While there is no completely foolproof way to avoid a lemon when you are looking to buy an RV repossession for sale, a careful inspection of it goes a long way to saving you future headaches, expenses and hassles that come with owning one that is constantly breaking down and having a lot of problems.
A certified RV mechanic will be able to do the best job, but if time, logistics and/or cost make that unfeasible, then you can do a pretty good job on your own. Bringing along another person is also a smart idea. If they are knowledgeable about RVs that is great, but just having another set of eyes can mean spotting something you otherwise would have missed. Most lemons have warning signs that you can find before you make the purchase. Look for the following things.
1. Signs the RV has been flooded or otherwise experienced severe water damage. These include sagging ceilings, soft or squishy wall paneling, mold or mildew, dampness, musty smells, and water, mold or mildew stains. Water damage is pricey to repair and almost always is worse than it first seems. An engine that has been flooded by water will have significant issues. Unfortunately, some people buy flooded RVs cheap (especially after a hurricane or other extensive flooding) and then try to sell them in other parts of the country without revealing that they have experienced significant water damage. Look incorners, under seats and furniture, and along baseboards to find water damage when it is otherwise not obvious.
2. Indications of a major accident. Look for mismatched parts or paint shades as well as welding or other signs of significant bodywork. When an RV has been in a major accident, it may not work as well as it should or be as safe as you expect it to be. If the seller is upfront about it and has supporting paperwork to show what was damaged and how it was repaired, you may decide it is still worth it to purchase. However, if you suspect it was in a major accident, strongly consider buying something else that you don’t have to worry about as much.
3. An RV that has been lived in or heavily-used. If the RV repossession for sale you are looking at seems overly worn with lots of generator hours and mileage that is higher than you would expect, it was probably lived in for awhile. Sometimes an owner is facing such severe financial challenges that the RV was their home until it was repossessed or maybe that was the plan all along and some other financial challenge came up and the RV was taken back. Whatever the reason it happened, think twice about purchasing a motorhome that has been lived in because they frequently have more problems from that daily use. Also, look for signs like overly worn upholstery, broken appliances or parts, and general dirtiness that indicate the RV was not well-taken care of and was roughly used. Even with normal hours and mileage, these things can add up to an RV that needs a lot of expensive work soon after you buy it.
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* RV Repossession: 5 Ways to Avoid Repossession Before You Face It