Buying a used travel trailer can be one of the best ways to get a fantastic towable RV for an extremely reasonable price. However, buyers need to be aware that they need to take extra precautions when purchasing a preowned unit.
Shopping for a used travel trailer means you could be getting a unit that has not been well taken care of. As with any RV, proper maintenance is key for keeping a unit nice. The first step you should take when buying any RV is to get as many maintenance records as possible. This will show you how well the previous owner took care of the unit. From there, you should look out for the following things.
Damaged Exterior Seals or Seams
Travel trailer’s commonly leak at the seals and seams. This means you need to make sure than any unit you’re considering has its seals and seams intact and in good condition. Look along the roof’s edge to see how the seal looks. Another good spot to look is right around the windows and doors.
If the seals look bad, there’s a chance that the unit has a leak or will in the near future. This is something you don’t want to deal with. If you spot issues, make a note of them and see if you can get those things fixed before you purchase.
Water Damage On the Exterior or Interior
In connection to bad seals and seams is water damage. On travel trailers with laminate sides, you should be able to spot water damage realatively easily. Water causes these sides to get a wavy or ripple look to them.
If they don’t have that, then you might notice a noise difference when tapping on the exterior of the RV. Water damaged areas will have a kind of dull tud noise if you tap on the side of the unit.
If you’re looking at a travel trailer with aluminum sides, then you should go inside and look at the walls and ceiling inside the unit. Again, you’re looking for wavy or rippled wall and ceiling material. Don’t be afraid to push on the walls and ceiling. If something feels soft, that’s a sign of water damage and you’ll likely want to avoid that unit.
Mold Inside the Unit
Mold can cause serious health problems and is a direct result in most cases of too much moisture or water damage due to a leak. Even if you didn’t notice any water damage on the outside or inside of the RV, if you see mold inside the unit, there could be a leak somewhere.
Make sure to look in small cracks and corners for mold. Look around the ceiling where the wall meets it and also around windows. If you see mold inside the unit, ask the seller or dealer about it and consider moving on to a different unit.
Damage to the Roof
Yep, you need to do an inspection of the roof. If you can, get up on the roof to really get a good look. If you’re not comfortable being on the roof, then you should at least get up on a ladder and try to see as much of the roof as possible.
Again, you’re looking for bad seals and seams. Also look for any obvious hail or storm damage. If anything doesn’t look right, ask the seller about it and think about maybe moving on to a different used camper.
Soft Spots in the Floor
Last, but certainly not least, check the floor of the unit. Walk around in all rooms or areas of the travel trailer. Look for any parts of the floor that feel like they give way when you walk on them. This could be the sign of rotting materials or water damage. If you notice any floor damage ask the seller about it and consider trying to find a different used camper.
Are you looking for a used travel trailer? Gander RV and Outdoors has some of the best used units out there. Check out our inventory.