Questions to Ask Before Buying an RV

By Sam Lemna | January 5, 2023

There are a LOT of questions to ask before you buy an RV. First, you need to figure out what RV you want and your budget. Next, there are a lot of questions you should be asking about the RV you’re looking at, whether you’re buying new, used, from a dealership or privately. It’s okay if you don’t know the answer to every question, but the more the better. 

Questions to Ask Yourself Before Buying an RV 

Here are some questions to help you determine your budget and what type and size of RV you need before you buy it: 

  • What is your budget? 
  • Will you be financing your RV? 
  • Do you want to buy new or used? 
  • If considering a trailer, what is your vehicle’s tow rating? Can your vehicle safely tow the trailer you want? Do you need to upgrade your tow vehicle or consider a motorhome? 
  • What size (length) of rig are you comfortable driving? 
  • What type of RV do you want? 
  • What do you want to spend on fuel and other accessories? 
  • In what type of weather or time of year do you plan to camp? 
  • What type of camping will you be doing? Front country only, boondocking or a mix? 
  • How often do you plan to use your RV? 
  • Will the RV fit in the type of campsites you plan to go to? 
  • How many people do you need to sleep in your RV? 
  • What features are necessities, and which are nice-to-haves? 
  • Do you have any brand and/or model you like? 

It’s a good idea to look at online reviews of brands and models. You can also often view floor plans and pictures or you can visit a dealership that carries that brand to get a feel for it. If you’re not sure what type of RV to get, this article lays out the pros and cons of trailers and motorhomes. 

Questions to Ask a Seller Before Buying an RV 

There are endless questions you can ask a seller before buying an RV. Here are some of the most important ones to ask: 

  • What is the type of RV as well as the brand and model? 
  • What is the length of the RV? 
  • How many people can the RV sleep? 
  • Does it have all the necessary features you want? 
  • Are there any slides? If so, have there been any issues with them? Are they protected when out at all? 
  • Is there an awning? If so, is it electric or manual? What is the condition of the fabric? 
  • Is the exterior in good condition? Are there any leaks, cracks, chips, discoloration or other damage? 
  • Are there hydraulic levelers? 
  • Are the tires in good condition? How much tread is left? When were they last replaced? 
  • How much exterior storage is there and where is it? 
  • How many batteries does the RV have? How old are they? What is their voltage? Are they deep cycle? 
  • Does the RV have a power inverter? How is it turned on/off? 
  • Does the RV come with a generator? If yes, how many hours has it been used and how loud is it? 
  • If the RV has an engine, is it gas or diesel? What kind of engine and transmission does it have? 
  • How many kilometers has the RV been driven total? 
  • Where is the fuse box? Are all fuses working? 
  • Does the RV have an air conditioner? 
  • Does the RV have fans? 
  • How big are the potable, grey and black water tanks?  
  • Which appliances run on electricity, and which run on propane? 
  • Is a propane tank included? If yes, how big is it and how old is the tank? Can you provide a certified gas inspection certificate? 
  • What type of toilet does the RV have? 
  • Do windows and doors all open and close easily? Can they be secured? 
  • If it has a hitch, what has the RV been used to tow in the past? What is the towing capacity? 
  • What are typical maintenance items and expenses for this RV? 
  • Is there any existing damage to the RV? 
  • Are there manuals available for this RV? 
  • Has the RV ever been repaired? Has anything ever been replaced? 
  • Has the RV ever been involved in an accident or insurance claim? 
  • Will they allow a vehicle inspection? 
  • Where has the RV been kept when not in use? 
  • What is included in the sale of the RV? I.e. hoses, appliances, covers, tools, remotes, décor. 
  • If the RV is used: 
    • How many previous owners has this RV had? 
    • How was the RV previously cared for? 
    • How was the RV used? 
    • How was the RV stored? 
    • Were there any changes made to the RV? 
    • Did they have any pets or kids in the RV? 
    • Did they smoke in the RV? 
    • Is there a bill of sale from the previous owner? 
    • Why is the owner selling? 
    • Is the title clear on this RV? 
    • Are there any warranties or guarantees?  
  • If you are ordering a new unit: 
    • When is the expected delivery date? 
    • What is the date you can pick up your RV? 
    • What happens if something doesn’t work or you have issues? 
    • If purchasing from a dealership, do they offer financing? What are the rates and contract details? 

It’s a good idea to get an independent inspection of the RV, especially if you’re buying privately. You should also do a visual inspection yourself. Look for patches, repairs or any sign of damage such as puckering, discoloration, cracks, et cetera. You should also test that everything works, if at all possible. This includes appliances, heating, air conditioning, interior and exterior lights, toilet, shower, awning, slides, blinds and anything else.  

Once you’ve purchased your new RV, give us a call and we can help you get it insured. We can also give you an estimate for insurance costs before you buy – a great way to figure out how much your RV will cost each year. Best of luck shopping your for new RV!