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New or Used debate

Rick and Michele

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First to start off sorry if any of these are repeats from others or consider silly questions  however, hit me with all your comments as the more I get the more I can evaluate and use to my advantage.

I have read many forums and articles of new vs used and I have some questions:

1. If you purchase used, even with a great RV inspection you have no idea if the previous owner actually did any PM on the rig, e.g exercising the genset. Has anyone purchased used and immediately had to spend boo koo bucks on generator replacement?

2. If you purcahsed used how easy was it to get an extended warranty?  I would imagine the warranty company would have the same thoughts as I do in #1 and would put a disclaimer that you have to have the warranty so long before use. Also does any extended warranty cover items such as generators, tank less water heaters, etc.?

3.  What is the general consensus on buying a new/used from a nationwide dealer such as Lazy Days or General RV so that you could use their respective facilities if you are near one?

4. Give me your best used vs new experience, especially if you have lived it yourself and not repeating a horror story we have all heard and read about.  I like to read them all but would like some good in depth information from some folks that have the first hand experience.

5.  If you purchase used would you within a rather quick time period have the roof done with something like the RV Armor coatings?

6.  Do any of the dealers allow you to have the RV inspected via a third party prior to signing?

Thanks all we hope all are having safe travels,

Rick and Michele


Richard and Michele

2021 Coachmen Leprechaun 311FS



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We have never bought used but we almost did so I am only qualified to answer #6. PPL Motorhomes in Houston will, by appointment, bring the rig to their front lot for your inspector to go over it. It turned out that rig had a safety recall that had never been done. I found the recall notice on page 6 of a Google search for that model of rig. Even if you have a professional inspector they can miss something that should have been done several years ago so do your own due diligence as well as evaluating what your inspector finds.

Linda Sand

Blog: http://sandcastle.sandsys.org/

Former Rigs: Liesure Travel van, Winnebago View 24H, Winnebago Journey 34Y, Sportsmobile Sprinter conversion van

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We have bought new and used over the years.  The one new 5er had some problems, mostly minor and were repaired under warranty.  Most of the used RV's had minor problems that I repaired.  The new RV's cost more and when sold more was lost.  The only way I would buy new again is if I was sure we would keep it for years and we weren't able to find a quality used one for a reasonable price.  I can usually do my own repairs so that is part of my logic.


2001 Volvo VNL 42 Cummins ISX Autoshift

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If you purchase a new rig google the names of the most favorable dealers for that manufacturer. Tiffin owners have 3 particular dealers they like, same for Newmar. You can go on the owners forums and find the names of those dealers. They give the best discounts for a new rig. Buying used you have to shop around and find the rig at any dealer and do your best negotiating a price. As far as warranty. When I bought my Class A I got an extended warranty and it was in effect Immediately. I was lucky I got it because even tho the rig was only 11/2 years old and only 5,600 miles it had sat awhile,the original owner died and the widow was selling. I got new tires and batteries on my dime but within the first 6 months all 3 air conditioners went out. My extended warranty paid for most of the cost for replacement. If the seller won’t let you get an independent third party inspection walk away. There are plenty of other rigs available for sale. 

2015 Itasca Ellipse 42QD

2017 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon Hard Rock Edition

2021 Harley Street Glide Special 


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First fifthwheel was a used Jayco Designer.  GREAT coach.  Had a couple issues I fixed on my own or paid someone to fix.  

Bought a new 2014 Heartland Cyclone and dumped that dog after less than a year.  So many issues, it spent more time at a repair facility than on the road.

Bought a new Lifestyle Alfa Gold and had a few problems, including one leaking slide that was repaired under warranty.  But not really repaired, so I ended up paying to fix it again after the company went out of business.  Didn't fix it, so I added a $500 slide topper and that solved the leak, but didn't really fix it.  BTW, LOVE the coach.

To summarize, new or used, you could have to spend boo koo money on repairs.  And you never know when a manufacturer might go out of business.

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I have owned some type of RV almost all of the time since 1972. I have bought 7 RVs over the years, 4 used and 3 new. Let me say first of all that most people will be biased based upon their own experience and so all of the answers that you get will probably be biased in some way. And that includes what I suggest. 

When you talk of buying used Rv's, how used are you thinking of? There is far more risk in buying an RV that is 5 years old than to buy one 2 years or less. If you buy one 10 years old it goes even higher, but so too does the benefit of buying used if you do get a good one. For example, the people who bought our 14 year old, gas powered class A that we lived in for 12 years paid about 12% of the original MSRP for a very well maintained RV. They stayed in touch for the entire 4 years that they owned it so I know that they did well. The older the RV, the more important having a professional inspection done before you buy.

