What to Look For When Buying a Used Motorhome
Check the seller:
Most motorhome dealerships selling second-hand motorhomes are specialists and are often more reputable than private sellers. Check the dealer’s reviews on Google, this is often a good indication of their reputation and aftersales care. If you are buying from a private seller, make sure you ask for their full name and address. Remember, “buyer be aware” your recourse should anything go wrong is extremely limited when buying from a private seller. In both cases consider a third-party inspection for both the base vehicle (RAC or AA) and the habitation area (mobile HAB check technician).
Look for damp:
Damp is one of the most common problems with second-hand motorhomes. Check for any signs of dampness on the walls, ceiling or floor. If there is any sign of damp or moisture damage in the habitation area, walk away. It could be an indication of a whole heap of trouble.
Check doors and windows:
Make sure all doors and windows open and close properly. Check that all locks and hinges work properly and that there are no signs of damage or wear and tear.
Examine the chassis, wheels and engine:
Check for any signs of rust or damage on the chassis, wheels and engine. This is where a third-party check will benefit. Make sure that the tyres are in good condition and that they have plenty of tread left. Check the tyre date and if they are the right tyres for a motorhome. Unscrupulous dealers have been known to fit regular car tyres to a motorhome to sell them or to get an MOT.
Some motorhomes are not fitted with a spare wheel so you will need to address this as changing a wheel is far quicker and cheaper than having a company come to you and repair it or supply a new one.
Ensure the gas and electrics are in good condition:
Check that all gas appliances are working properly and that the electrics are in good condition. Turn on the heating and hot water to ensure they are working correctly on both mains and gas. Make sure that all lights work properly and that there are no signs of damage or wear and tear on any of the electrical components.
Check the water system:
Make sure that the water system is in good condition and that there are no leaks or signs of damage especially in the cupboards where the pipes run and around the water heater. Turn on all taps and check that the water flows freely.
Check the toilet:
Make sure that the toilet is in good condition and that it works properly. Flush the toilet several times to make sure that it works properly and that there are no leaks or signs of damage. Remove and replace the toilet cassette a few times to ensure the mechanism is working.
Check the kitchen appliances:
Make sure that all kitchen appliances are working properly, including the fridge, oven, hob and microwave (if applicable). Ask about the fridge vents, keeping these clean of dust and debris will help to ensure that your fridge is running efficiently.
Check for any signs of wear and tear:
Look for any signs of wear and tear on the interior of the motorhome, including upholstery, carpets, curtains, blinds and fly screens. Also, look at the floor, check the floor, Motorhome floors tend to go spongy or creek if they have suffered water damage. Check the shower and sink, and make sure they have no cracks and the seals are in good condition.
The wastewater (grey wastewater) drain on some motorhomes is in an exposed position and can move around due to vibration which can affect the pipe connection to the waste water tank.
A motorhome with a file full of receipts and appliance user manuals is often a good sign the vehicle has been looked after.
Where possible take a look at the roof, this again is another sign that the previous motorhome owner has looked after it
Check the external panels to make sure they are fitting properly, especially the rear bumpers and around the corners. These are vulnerable points and can be quite costly to repair.
Getting the motorhome an up-to-date MOT can be a good way of checking the standard of the base vehicle. Some branches of Halfords can do a Class 7 MOT for vehicles 3000kg to 3500kg. You will need to call your nearest Halfords and book a time slot.
Check the condition and test the leisure battery, This is often ignored and is only looked at when it fails and you can guarantee that will be when you are parked up and need it the most.
Take photos or videos on the handover. You will be told a load of information about you new to you motorhome and using these for later reference is invaluable and will prevent asking the dealer/seller at a later date.
Check the external slide-out drawers (if fitted), by nature of their position they are exposed to dirt and grit being thrown up by the tyres and this will lead to stiff or rough movement and in some cases prevent the drawer from being opened.
Check that all the cushions are present for the pull-out bed and you know how to assemble them (comically known as motorhome tetress), missing cushions will render the pull-out bed useless.
Don’t be afraid to point out things that you don’t think are right. It is far better to address any issues rather than problems occur when you are out on the road.
The information provided is for reference and is based on personal experience, buyers must use their own caution when buying a second-hand used vehicle.
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