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   Buying A Used Trailer Or RV
Your Used RV Checklist
By Paul Bender
President, RV America Insurance
Itís a home on wheels.
Keep that statement in mind as you begin your motor home or travel trailer buying project. Take a moment right now to inventory in your mind everything that needs fixing in your home right now. You might be imagining items as simple as a loose doorknob all the way to the intermittent problems youíre having with your heating and air conditioning system.
Now, add an engine and or wheels to the mix, and you have the idea Ė itís going to be a difficult to find the perfect used RV. You might have to settle for a few little problems, or decide to pay a few extra bucks for something thatís in pristine condition. There are a myriad of things that can go wrong with a travel trailer or motor home, so a careful pre-buy inspection is a must.
Here then, I offer a starter list of what to look for when purchasing a used motorhome or used travel trailer.
Your used RV checklist:
1. Check everything that relates to your propane system. RV fires do happen and many times theyíre the result of a neglected propane system. Check the tank, the hoses, and the regulator. I canít stress how important this is. You could be risking your investment, and your life if you overlook even the simplest of problems in this area.
2. Check the condition of the house batteries. The house batteries hold the charge that powers your lights and other items when youíre not connected to shore power. They can be expensive to replace, and there might be as many as six of them. Are they properly topped off with water, and do they hold a charge? These batteries are heavy so you really donít want to be doing this job yourself, and youíll have to take the cores back for your deposit.
3. Check to make sure the fridge works on both propane and electricity. It should automatically switch from electric to gas when you unplug your shore power. Repairs can be costly so run this little test before you finalize the purchase.
4. Absolutely check the furnace and air conditioning equipment. These can be expensive units to repair, and youíll want to ask for a little discount if these arenít working correctly.
5. Does the toilet hold water? If the RV has been sitting for a period of time the seal in the toilet will have dried out. Add a little water to the toilet and see if it holds water for more than 15 minutes. Keep in mind that the water in the toilet is what holds back the fumes trying to escape from the black water holding tank.
6. Check for soft spots in the flooring especially in the bathroom and kitchen areas. These could be symptoms of a much larger problem. The unit may have leaky supply pipes or drains that are causing the wood to rot.
7. Check the skin on the outside of the unit. Look for bubbles. Although cosmetic, youíre probably dealing with a corrosion issue. These can be resolved, but will involve removal of paint, treatment of the affected area, and repainting. Sounds expensive to me.
8. If it has a gas engine, then I highly recommend you carefully inspect the engine records. A good owner will have kept receipts of all engine maintenance. It would even behoove you to have the engine looked over by a trusted mechanic. What do you suppose it would cost to replace an engine?
9. Finally, do a THOROUGH walk-through. Open and close everything. Turn everything on and off. Be suspicious and take notes as you walk through the rig, and at least youíll go into the purchase with your head up.
Iíll leave you with one final thought. Youíll never find the perfect used travel trailer or RV, but you can minimize the hidden expenses by following the above guidelines.
Paul Bender
RV America Insurance Mktg., Inc.
Paul Bender is the founder and Co-owner of RV America Insurance Marketing, Inc. in Simi Valley, CA. RV America Insurance is the largest RV insurance agency in the nation, and has long been recognized as the leading provider of specialty RV insurance through RV dealerships nationwide. RV buyers rely on RV America's licensed agents to provide outstanding value and superior knowledge of RVs and RV specific insurance coverage.

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