Used Campervan Buying Guide

buying used campervan or motorhome

What to check for when purchasing a used campervan, motorhome or RV for sale

Buying a used class B motorhome or campervan is a great way to save some cash. But before you drive off into the sunset on an adventure, first you have to buy one…

The thing is, brand new campervans and RVs can be expensive. While sometimes challenging, finding a quality pre-owned motorhome is possible.

A campervan or RV’s value depreciates greatly in the first few years of driving it off the lot. Used travel vehicles have often already endured depreciation, so finding one in good shape can save you lots of money. In addition, for those who love to travel, motorhome owners can end up saving thousands of dollars over many years by avoiding expensive airfare and lodging.

Much like purchasing a used car, a prospective pre-owned campervan buyer should have a list of questions they want to ask prior to speaking with a dealer. Here are some ideas to ensure you don’t end up with a motorhome that leaves you stranded in the middle of the highway:

What to Look for When Buying a Pre-Owned Campervan

Water damage

First and foremost, you’ll want to investigate potential water damage since this is one of the most difficult problems to resolve in an RV or motorhome.

  • Thoroughly examine all seals, including corners and edges where seams exist and sealants have been applied. This will help you identify where water can enter and cause damage.
  • Let your nose be your guide. If the campervan you’re looking at has a musky scent, be aware of possible mold issues.
  • Open all closets and cabinets, look for any visible mold, smells or water damage. Sometimes when cabinets and closets are warmer than the rest of the vehicle, mold can grow there.
  • Avoid buying a motorhome with visible brown spots. This indicates severe water damage.
  • Look for soft spots in the walls, flooring and roof.

Engine and transmission maintenance

Ask lots of questions about engine and transmission maintenance.

  • Check the engine and ask the owner about maintenance records.
  • Check the oil and if it smells burnt. Regardless if the oil looks clean, that burning smell is likely an indicator of an overheated engine.
  • Take the prospective motorhome for a test drive and listen for any ringing, rattling or abnormal sounds.
  • Ask for an inspection. A professional inspection can cost around $200, but potentially save you thousands of dollars down the road — not to mention a big headache.
  • When you move the campervan, check to see if any fluid stains are left on the ground. Carefully examine for any potential leaks.

General condition

Carefully evaluate the overall condition of the motorhome.

  • Closely examine the motorhome’s ceiling and walls. Look for any dings, scrapes loose trim, faded paint and other signs of wear and tear.
  • Try all the appliances. Does the refrigerator, microwave and TV work?
  • Check the tires. Tires older than 6 years may need to be replaced.

Vehicle price and value

Before you make an offer, do your research on the price to avoid paying too much above value. Kelly Blue Book and J.D. Power’s NADA Guides are great places to start.

Searching for your next campervan?

Classic Vans is California’s largest dealer of new and used motorhomes, conversion vans and wheelchair vans. For over 30 years, we’ve been family-owned and operated. The folks at Classic Vans specialize in providing customers with quality conversions and great prices.

Don’t live in California? No problem! Learn about our low-cost nationwide van delivery.

Contact us or continue exploring our site to find the best van or motorhome of your dreams today!