Buying An Old Class C motorhome – Identifying A Lemon

Buying An Old Class C motorhome – Identifying A Lemon

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There are many things to take into account when buying an old or used Class C motorhome. You must know what to look for and what can go wrong so you don’t end up paying too much or buying a lemon. This article will discuss the main things you need to be aware of when you buy an old or used Class C motorhome.

A class c motorhome is a vehicle, which includes sleeping accommodations and cooking facilities in addition to the driving cab. A class c motor home has a separate driving compartment compared with other recreational vehicles like RVs, trailer homes, and fifthwheel trailers. The class c motorhome also has a larger living space when compared to the van conversion.

Things to Know before buying Class C Motorhome

When buying an old or used Class C motorhome, there are a few things you need to be aware of:

Always check the vehicle history report

This will tell you if the vehicle has any previous damages, accidents, or other issues.
The vehicle history report also tells you how many owners the class c motorhome had had and even when it was last serviced. This makes it easier to determine if the cheap class C motorhome is in good condition or not. For example, if there are too many owners, this could mean that something is wrong with the class c motorhome.

Avoid high mileage class C motorhomes

High mileage usually means that the engine, transmission and other parts need to be replaced soon after buying it. The used engines are still expensive for this type of vehicle, so make sure you know the right budget before offering a cheap class C motorhome.

Check for water damage

Water damage is a common issue with used RVs and can be expensive to repair. Make sure to check the ceilings, walls, flooring and any other areas that may have been affected by water.

Beware of hidden damages

It’s not always easy to see damages on an RV, especially if it’s been well maintained. However, there may be some hidden damages that you can’t see until you take the RV for a test drive. Ensure to check the roof, windows, doors, and any other areas that may be damaged.

Paperwork

Always make sure to get all the paperwork from the seller. If you don’t get the correct papers, it will be hard to register the motorhome. Make sure to get a clear title and all records of previous damages, repairs, and services carried out.

Check Appliances/Comforts

Depending on how much you plan on using your motorhome, you may want to check the appliances/comforts that are included. Ensure all the appliances work and that there is enough storage space for your needs.

Negotiating on prices

One of the best ways to get a good deal on a used Class C motorhome is to negotiate with the seller. Don’t let the seller know that you will buy it no matter what. Just be open to negotiations and see if they can give you a better price than you planned.

What should you pay attention to?

It is best to have a mechanic you trust inspect the vehicle, but if not possible, there are a few things you should pay attention to. Here are some of the main things that can go wrong with an older RV:

Water damage/moisture intrusion

Water damage is a common issue with any RV, several reasons can cause it, but the most common is rain. Many people don’t realize that water damage can happen inside the unit itself. If you leak one of your appliances, this could cause moisture intrusion and eventually lead to some expensive repairs.

Engine Issues

The class c engine can be one of the more expensive repairs that need to be done, so look at how many miles are on the engine and if the owner seems knowledgeable about how it runs. Make sure to get an oil change before you buy because doing this yourself is very expensive for this type of RV.

Transmission Issues

If the transmission fluid is black, it should be changed. Otherwise, there are other reasons to check for this problem. If you notice that the seller has done a lot of shifting while driving, there may be an issue with the transmission. Get all papers on how many owners and when it was last serviced.

Electrical Issues

One of the most common electrical issues is a battery that is not holding a charge. Ensure all the appliances and lights work before purchasing an RV and testing the charging system.

Plumbing Issues

The plumbing in an RV can be a major issue, especially if it has not been taken care of. Ensure all the faucets, toilets, and drainage systems for any leaks or blockages.

Roof Issues

If the roof has any leak, it can be very costly to repair. Ensure to check the roof for any signs of damage, including missing or cracked shingles.

What can go wrong?

RVs are a major purchase, and they can be expensive to repair or replace, so it’s important to know what you might face as an RV owner. Here are some of the more common issues with RVs:

  1. Gas Driven Appliances
    Gas driven appliances can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning as well as several fires, so any gas appliances must be working properly before you buy.
  2. Roof
    As mentioned before, the roof is one of the most common areas that can cause problems. If there is any damage, it will need to be fixed as soon as possible to prevent further damage.
  3. Water Leaks
    One of the most common problems with any RV is water leaks. They can quickly lead to other expensive repairs if they are not fixed.
  4. Electrical Problems
    Electrical problems can be a huge hassle and often require the expertise of a professional technician.
  5. Plumbing Issues
    Plumbing issues can cause many headaches if they are not taken care of right away. Leaks and blockages can quickly create a mess.
  6. Windows and Doors
    If the windows and doors don’t close properly, it cannot be easy to keep the RV warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

Are you paying the right price?

