tire pressure and checked all the fluids. One of the slide rooms gave me a problem until I read the Manuel and bought some silicone spray.

I would think a used motor home is a good buy if you do your home work.

Keep on camping.

Hubie

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Got Stung
by: Anonymous

1 1/2 yr. ago I bought an old 20 ft. Lindy on a ford chassis with a 460 FI and only 42,000 mi. It now has 42,025 mi. I am disabled and no longer able to do a vehicle inspection properly. The cost of an inspection was out of reach because of limited funds (you don't get rich on disability).

The "new" tires later found to be 10 years old, no coach battery so no testing the genny, (worked but no fuel line), a/c (didn't work) or fridge (didn't work).

Later found damaged wiring due to a probable blow out. Seller & his mother "swore" everything worked and since it was getting late (could only be viewed late evening) I rushed. The test drive was fine, it handled great although it did seem a little under powered for a 460. Wife said buy it so I did (she's the "boss" and in charge of the money).

On the way home the engine started blowing smoke and losing power. Barely made it home and when I went to park it, it died and never ran again. Had 8K in savings, paid $3800, towing to shop $120, replacement engine $3600. Tags, title, registration & insurance $200.Guy I ran across was putting bigger tires on his class c so sold me 4 really good tires for $100. Another guy I ran across from a parts store sold me his 2 RV batteries for #120.I'm now dead in the water.

Moral of the story... Buyer Beware!

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I bought used.
by: Anonymous

You guys are scaring me to death. I just bought an
eight year old class B+ and it looks wonderful.
New it would cost 89,000.00. Only has 22,000.00 miles and clean inside and out. I drove it about one hundred miles and everything worked and drove like new. I got it from CampingWorld
icon.

They were great to let me try it out and take it to
a friend to look at. I hope I can come back and tell you how wonderful my first camping trip is.

Wish me luck.

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Good way to see if you like it
by: Alan

Better to pay a few grand to get into it find out whether your rig will get used. To many drop bick bucks and the unit sits parked.

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what's wrong now?
by: Anonymous

I bought a 1991 fleet wood bounder r v ,a 40 footer last November 2014. I bought a new alternator,2 new heads,2new exhaust manifold ,a starter, regular,2 sylnoid switches,3 batteries, generator, all electrical work done. Now I have an electrical problem from the alternator to the switch. something is taking my starting battery down. I have never taken it on a trip. I am a retired person and been waiting for this moment. I can't move. What is my problem?

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Old Rv
by: Alan

We bought a 2000 Jamboree for $15,000.00
48000 miles.
So if you have some mechanical skills, electrical skills then one of these is a great deal.
Ours had some problems that we fixed ourselves, such as generator float was broken and got another on eBay for $4.00 its fixed. Water heater had debris to clean out. Had surflo pump leak replace hose clamp, front tires had high spot from sitting got new ones. Egr valve was dirty cleaned it.
Battery was bad replaced had to clean cables and battery box. So if you can do the things above YOURSELF. I would recommend older RV.
If you are unsure of how to fix it watch the You Tube videos many describe the repair in detail.
Our runs great now and with low gas prices we go on long trips.

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Your joy can be a nightmare
by: Dorothy

Bought a 1994 Gulf Stream Conquest, Class C. I had to drive from San Antonio Tx to Iowa to return home. These things happened.

1) Couldn't put fuel in the tank b/c dry rot prevented the gas from flowing from the gas nozzle opening down the tube to the tank. Hence gas all over the driveway at the gas station. They weren't very appreciative.

2) Several hundred miles down the road the seals blew in the transmission. Apparently they were dry rotted or simply dried out from not being driven. That was a major repair not to mention the tow bill.

3) Several more miles down the road the alternator completely died, another mechanic bill that had to be taken care of in a shop attached to another tow bill.

Since this was not set up to live in yet as it was just purchased, it also cost me considerable for motel bills for both of these breakdowns. I thought I was getting a great deal, it was set up like I wanted, it looked good, well mostly, but what you can't see, BUYER BEWARE is right. Unfortunately, I'm not sure if these are the things that an RV inspection would have even caught.

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Older high-end motorhomes
by: Claude J

In 2003 I bought a 1998 38ft Holiday Rambler Imperial with a cummins diesel and allison Trans. I believe that if the mechanicals are sound and if you do preventive maintenance, buy quality fuel, change your filters regularly and carry spares, you will reduce the nasty surprise factors.

Regardless what you buy plastic parts i.e. cabinet door locks, mouldings, etc tend to dry-up and break after 5-6 years. Get rid of carpets replace them with wood floors, purchase a good awning with Sunbrella and wash and wax it regularly.

My 6 batteries are almost 10 years old and still going strong, protect your electrical system with a good surge protector. I had a surge that cost me a new inverter, microwave, stereo receiver.

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Is it worth maintaining?
by: Anonymous

I bought a 17 year old class c Rv well knowing it's age. It sat idle for long periods of time in Arizona. I was able to buy it well under retail price. I was only going to use it, with little driving, in Arizona. When I decided to bring it home to Michigan I wasn't, surprised when I started to identify issues ( leaky transmission seals, dry rotted tires, bad brakes, etc. ). My wife and I discussed it and decided that since I really enjoy using it, even though she does not share my enthusiasm, and. I had less than its book value in it, it was worth spiffing it up and making it road worthy. I spent the time and money needed to bring it up to standards, and now I am not afraid to drive it anywhere. In December it is back to Arizona for two months including destinations along the way like Baton Rouge, LA, Houston,Tx, Austen, Tx, plus roadtrips around Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, etc. So I don't regret the money or time spent.

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Buyer Beware is a true statement.
by: Anonymous

Most of us look for the best deal. Lower mileage on a older RV means it probably wasn't moved much. Remember bodies at rest tend to stay at rest. On the other hand, Higher mileage might mean its used up. Buying a used Rv should be based on life style and not so much cost. If dependability is the desire, lots of investigation and the adage "Don't buy some else's misery" works well. Bottom line is, 'Know what you want, walk away from too good a deals and keep looking until you find what you want'.

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Comments Received On Facebook
by: RVing Al

Here are the comments we received on this topic on The Everything-About-RVing.com Facebook Fan Page.

Dick Reed: We found a used class c a couple of years ago with low mileage, and we absolutely love it. Had to do a little work on it, but it had been stored inside mostly all of it's life and still is. Here's the rub. We looked at over 200 of them to find it. Most people will spend $65,000 to $150,000 for a new rv and then let them sit outside and ruin. It takes at least 3 to 4 hours to do a decent inspection. There are good ones out there, but it may take some time to find them.

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