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Unused RV

Nerak from Ontario, Canada
(Buying an Older, but Never Used RV)

Hi! I am interested in buying an RV. I've found one that fits my price range and its size is perfect for my family & my vehicle. But, it is a 2007, "never been used." Should I be leery in such a purchase? I live in northern Canada and am hesitant because the owner said he had had it winterized, but then never used it. What kind of problems would one expect with an RV that had, "just sat in the yard" for four years?


Coleen, the RVing editor comments:

You may have just found yourself an excellent deal!

An RV ages, though, even when it just sits there. Here are some things to be aware of and check:

• Tires deteriorate with age. It helps if they have been covered. The date of manufacture is on each tire.

• Rubber roofs can deteriorate and start to leak.

• Pests may have invaded and caused damage in the living quarters and storage areas. And for motorhomes, in the engine compartment.

• Seals may have dried out so windows, vent covers, doors, valves, and slide-outs do not open and close properly.

• Fabric may be bleached by the sun if windows and vents were left uncovered. It's possible the fabric may look fine, but may be suffering from sun rot and will shred when used or washed.

• Batteries may have gone bad through age, phantom loads, or not being properly maintained.

• Generators, ideally, are exercised on a regular basis.

• Leaks and condensation can cause rot. Looks for signs of water spots or water damage.

• The warranty has likely expired. If there is a warranty still in effect, it may not transfer to the new owner.

• For motorhomes, there may be oxidation and degradation of the fuel and fluids. I would think you would want to change them.

These are things you'd likely want to check for on any used RV that you are considering for purchase.

A couple of additional thoughts.... While it may be an unused RV, it is still not a new RV. For your use, that may not make any difference. However, when you trade it in or sell it, the value will likely be based on the year of the RV, not the number of miles on it. And, if you should happen to want to stay in one of the RV parks that has age restrictions on the recreational vehicles it allows, those years sitting unused will count against you.

I'm not pointing these things out to discourage you from buying the unused RV you've found. On the contrary, I'd like to find such a deal myself. Just do some checking and be aware of what could be trouble spots and what things you may need to deal with or replace.

Good luck and let me know how it goes.

Go to the RV Life and Travel blog.

Comments for Unused RV

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Caution Needed Here!
by: Anonymous

Colleen makes a good point about the age of the rig counting against you when you re-sell. In fact, I'd go so far as to say the value of your "unused" coach is even less than that of a modestly used coach of the same vintage.

If truly unused, it's unlikely that all the "bugs" have been worked out under warranty or all the possible recall work done. The generator and fuel system can suffer greatly from just sitting unused for years (and cost a HEAP to repair).

Rather than rejoice because there are no spots on the carpet, I think I'd be looking for a steep discount over the the NADA value on this year's vintage.

Moderate use is actually good for the mechanical systems of an RV. Past a certain point (measuring in months rather than years), disuse becomes a serious drawback rather than a virtue.

This coach could be a great buy, but be sure it's a bargain as well.

Been There
by: Anonymous

We bought an older RV "hardly" used. Remember, hoses dry out, and rubber parts dry out. We had to replace so many parts that we are not sure it was worth it. Always something to replace. Also, tires. Dry rot. Fluids will need replaced because they break down. Things to think about.

2001 Montana
by: Dick W Thompson

I found my 2001 Montana in 2008. It was pulled to the man's house and set there until 2008 (never used, he didn't have a truck to pull it) when I bought it. I put new tires on it just to be safe.

The only problem I had was the water tank fell out from under it. This was not from sitting. It was a problem from the manufacture. I talked Keystone into replacing it.

Lucky me. My trailer was over $30,000.00 new and I paid $16,000.00 for it.

My advice is have them turn everything on to make sure it works. If it does, jump on it. It is like those guys that find a car in a barn. I hope this helps.

Used RV
by: Anonymous

We purchased a used RV 1998 Fleetwood bus from a dealer, which we are living in. We, too, had some problems. Batteries needed to be replaced while on our first trip out; make sure you check the water daily. Read your manuals and become familiar with your generator and inverter. Small items like light fixtures burned out and the oxidizer needed to be replaced. On the whole, we felt very lucky; it is well built and has had a minor repair occasionally.

We have not found any problems with parks, except for our length, which is 40'. A lot of parks handle smaller RVs. Get a campsite book, as it usually will tell you the length allowed.

Get yourself hooked up with an RV map. This helps a lot while traveling if you don't want to take the expressway. We like to venture off the main road and experience some of the scenic areas.

Older RV's
by: Lakota

I have a 1985 5th wheel. Yes, it's old. But if you keep it washed and waxed, vacuumed and dusted, etc., it will last as long as you want it to. The rubber seals around the windows and vents are easy maintenance. Use a little Vasaline on the rubber to keep them pliable. Open and close each window every month or so to keep them from seizing up. Change the tires every four years or 10,000 miles; they dry rot inside out, also. While doing so, grease the wheel bearings every 2500 miles, and adjust the brakes, if necessary. Before and after each trip, fill and flush the holding tanks, including the fresh water tank and add a cap full of bleach to the fresh water tank. For long term living, it's like a regular house. You take care of it and it will last you. I have lived in mine for 27 years and you would think, "No way!" if you looked inside. Everything has its place in storage, and the interior and exterior are like the day it rolled off the dealers lot. I did upgrade to solar panels for extended stays in no electric campgrounds.

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