There is no definitive answer to this question, as the value of an RV can depend on various factors. However, there are a few things that you can look at to get an idea of how much depreciation has occurred.

How many miles are on the RV? The more miles, the more depreciation.
How old is the RV? The older the RV, the more it has depreciated.
The number of owners and how long they have owned it can also affect the purchase price.

With any used item, look at what comparable items are selling for and try to stay within that range. This will give you an idea of whether or not you are getting a good price.

Common issues with class c you need to know

1.A/C unit has a problem where repairs can be very expensive
the condensate trap needs to be emptied, which is a manual job.

  1. Slide-out problem where it has to be reworked entirely by a slide-out repair person
    slider motor goes bad from time to time
    slider seal replacement bill can cost as much as the RV cost new.
  2. If the RV has any water damage, it needs to be dried out
    water damage can be costly.
  3. The owner’s batteries are not replaceable and need to be replaced every few years.
    can be expensive
  4. Some class c’s have a problem with the chassis where it rusts out
    repair can be very expensive
  5. The front end of class c is very low and often gets damaged from hitting curbs. Repair cost can be high
  6. Windows are single pane and often break
    repair can be costly

Where to buy

There are several places to buy an RV, but the best place to start is usually with a dealer. They will have a variety of different models to choose from and they will often have financing options available. Another option is to contact a dealer and order an RV that has been discontinued.

Another idea is to buy from owners, as they might be willing to negotiate on the price. Online classifieds are also a good place to look for RVs and yard sales or auctions. Be cautious of any big lots with many RVs as these could be repo RVs.

Determining hidden damage/issues

Check for water damage
If there is any water damage, it will need to be fixed before you buy.

Look for electrical problems
Check all the outlets and see if they work. Turn on all the lights and make sure they are all working properly.

Check for plumbing issues
Turn on all the faucets and make sure the water pressure is good. Check for any leaks.

Look under the RV
Check for any signs of rust or damage.

Open and close all the doors and windows
Make sure they all open and close properly.

Take it for a test drive
Make sure all the lights and windows work while you’re driving.

Inspect the appliances
Make sure they are all working properly before you buy them.

Check for frame damage
You can do this by looking under the RV, knocking on the frame with a rubber mallet or using a stud finder to locate the metal frame.

Most RVs have a metal frame, but some late models can have an aluminum or plastic one. If you hear a high pitched sound when you tap on the frame with the mallet, it is likely steel and will need to be repaired/replaced if damaged.

When to buy?

Ideally, you want to buy an RV when the market is down so you can get a better deal. However, this is not always possible. Sometimes it is better to wait until you find the right one instead of settling for something that’s not exactly what you want.

How to figure out hidden damage/issues?

1. Check for water damage
If there is any water damage, it will need to be fixed before you buy.

2. Look for electrical problems
Check all the outlets and see if they work. Turn on all the lights and make sure they are all working properly.

3. Check for plumbing issues
Turn on all the faucets and make sure the water pressure is good. Check for any leaks.

4. Look under the RV
Check for any signs of rust or damage.

5. Open and close all the doors and windows
Make sure they all open and close properly.

6. Take it for a test drive
Make sure all the lights and windows work while you’re driving.

7. Inspect the appliances
Make sure they are all working properly before you buy them.

8. Check for frame damage
You can do this by looking under the RV, knocking on the frame with a rubber mallet, or using a stud finder to locate the metal frame.

Most RVs have a metal frame, but some late models can have an aluminum or plastic one. If you hear a high pitched sound when you tap on the frame with the mallet, it is likely steel and will need to be repaired/replaced if damaged.

Negotiating on the Price

When negotiating price, make sure you have a list of the issues with the RV. This will help them know that you are not making things up, making it easier for you to negotiate your price.

You should also bring someone with you who is knowledgeable about RVs to inspect everything properly. They may even point out some additional problems that could help you get a better deal.

Many sellers are willing to negotiate the price, especially if some repairs need to be made. It is important to remember that an RV is a big investment, and you don’t want to pay too much for one that has hidden damage.

Doing your research ahead of time and knowing what to look for will help you get the best deal on an old/used Class C motorhome.

Conclusion

Purchasing an old or used Class C motorhome can be a daunting task. However, if you know what to look for and are prepared to negotiate, you can find it perfect for your needs. Be sure to inspect all aspects of the RV before making your purchase and have a list of issues that need to be fixed. You can rest assured that you are getting a good deal on a quality motorhome by following these tips.

Karuna N

Karuna is a RV enthusiast who loves outdoors and passionate about writing about RV's and camping in general.
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