What to look for before buying a used motorhome?

What to look for before buying a used motorhome? – main image

Buying a motorhome is a bit like buying a house or an apartment, because we usually spend a lot of money for this purpose and we are supposed to enjoy it for many years. That is why we face a dilemma which model to choose and what to pay attention to, so as not to get a vehicle that we will not be completely satisfied with or whose bringing to a worthy state of use will cost us a lot of nerves, time and money. Below we present the basic information that is worth paying attention to when buying a second-hand vehicle.

If you are wondering if a given motorhome layout is right for you, check if there is any motorhome rental in your area - renting a motorhome before buying is a very good solution to check if the interior meets your needs.

General inspection of the motorhome before purchase

  • Check if there is any motorhome service or a regular car service in the area and then make an appointment with them for a general inspection, such as with any other motor vehicle.
  • It is worth driving to a place where it is possible to weigh the motorhome without any load. It will then know how many spare kilograms of cargo are left for passengers, water and luggage. It should be remembered that if the curb weight of the vehicle in the registration document differs significantly from the value on the scale, it is worth considering buying such a vehicle, as there may be problems during its registration, technical inspections or weight control on the road.
  • If the engine is already warm upon arrival, it may mean that the seller is trying to hide some defects.
  • After filling all water tanks, check that there are no leaks and that all devices (motorhome water pump, taps, shower, drains, drain systems) are working properly and that nothing is leaking from the gray water tank.
  • Check carefully whether the data in the documents agree with those on the vehicle (model, chassis number, year of manufacture, etc.).
  • The lack of any documented service history should increase our vigilance.
  • Check that the tire tread wears evenly. If this is not the case, it may indicate poor vehicle geometry, which in turn significantly affects driving safety.
  • Check the vehicle chassis for rust and for leaks from the steering or engine.

How to check the outer sheathing of the motorhome?

  • Check for damage or signs of repair. In the home garage, poorly carried out repairs can have fatal consequences.
  • What is the condition of sealing windows in the motorhome , roof, corners, ventilation holes, antenna outlet? Carefully check all joints for e.g. cracking of the sealant. Specialist motorhome services have devices that allow you to check the tightness of the cover.
  • Are the bodywork and undercarriage free of rust? It is possible that not all the sheathing is made of aluminum, for example, and will not rust anywhere, so you should bend down and look under the vehicle.
  • It is also worth checking the roof, if it is very dirty, it may be a sign of poor winter protection and damage to its tightness.

Inspection of the interior of the motorhome before buying "at a glance"

  • If, after entering the motorhome, you can smell any musty smell, you can be sure that the motorhome for sale is leaking somewhere or the owner did not take proper care of the vehicle.
  • You should check all nooks and crannies of the motorhome - especially its lower parts near the floor. Is there mold building up somewhere?
  • General condition of upholstery, hinges, cabinet locks, doors and windows.
  • Condition of vents, skylights, roof and wall windows. Is everything working properly?
  • Are there no visible stains on the walls, especially in the lower parts?
  • Make sure the floor of the motorhome is dry and hard. If it sags when walked on, the plywood may be rotten. This, in turn, can lead to high repair costs.
  • It is worth making an appointment to view the motorhome after heavy rainfall. Then you can check if there is a leak anywhere.
  • Carefully check if there are any traces of stains or replaced plywood or laminate in the vicinity of windows, ventilation openings, skylights, TV antenna outlets. For this purpose, it is best to press the walls or roof in this area and check whether it is rigid or not (the structure should be rigid).

What condition is the motorhome bathroom in?

  • Check the shower tray for cracks. It can be very expensive to repair or replace it.
  • Check the quality of seals on the joints of walls, walls with a shower tray, walls with a sink.
  • Check the condition of the walls. As previously described, check the condition of the walls around the windows. If the structure is not rigid, this may be a sign of framing damage due to leakage.
  • Check the condition of the floor. Is it swollen in any places due to leaks? Replacing the floor in the bathroom is quite an expensive and laborious affair, because everything has to be dismantled, sealed and rebuilt.
  • Check the operation of the toilet, sink, water taps and inlets.
  • Check the tightness of the water pipes.

Kitchen in the camper

  • Check the quality of the walls as in the case of the bathroom.
  • Check operation of water taps and drains.
  • Check the tightness of the water pipes.
  • Check the operation of the refrigerator (in each power system 12V, 230V and gas supply, if it has one).
  • Check the operation of the gas stove. Does the owner have any documents confirming the tightness?
  • Check the condition of the floor. Is the floor swollen in any places due to leaks? Replacing the floor in a motorhome is quite a costly and labor-intensive matter, because everything has to be dismantled, sealed and rebuilt.

Check additionally

  • Check the working condition of the boiler.
  • Check the operation of the water pump.
  • Check all electrical devices such as internal and external lights, contacts, fans are working properly.
  • Check parking and travel heating. Are all vents working?
  • Check the operation of the parking air conditioning in the motorhome .
  • Check the operation and quality of the awning.
  • Ask for a demonstration of filling water tanks, draining gray water and operating a chemical toilet.

Campervan test drive

  • When making an appointment for a test drive, it is worth asking if it will be possible to go for a 2-hour ride with a full load.
  • It is best to take the maximum number of people with whom you plan to go on a campervan trip. If the motorhome is adapted to transport a motorcycle, ask the seller about the possibility of loading it. In addition, it is worth filling the water tanks to the top. Only with the maximum possible load can you carefully check the motorhome's driving properties, and it is with this weight that you will go on trips
  • It is best to plan your route on different terrain: highways, mountainous and urban areas.
  • While driving, it is worth listening to make sure there is no knocking, knocking, vibration when braking, or the vehicle pulls to one side.
  • Ask passengers if there are any disturbing noises in the rear.

Buying a motorhome - what to look for in other respects?

In the above article, we have described what to look for when buying a used motorhome in terms of various technical surprises that can occur with a second-hand motorhome.

However, if you would like to know what to look for, generally when looking for a motorhome for yourself, in the article " Buying your first motorhome - a set of questions before buying " we have tried to collect various questions that you should answer yourself.


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