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Is Mileage or Age More Important When Buying a Used RV?

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I would consider above 100,000 miles to be too much. If the RV is often used then it won’t be much of a surprise if it reaches that milestone in a few years.

When it reaches that mileage, it would be time to be thinking of buying a new one. They last about 15 years.


How to Buy an Older RV

You can never be sure the things that all the older RV has gone through. As a result, better be sure that the RV is in great condition even if it is a bit old. The best thing to do would be to bring a mechanic over to wherever you are planning to buy an RV so that the vehicle can be properly inspected.

It is true how the mechanic will find a few things that will need to be fixed in the future. When that happens, you can haggle for a lower price but it remains to be seen if the seller would want that to happen.

After buying the used RV, better take it to the nearest repair shop in order to have everything checked. It won’t be long before you would feel like you brought a brand new RV.

You may need to give the car mechanics their fees but it would be totally worth it since this is their field. You would feel pretty confident knowing you got an RV at such a good deal. They could even give you tips for it to last a lot longer than you originally thought.

I decided to embark on the quest to find the perfect used RV for my cross-country adventures. It was a journey marked by excitement, anticipation, and a fair bit of patience as I scoured listings, visited dealerships, and inspected potential homes-on-wheels.

One sunny Saturday morning, I set out with a thermos of coffee and a checklist of must-haves. I was looking for something not too large, ideally around 24 feet in length, to ensure ease of maneuverability on winding roads and in tight camp spots. I also wanted a reliable engine with reasonable mileage, a well-kept interior, and, if possible, a slide-out section to maximize living space when parked.

My first stop was a local dealership where I was greeted by rows of gleaming RVs, each promising adventure. I was drawn to a Class C model, its beige exterior decorated with swirls of burgundy and gold. It had a Ford chassis and an odometer that read just over 50,000 miles, which seemed promising. Inside, the space was cozy but well-organized, with a queen-size bed tucked in the back, a compact kitchenette, and a dinette that converted into an extra sleeping area. However, upon closer inspection, I noticed signs of wear and potential water damage—a red flag for any RV.

Undeterred, I continued my search, visiting private sellers and scouring online marketplaces. I encountered a variety of RVs, from vintage models with charming retro interiors to more modern units boasting sleek designs and updated amenities. I measured, I inspected, I test-drove. I climbed onto roofs to check for leaks, tested appliances, and lay on beds to assess their comfort.

Finally, my persistence paid off. I stumbled upon a listing for a 22-foot Class B motorhome that seemed to tick all the boxes. It was a 2015 model with just 30,000 miles on it. The exterior was a classic white with blue accents, and it had a V6 engine that promised both power and fuel efficiency.

When I arrived to see it in person, the RV was even better than I’d hoped. The interior was immaculate, with light wood cabinetry and a cream-colored upholstery that gave it an airy feel. It didn’t have a slide-out, but the clever layout made it feel spacious.


Are High Mileage Vehicles a Good Investment

The answer would depend on the age of the vehicle. If it is just less than five years old and has lots of mileage then it would be a great investment especially if it is still in good condition. Believe it or not, RVs are not financial investments but it is a lifestyle investment. It can be a good one when you are great at making it look good both interior and exterior.

After all, if you are not using it then you can always have it rented out. While it is true that you will spend a lot of money for the RV at first, you are going to save a lot of money in the long run. Imagine not being able to worry about all the bills that come with owning a house.


Terms to know:

Actual means the odometer reading is true.

Exceeds mechanical limit means it has rolled over 100k miles or more so there is no way to measure if it is 100k or 200k or 300k.

Exempt means that it is not needed.

Not actual means the odometer reading is not accurate, faulty, or not functioning.

Here are some tips for traveling the country from coast to coast.



How Many Years Do They Last

An RV could last as long as 20 years or 200,000 miles whichever comes first. The miles will surely come first if it is often used. There is actually nothing wrong with that since you paid for it so you have all the right to use it as many times as you want. In addition, be sure that it is properly maintained so that you won’t be encountering any problems with it while you are on the go.

The longer you have an RV, the more you can make new friends. When you take the RV to the campground, you will be surprised at the number of RV owners who are there. Add that to the fact that your pets will feel pretty comfortable when joining you at the RV trip.

