You can save a lot of money by buying a used recreational vehicle (RV) rather than a new one. But when looking at used RVs, you need to have a working knowledge of common problems seen in these vehicles. Some problems are hard and expensive to fix while others are rather easy to fix and should not stop you from buying an RV that is in otherwise good condition.
If an RV is not starting, try jumping it. If it starts after the jump, the problem is likely with the battery. A faulty battery should not stop you from buying an RV because you can just buy a new battery for a few hundred dollars. See if you can arrange to try the RV with a new or different battery before you buy it just to ensure the problem truly is the battery.
Worn and Dry Rotted Tires
A lot of used RVs end up with dry, rotted tires because the vehicles have sat still for a while before the owner decided to sell. While you cannot drive safely on dry, rotted tires, you can simply replace them and have a safe RV again. See if the seller will take the cost of the tires off the original asking price. You can even buy new tires and bring them to the RV, installing them before you drive away.
Worn tires are not good news, either, but you can at least drive the RV back home with moderately worn tires and then replace them once you arrive.
Loose Caulk and Roof Seals
Always take a climb up onto the RV roof before you purchase it. If the caulk along the roof seams looks loose or appears to be peeling, it needs to be replaced to prevent leaks. If there is not already a lot of water damage inside, you should not let this stop you from buying the RV. You can pull off the old caulk and replace it with new caulk within an afternoon.
If the interior lights are flickering or do not quite work, there is often just a short somewhere in the wiring. While it can be a bit time consuming to experiment with every switch and see which one needs re-wiring, the actual supplies to fix RV wiring are very inexpensive—and almost all wiring problems can be fixed within a day or two.
If you're unsure if a problem should prevent you from buying a specific used RV, consult an RV repair service for more information.