Buying a New or Used RV - Which One is Right for You?

Let’s face it, buying an RV is a huge decision! For most, it is one of the largest purchases they will make. Whether you are buying new or used, there are pros and cons to each. Here are some tips to help you find the perfect RV.

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Pros of Purchasing New

Skip the surprises
A rig fresh off the lot has seen a lot less adventure (if any), so you can rest assured there are no looming surprises in your purchase.
Just the way you like it

There are many pros of buying a new RV– just like a new car: it’s clean, smells good, everything looks new, and there aren’t many miles on the odometer. In addition, you can have full customization of colors and add-ons which make it unique to you. 

Financing flexibility

Just like any other purchase, it is usually easier to get financing on a new RV. However, with current shortages be wary of those markups as it is a seller’s market vs buyers.

Protection with a warranty

The warranty is usually included in the purchase price which can save you money on potential repairs and problems. 

Cons of Purchasing New

More Expensive

Of course, purchasing a new rig is going to cost more than used. A new rig always seems more appealing but it’s always smart to stay in something you can afford long term.


Just like cars, you are going to take a big hit on the price just by purchasing it and driving it off the lot. As time goes on it is only going to decrease in value, not increase.

Surprising Repairs

The first two trips in your rig are generally testing runs. RVs are notorious for having problems right off the lot and warranty claims can be annoying!

Time and Money

When problems are discovered, there is always a time commitment and sometimes a money burden if your warranty does not cover the repair!

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Pros of Purchasing Used

Lower Priced

There are actually quite a few pros when purchasing a used RV. Oftentimes, they are priced much lower and if the previous owners took good care, it can feel like new!

No Break-In Period

If the previous owner used the rig frequently, they will have found solutions to things that were problems when first purchased. This saves you potential worry, money, and time.

Extended Warranty Available

An extended warranty is often available for purchase, this can save money on future repairs or any problems you might run into.

Larger Selection

There is usually a larger selection of rigs to choose from when purchasing used.

Included Add-Ons From Previous Owner

When buying from someone that used their rig, there will be add-ons that they’ve purchased that will be included in the price. These are items they deemed as ‘essentials’ and will be useful. If you are lucky, that will include an RVLock Keyless handle!

If Your Camper or RV has an Existing RVLock Keyless Handle installed

Make sure that you reset the code, it is a very simple process. First, open your door to see the back portion of your RVLock handle. Press the button that says ‘Code Reset’ with a pen and press ‘1234 lock’ and make sure it operates. Next, press down the #8 button, then while holding the 8 press the “LOCK” button and release at the same time. Now press ‘1-2-3-4, LOCK’, then ‘(Your NEW code), LOCK’, and again ‘(Your NEW code), LOCK’. Give it a test and make sure it is operating with your new code. Make sure there are new and functioning batteries inside your RVLock before resetting the code.

Con’s of Purchasing Used

Purchasing Potential Problems

When buying a used RV you could be buying a potential problem if it was not maintained well by the previous owner.

Hidden Damages and Smells

There could be hidden damages, allergens, and smells within the rig. These things probably will not be found until later.

Difficulty Finding Replacement Parts

Depending on the year of the RV, it could be difficult to find replacement parts. This could end up being a problem if something breaks and is unable to be fixed because the parts cannot be found.

Potential Scams

Be cautious while purchasing from private parties as you could easily be scammed. Ask for as many details as possible and use good judgment to prevent scamming.

Difficult to Get Financing

It can be trickier to get approved for financing on a used rig rather than a new one.

Tips for Purchasing an RV

Whether you decide on new or used, it is a great idea to get a pre-delivery inspection by a professional to ensure everything is as you expect it to be. It is also smart to invest in an extended warranty for RVs to protect you from any expensive problems. 

Most RV dealerships will sell both new and used RVs from many brands. Smaller RV brands are only available to purchase directly from the manufacturer as they produce them in smaller volumes. Do your research to know where it is best to purchase from. Buying directly from a manufacturer will have an added cost of travel or you will need to pay for it to be delivered. When RVs are in high demand you can expect a high wait time, often 6 to 9 months, before you will receive your custom-ordered RV.

If you decide to purchase a used RV from a private party make sure it isn’t a scam. Newspaper ads, Craigslist, and dedicated platforms (RVTrader or RVT) can be very useful for finding better-priced RVs but beware of scammers. Verifying all information and doing some research should help you to prove it is legitimate. 

It is common to find lower mileage on motorized RVs, but don’t forget that it is important to the reliability of the RV that it is driven and exercised often. A good balance of miles can get you a good deal while still ensuring your motorized rig will function at its best ability. 

Purchasing a new rig is exciting but to avoid expensive mistakes, do your research! Researching will help you get a rig that fits your lifestyle at a fair price. The RV lifestyle is the best lifestyle, whether you purchased a new or used RV. Make sure your rig is perfect for you, your intended travel experiences, and your budget. 

See you on the road! 

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