Evaluating the Condition of Your RV

In a previous article on Vogel Talks RVing, we discussed five signs that now could be the time to trade up to a new RV.

2012 Newmar Dutch Star Diesel Pusher at Lake Osprey RV Resort on the Alabama Gulf Coast. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

2012 Newmar Dutch Star Diesel Pusher at Lake Osprey RV Resort on the Alabama Gulf Coast. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

In today’s post we discuss how to evaluate the condition of your current RV and some easy ways to prepare your RV for maximum return.

Appliances: All appliances should be clean and in proper operating condition. Gather any owner’s guides or instruction manuals.

Batteries: Battery compartments, connections, and wiring should be clean and free of oxidation and corrosion. Batteries should be properly charged.

Cabinetry: Cabinets should be free of damage, swelling, and water damage. All doors should open and close with minimal effort.

Ceiling: The entire ceiling should be examined for water damage caused by roof leakage. Look for staining and repair any leaks, if possible. Replace any cracked or broken vent covers.

Chassis: If possible, examine the bottom of your RV for corrosion and repair any visible rust. Storage compartments and holding tanks should also be inspected. Finally, be on the lookout for signs of fluid leakage, especially when it comes to brake lines.

A motorized and towable RV camping at Alamo Lake State Park, Arizona. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

A motorized and towable RV camping at Alamo Lake State Park, Arizona. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Cockpit: If it affects the driver or driving experience, it needs to work. Everything from power seats and mirrors to digital displays and windshield wipers should be fully operational.

Electrical Components: Check the condition of all visible wiring and make sure all interior and exterior lighting is functioning correctly.

Electronics: Depending on how your RV is equipped, all entertainment equipment, from TVs and audio systems to satellite dishes and Blu-ray/DVD players should be in proper working order.

Engine Compartment: Make sure your engine bay displays a clean appearance and that no wiring or hoses are loose or disconnected. Top off all fluids, replace worn out spark plugs, and check the condition of any belts or hoses.

Flooring: Check all floors for soft spots, which often indicate the presence of rotting wood underneath. If present, carpet should be removed and wood should be replaced.

Furniture: All furnishings, including mattresses, sofas, chairs, and tables should be clean and in solid working condition. If there is upholstery that is torn or stained, it should be replaced or repaired.

Heating & Cooling System: Heating and air conditioning systems must be in good running condition. If necessary, have your air conditioning unit recharged and make sure any leaks are addressed.

Paint: Start by washing your RV exterior and addressing any cosmetic damage as best as you can. If your paint appears dull, consider waxing it or paying someone to detail it for you.

Variety of RVs camping at Wine Ridge RV Resort, Pahrump, Nevada. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Variety of RVs camping at Wine Ridge RV Resort, Pahrump, Nevada. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Plumbing: All plumbing components should be functional and free of leaks. Items include your water holding tank, water heater, and faucets.

Roof: Rubber roofs should appear clean and white and clear of rips or peeling. If your roof is made of fiberglass, examine it for cracks and hail damage.

Service Compartment: If equipped, your RV’s service compartment should be clean and organized. Adjust any loose connections and make sure there are no foul odors present.

Slide Outs: All slide-outs should extend and retract smoothly and be free of leaks.

Walls: Check for signs of water leaks and ensure all walls are securely connected to your RV’s body.

Wheels & Tires: Wheels should be thoroughly cleaned and an attempt should be made to remove any rust spots. Examine tires for excessive wear and replace if necessary. RV tires usually age out before wearing out.

Windows: Windows should be thoroughly cleaned and any cracked or fogged glass should be replaced.

RVs camping at Seven Feathers RV Resort, Canyonville, Oregon. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

RVs camping at Seven Feathers RV Resort, Canyonville, Oregon. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Keep in mind that while it may not be possible to address your RV’s every defect, each broken appliance or worn out part has the potential to diminish your unit’s value come trade in time. One way to go about prioritizing areas in need of attention is to organize them into one of three categories:

  1. DIY Repairs: These are fixes you can make yourself for less than it would cost to have a professional do the job.
  2. Complex Repairs: These are tasks you can’t quite tackle on your own but want to address using your dealer’s service department as they have the potential to diminish your trade in value significantly.
  3. Untouchables: These are bigger jobs that would cost you more to complete than it would be worth, as the impact on your trade-in value would amount to less than the price of the repair.

Please Note: In future articles we’ll discuss some easy ways to prepare your RV for maximum return, ways to accurately determine your current rig’s actual value, and why it’s probably a better idea to trade your RV in rather than selling it yourself.

Worth Pondering…

The attraction of recreational vehicle travel is to see the country, visit new places, meet interesting people, and experience the freedom of the open road.

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