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How to Buy a Used RV - Part 2

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Check the RV's Condition.

Sims says that when it comes to buying a pre-owned RV, its extremely important to assess its overall condition.

When youre buying a brand spanking new recreation vehicle, you can be sure you know what youre getting. Theres not a lot of guesswork involved. However, when it comes to buying used, you really need to put your inspection hat on and check it out from top to bottom.

Sims points out some of the things used RV buyers need to take into consideration, including mileage, wear and tear, the functionality of the RVs appliances and pumps, the overall condition of the exterior and interior finishes, the overall condition of the vehicles tires and wheels, the condition of its glass components (such as windshield, windows and mirrors), the functionality of the vehicles power options, and the condition of the vehicles carpets and upholstery when applicable.

Your best bet is to hire a certified mechanic or someone with expertise in recreation vehicles if youre inexperienced in the process, said Sims, and take that person along with you when you examine that pre-owned RV. Buying an RV is an expensive proposition (in most cases, the second largest purchase youll ever make behind your home), so for a few hundred dollars up-front, you could potentially save yourself thousands of dollars in costly repairs over the long haul.

Whats more, Sims says the used RV test drive is an extremely important part of the overall buying process.

As with any vehicle purchase, you need to get a feel for a recreation vehicles maneuverability, handling and power.

Similar to buying a brand new RV, Sims urges pre-owned RV buyers to pay attention to the overall length and maneuverability of a recreation vehicle during the test drive, since this is one of the most important considerations when owning it.

When an RV is over 38 feet, it will need to be maneuvered in pull-through spaces at campgrounds, says Sims. Whats more, any towing requirements, such as a tow dinghy, trailer or boat will also dictate the size of RV youll need to buy, and hence, how it performs. Depending on the type of RV, travel trailer, fifth wheel or motorhome, you need Sims suggests finding one with a greater turning radius if you plan to tow with it.

Finally, he says its important to pay attention to potential problems, such as engine noise, irregular exhaust emissions or other telltale signs of engine or mechanical failure.

If youre unsure about how to assess a recreation vehicle for potential engine or mechanical issues, solicit the help of a certified mechanic or a person with expertise in recreation vehicles. Take them along for the test drive to accurately assess potential problems, to help avoid costly repairs or overhauls in the future.

Negotiate the RV Deal.

Lastly, Sims says the art of negotiation goes a long way in netting a pre-owned RV buyer a recreation vehicle deal. Whatever your reason for bargaining (whether you believe the sellers asking price is over-inflated or whether you like knowing youre getting the best deal possible), Sims suggests the following tips to help buyers negotiate the used RV buying waters.

- Do your homework ahead of time. Once youve researched the vehicles retail value at, be sure to research what other similar vehicles with similar features are selling for in the marketplace.

- Set a realistic low offer as well as a high offer. Keep in mind your budget and price limitations when you enter the negotiation process and be firm about those limitations. Most sellers understand that negotiation is a large part of the pre-owned RV buying process and expect the buyer to adopt bargaining tactics before signing on the dotted line.

- Start by making your low offer first and expect the seller to counteroffer. Be prepared to work from your starting point, and to stop at your high offer to reach a selling price thats acceptable for both parties involved.

- Be patient during the negotiation process. Remember, be firm about your limitations and dont forget to be as realistic as possible about your budget. Only you know how much you can afford to spend for a used RV.

To learn about virtually every new and used RV on the market today visit for more information.

You may also want to read: Which RV is Right for You? -- How to Buy a New RV
Knowing How to Buy an RV Can Save You Thousands of Dollars

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