You Just Bought a Used RV: Where Should You Start?

7 March 2022
 Categories: , Blog


Buying a used RV is an excellent and affordable way to start hitting the open road and going on adventures with your family. However, RVs combine the best and worst aspects of both vehicles and homes. As a result, used models may have numerous problems, and you'll often need to address at least some of these issues before your first trip.

Unless you're sure your new-to-you RV is in pristine shape, you'll want to perform a thorough inspection and begin making a to-do list. Whatever your long-term plans happen to be, these three repairs should be at the top of your list before setting out on your inaugural adventure.

1. Water Damage

It's a hard fact of life: most RVs will leak sooner rather than later. If you're buying a used RV, there's a good chance it has one or more leaks already, or one or more leaks that the previous owner may have already repaired. You should check any areas where sealant is present, including windows, doors, utility holes for air conditioning or plumbing, and other openings.

Don't wait to repair any cracked, drying, or separating sealant that you find. You'll also want to inspect these areas for indications of existing water damage. Allowing water damage to spread can be much more costly than repairing it right away, and taking your RV on a trip without repairing leaky seals first can potentially lead to disaster.

2. Wheel Bearing Failures

Unlike most regular vehicles, RV bearings typically aren't maintenance-free. The bearings in your RV's wheels most likely require periodic repacking, and failure to keep up with this maintenance item can lead to significant problems. If you aren't sure about your used RV's maintenance history, the wheel bearings are an essential item to inspect.

Faulty wheel bearings typically produce grinding noises or noticeable vibrations. Listening for sounds while an assistant tows the trailer at low speed is an excellent way to check for potential problems. If you notice any issues, you'll want to focus on repairing the affected wheels as soon as you can to avoid becoming stranded on the side of the road or worse.

3. Air Conditioning System

If you bought your RV during the winter, you might not have been able to inspect the air conditioning system thoroughly. Before setting out for a summer trip, ensure that your RV's HVAC system works correctly and doesn't leak into the cabin. HVAC problems are a quick way to ruin an otherwise enjoyable vacation, especially over the hot summer months.

A good rule of thumb is to run the system for long enough to confirm that it can cool the cabin and that you don't hear anything unusual or notice any problematic behaviors. If you discover any issues, repairing them before you leave for your trip will help prevent you from sweating your summer vacation away; before setting out, it's a good idea to visit an RV repair mechanic.