The old RV can even be used as an extra space for your home. For example, if you need a quiet place to do some work but the house is a bit noisy then you can do it in your home.


How Many Miles Do They Last

An RV usually lasts 200,000 miles. Of course, that would still depend on a variety of factors including how well you take care of it. It may last a lot less if you don’t have it checked by experts every now and then.

Since the RV is one of your prized possessions, you must do everything in your power to take good care of it. The last thing you would want to happen is for it to break down after using it for only a few years. When that happens, you would have no choice but to blame yourself.


Compare to Cars

RVs are pretty expensive and require more maintenance compared to cars. If you don’t mind the extra work, you will no doubt enjoy the fact that RVs are pretty spacious. Besides, that will let you save a lot of money when you go on vacation.

There would be no need to worry about accommodations and flights. After all, you already have a place where you would sleep and travel at the same time. An RV would give you a change of scenery when you need it.

If there are travel restrictions in your place, it may not be that long before you can travel again. It is all about versatility with your old RV as you can choose to extend your stay at wherever you are without paying more for accommodation.

Add that to the fact that it would be awesome accomplishing two things at the same time because you can watch a move at the RV while still traveling to a far destination.



Buying a used RV

  1. Diesel vs. Gasoline Engines: Diesel engines are generally more durable and have a longer lifespan compared to gasoline engines. A diesel RV with 100,000 miles might still have plenty of life left, whereas a gasoline RV with the same mileage might be nearing the end of its engine life. It’s essential to research the specific engine model in the RV you’re considering, as some engines may have better reliability and longevity than others.
  2. Average Mileage: RVs, on average, are driven fewer miles per year compared to other vehicles. A typical annual mileage for an RV ranges from 5,000 to 10,000 miles. When looking at a used RV, divide the total mileage by the age of the vehicle to determine if it falls within this range. Keep in mind that extremely low mileage can also be a red flag, as it may indicate that the RV has been sitting unused for extended periods, which can lead to mechanical and maintenance issues.
  3. Maintenance Records: A well-maintained RV with higher mileage can be a better investment than a poorly maintained RV with lower mileage. Request maintenance records from the seller to gauge how well the RV has been cared for. Look for consistent oil changes, fluid replacements, and other preventative maintenance, as well as any significant repairs or replacements.
  4. Overall Condition: Mileage is just one factor to consider when assessing a used RV. It’s crucial to examine the vehicle’s overall condition, including the exterior, interior, appliances, and systems. Look for signs of water damage, rust, and excessive wear and tear, which may indicate poor maintenance or underlying issues.
  5. Test Drive and Inspection: Take the RV for a test drive to get a feel for its performance and handling. Listen for any unusual noises or vibrations, and pay attention to the brakes, steering, and transmission. It’s also a good idea to have a qualified RV technician or mechanic inspect the vehicle before purchase, as they can identify potential issues that may not be apparent during a visual inspection or test drive.


RV Depreciation

  1. New vs. Used RVs: New RVs typically experience the most significant depreciation during the first few years of ownership. It’s common for a new RV to lose around 25% of its value within the first year, and the rate may continue to be high for the next couple of years. After that, depreciation tends to slow down. Used RVs, on the other hand, have already experienced much of their initial depreciation, making them a more affordable option for those concerned about depreciation.
  2. Type of RV: The rate of depreciation can vary depending on the type of RV. Generally, motorized RVs (Class A, B, and C motorhomes) depreciate at a faster rate than towable RVs (travel trailers and fifth wheels). This is partly because motorized RVs have more complex mechanical components that can wear out over time, while towable RVs rely on a separate tow vehicle for propulsion.
  3. Brand and Quality: Some RV brands and models are known for their higher quality, durability, and resale value, which can result in slower depreciation rates. Research the reputation and reviews of the specific RV you are considering, as well as its resale value, to get an idea of how it might depreciate over time.
  4. Maintenance and Condition: The condition of an RV can significantly impact its depreciation rate. A well-maintained RV with regular service and upkeep will likely hold its value better than a poorly maintained one. Factors such as water damage, excessive wear and tear, and mechanical issues can contribute to faster depreciation.
  5. Market Demand: The RV market’s demand can also influence depreciation. In periods of high demand, RV values may hold steadier or even increase slightly, while during times of lower demand, depreciation rates may be higher.