RV Buying Checklist is a 'starter' for your own. Add or delete items to make it what you need.

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January 6, 2997

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A Checklist for Buying an RV

To determine the Recreation Vehicle that best fits your needs, your wants and your lifestyle, nothing can replace thorough research before buying a new or used RV.

Spend time researching different types of RVs, various makes and models and a variety of floor plans first-hand. RV shows let evaluate lots of RVs offered by several RV dealers in one location. That makes it easier to comparison shop.

After you've narrowed you search, work closely with an RV sales associate at the RV dealership to examine various features of the recreation vehicle you're interested in purchasing, including its creature comforts and living space design, its engine specifications (when applicable), its tow-ability (when applicable), and the ins-and-outs of its optional equipment, including exactly how the refrigerator, stove, awnings, toilets, water pumps and holding tanks work.

Of course the more RVs you compare the better chance you'll make the right decision. But it can get confusing and hard to remember which RV had what feature. The easiest way to keep it all straight is to use a RV buying checklist when inspecting each RV, make lots of notes and even take photos.

The check list below is meant to be a 'starter' for your own. You should add and delete items to make it your RV buying checklist.

RV Exterior

Check for / verify



_____ General Appearance - Are there dents, dings, scratches or stains? Fading paint?
_____ Are there rusted areas?
_____ Check for loose screws. If they won't tighten it may be a sign of dry-rot

Exterior compartments


_____ Are there locks on the compartments doors?
_____ General Appearance - Are there dents, dings, scratches or stains? Fading paint?
_____ Are they dry and clean, with no rusty areas?


_____ Does the awning open & close easy?
_____ Does the fabric/vinyl roll seem straight? No wrinkles etc.
_____ Is the fabric or/vinyl in good condition?
_____ Are the awning support arms straight and otherwise in good condition?


  _____ Check for punctures and cracks in roof seams. On rubber roofs a little chalking is okay as long as the rubber seems to be resilient.
_____ Check for loose screws on metal trim where the roof material meets the side wall.

RV Interior

Check for / verify



_____ Is it big enough?
_____ Are the toilet and vanity in good working order?
_____ Check the condition of the shower floor (make sure there's no cracks and step in to make sure to shower floor is firm).
_____ Is there an exhaust fan? Does it work?
_____ Is there a medicine cabinet?



_____ Check battery electrolyte level. A low level is a sign of neglect.
_____ Ask for the purchase date ( less than 2 yrs old is better) and check for condition.

Entry Door/s


_____ Is the door sound? No bulged panels or loose screws. No sign of water leaks.
_____ Check door hinges for excessive wear.
_____ Does the door close properly without slamming?
_____ Is there a deadbolt lock? does it work? Is there a Key?

Exhaust fans


_____ Do the overhead vent fans work?
_____ Does the stove vent fan work?



_____ Check the condition of all carpet and flooring.
_____ Check for soft spots on the floor (indicating water leaks).



_____ Start the furnace and be sure that it is working smoothly. Flame should not be too blue.
_____ Is the thermostat working properly?

Air conditioner   _____ Run the air conditioner for at least 15 minutes to make sure the air gets cold.

Holding tanks


_____ Add water and check for leaks. Check the fresh water and both gray and black waste water tanks.
_____ Are the dump valves working properly?
_____ Inspect the sewer hose and all seals.



_____ Is there enough storage?
_____ Is the kitchen table big enough?
_____ How clean is the chair / sofa?
_____ Is there a privacy door / curtain?
_____ Are the mattresses in good condition?
_____ Is there enough room for everybody to sleep?



_____ Check in cupboards for signs of previous water leaks.
_____ Look for warped or stained walls and ceiling - sure signs of previous water leaks.
_____ Check for "soft spots" around windows, vents and along the floor.
_____ Look under sinks for signs of previous water leaks.



_____ Are any of the light fixture covers damaged?
_____ Do the lights work properly?



_____ Are all cabinet and drawer latches working properly?



_____ Does the RV have and owner's manual?
_____ Are there separate manuals for the appliances and equipment?



_____ Does it work?
_____ Is it big enough?
_____ Is it easy to reach and use?



_____ Is the RV wired for a phone line? This may not be important but it may be nice if the RV will be lived in for a long period of time at the same place.

Propane (LPG)


_____ Check the hoses for cracks / damage.
_____ Inspect the LP tanks for damage / excessive rust.
_____ Check the dates to determine expiration. Portable LP cylinders must be re-certified at 12 years of age.

Rear ladder


_____ Check the condition of the ladder.



_____ Does it stay cold using both propane and electric?
_____ Is the freezer icy cold?
_____ It takes several hours for the refrigerator to get really cold but you should know after an hour if it's working.



_____ Look for water stains and sagging
_____ Is the ceiling clean and attractive.

Walls   _____ Check interior walls, bathroom, shower, closets, for firmness



_____ Are the oven and stovetop burners in good working condition?



_____ Is a TV included?
_____ Is there a working TV antenna?

_____ Is the RV wired for cable TV? Usually there is a TV connection in the living area and one in the bedroom on larger RVs.



_____ Check the tires for wear and cracking (sun damage). If the tires are over five years old they need to be replaced even if there is still tread on them.



_____ Is there a filter in the water inlet?
_____ Is the water pump working properly?
_____ Try all the water faucets
_____ Check for leaks around the water pump, water heater and under sinks

Water heater


_____ Is the water heater working properly?
_____ Is the tank big enough?



_____ Are there any items still under warranty?
_____ Are the warranty cards available?



_____ Are the window screens in good condition?
_____ Do the windows all open and close properly?

You may also want to read:

Malia lane book cover artMALIA LANE has a valuable new eBook titled MALIA'S RV CHECK-LIST. This book will simplify your planning and eliminate the possibility of missing an important step in an RVing task. Malia addresses all aspects of Pre-Delivery; to the Preparing for that First Step; to Getting In/Out of Campgrounds; to Hitching/Unhitching to Storage Procedures to Miscellaneous info plus, plus plus. Get more info on MALI'S RV CHECK-LIST - Instant Download - Cost $11.95

Les Doll's Used RV Buyer's Guide With this guide you will learn exactly what to look for and especially what to look out for when shopping for a used RV. The very best time to discover the faults of an RV is before you buy it! Click Here!

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