When veteran RVers were asked what advice they’d give newbies, their No. 1 tip was to avoid buying new, according to RVtravel.com. The reasons why included the need to experiment with RVing and to learn how RV systems work by repairing them.
Those are certainly good motivations, but they’re not the only ones, or even the most important. Let’s look at four benefits of buying a used RV.
1. Significant Cost Savings
Purchasing a gently used RV or an older one you want to refurbish can be much more affordable. We bought our used 2018 Jayco Pinnacle fifth wheel for $55,000 in 2019, nearly half the $100,317 listing price when the RV came off the production line a year earlier. That’s a huge savings.
That left money in our budget to obtain items that would help make our new RV our home. Transitioning from a sticks-and-bricks house to a home on wheels requires a lot of changes, including acquiring supplies to set it up the way you want.
2. Warranties Can Still Apply
We bought our rig from a small dealer whose owner found RVs in decent shape, purchased them, and fixed them up for resale. Although small, the dealer offered us a few warranty options, despite the unit being used.
A warranty would have covered anything major, such as our Lippert leveling system, the water heater, air conditioning units, slideout mechanisms, wastewater tanks and valves, indoor appliances, etc.
Planning to travel and not stay local, we didn’t find the warranty practical for our needs. To address any issues covered by the warranty would have required us to return to the dealer we purchased from. That would have meant if we encountered an issue while in the East, we’d have to jury-rig a fix until we could get back to the dealer in Arizona to get warranty-covered repairs.
We’ve had to take care of a few issues on our own but thankfully haven’t experienced any major problems. That’s another benefit of buying used: Any serious concerns should have already been found and addressed.
3. Fun in Learning
We knew the microwave in our rig could be used as a convection oven, but we had no idea how a convection oven works. Once we learned that a convection oven is similar to an air fryer, we decided we needed to investigate further.
After three years on the road, we finally consulted the microwave owner’s manual and made our first recipe in the convection oven: nice crispy chicken wings. Where was this feature all our lives?
4. Hidden Treasures
Buying our rig from a nontraditional Jayco seller meant a condensed walkthrough before taking ownership. That may sound like a shortcoming, but you can’t really expect someone not specialized in a certain RV dealer to know the intricacies of each make and model. We continually learn new things about our coach.
For example, we discovered we have an automatic, toe-kick dust pan as part of the central vac system. We can sweep floor debris to the front of the auto dust pan, flip it open with our toes to activate it, and it sucks in the contents. We didn’t know how that worked until some fellow RVer friends showed us theirs in action.
We also found out we have two gray wastewater tanks. Before purchasing our fifth wheel, we had owned a travel trailer that had a single gray tank and a single black tank. Naturally, we assumed our fifth wheel had the same. After all, we only saw a release valve for one of each in our control compartment.
It turns out that’s because the release lever for the other gray tank is located elsewhere, under the kitchen slideout. Who knew? We didn’t realize that until we hired a mobile RV repair tech to assess a tank issue we were experiencing.
It takes a village to help us be successful full-time RVers. We’re thankful for all the useful tips we receive along the way and hope we can pay it forward and impart some wisdom to others. Meanwhile, the treasure hunt continues.
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This is the travel blog of Bob and Lana Gates and our truck, Gulliver, and fifth wheel, Tagalong. We live on the road full time, enjoying all the adventures that come our way.