Buying a used RV: Do your research

By: Max Taylor, Photography by: Susan and Keith Hall

How many people have paid a deposit for a van only to quickly regret it?

Buying a used RV: Do your research
Be prepared to walk away from any deal that doesn’t live up to expectations

Rather than approach a purchase in the clear-headed manner of someone who has done their homework, it’s all too easy to become swept up in the excitement of the occasion and listen to the sales pitch over your better judgement.

Certainly, the online dealership ad I responded to said nothing about rusted suspension. It said plenty, though, about the wonderful condition of the nine-year-old camper.

There was nothing fishy about the ad. The asking price was about right for the age and model of the camper. And on physical inspection, it seemed in good nick. At first.

But I’ve always believed that you can tell plenty about a van by looking at its underpinnings. And this camper’s told quite a story.

It looked as though the camper had spent the better part of its life on the beach. The springs and axle were in obvious need of replacement. But that would be just the start. Wheel bearings, handbrake cable, assorted U bolts and hose clamps... they all had to go. And in this case the rust had even affected the chassis.

The salesperson claimed no knowledge of the extensive rust, and nor did they seem too concerned. Said salesperson suggested the workshop guys might paint over the rust for me if I decided to buy the camper. And no, I didn’t go ahead with the sale.

My point is, don’t fall in love with a van at first sight. Get acquainted, by all means. But be prepared to walk away from any deal that doesn’t live up to expectations. It’s noble to overlook faults and foibles, but it’s sometimes better to play the field. So when you finally pay your deposit, it’ll be a confident decision backed by research.

Paint over rust? Geez!

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