1) I do not know anyone who had to get a generator replaced but I do know someone who bought a 3 year old diesel pusher that required a participial engine replaced after about 2 years. He did have an extended warranty and recouped the entire cost of it in one repair.

2) Extended warranty sellers do not usually concern themselves about new or used, but nearly all of them do refuse to sell and extended warranty on anything more than 10 years old and the price of such contracts does increase with the age of the RV. They realize that the amount cost of expected repairs per year increases with the age of the RV under most circumstances and for that reason the cost per year does also. 

3) I see no value in any dealership relationship, unless you expect to be in the location of that particular one. In most cases of warranty work it is for an appliance that can be serviced under the appliance warranty by nearly all certified RV repair facilities. For engines and transmissions and most chassis repairs, you will be going to the shop of Ford, Cat., Cummins, or some truck shop and not an RV shop. Extended warranties do not tie to any dealership of brand name. 

4) I have purchased 3 RVs new from a dealership, 1 used from a dealership, and 2 used from private sellers. I have never had even one bad purchase related incident, but I also have never bought an RV without some knowledgeable help. I started small with no appliances, then with a stove, water pump, & refrigerator, then to one that was self-contained. I have a background in electrical/mechanical repair and so I learned about things as I went and did nearly all of my own repairs other than chassis related ones. I also looked and more than 1 or 2 RVs in each purchase experience and spent more than a couple of hours in examining each used RV that I did purchase and in the case of the new RVs, I spent time talking to the staff and to other customers at each one before I bought. Perhaps I have just been lucky, but not one of the purchases would I change. 

5) No. I make sure that the roof is in good condition or I do not buy the RV. I do annual maintenance on the roof of our RVs and have never had any type of coating put on one. We kept our first RV for 2 years, the next was new and kept for 8 years, then a used one kept 7 years, a used one kept 9 years, a new one kept 14 years, and then a new one that we still own, purchased in 2012.

6) Most do if the inspector comes to their location. I would never buy any RV from a dealer who would not. You don't need to pay an inspector for a new rig but I have always asked about that as part of my initial contact and if the answer is no, I do not buy even a new RV from them because it shows an attitude of disdain for the customers. 

Good travelin !...............Kirk

Full-time 11+ years...... Now seasonal travelers.
Kirk & Pam's Great RV Adventure



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We purchased 3 new as the most recent in our most recent 25 yr. of RVing.  Previous to that were used travel trailers and pop-ups. Tents previous to that.  Never used a dealer.  No mechanical issues.

Truthfully, with the three new ones we never had warranty issues or repair issues. We just had to do regular maintenance.  We really lucked out!

A 27' travel trailer was a Fleetwood product - bought off a dealer's lot.  No slides and a very basic entry model trailer.

The 5th wheel was a Travel Supreme - a very small company known for quality RVs.  We were then full-timers and wanted quality. We ordered directly through the manufacturer and were able to watch it being built.  Being small they didn't last through the 2008 financial hits and many of the heads and workers went across town to Newmar.

Our diesel motorhome was from Newmar - another quality manufacturer.  We were able to customize it  - a big plus for us.  We bought from a dealer but were in constant touch with Newmar during the build and customization.  They sent us constant photos of the build. When we picked it up from the dealer that was the last time we saw the dealer.  Being full-time going back to a dealer typically isn't done because full-timers travel.  After we left the lot we had a handful of very minor cosmetic issues we wanted done under warranty so we made an appt. at a Newmar dealer in the direction we were headed and it was a good experience - all completed within two hours.  We never had a reason to return to a dealer afterward.

Never bought an extended warranty on anything.  We always felt if something goes bad it will do so during the initial warranty.  Thereafter, we saved for future repairs although never had them.

Full-timed for 16 Years
Traveled 8 yr in a 2004 Newmar Dutch Star 40' Motorhome
and 8 yr in a 33' Travel Supreme 5th Wheel

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My general advice would be to expect repairs in both cases (buying new or used). Have done both recently and in both cases, made many visits for various service needs and repairs. RVs are high maintenance and, unless you know how to do a multitude of things yourself, can get very expensive.

Once you buy an RV and go through the initial repairs that are needed, you gradually get everything working the way you want and maintenance becomes more predictable. There will still be surprises and disappointments. 

Buying used kept our investment much lower and allowed us to try the lifestyle on for size before eventually buying new and spending a lot of $ and taking on a big RV loan. 

I make an effort to learn some maintenance tasks myself, which gives me more control, reduces visits to service centers, and saves me a few $. But I am very limited in what I can or will do. For example, I change the oil in my generator but not the RV. I winterize and dewinterize myself. I've replaced a toilet seal and installed a flat screen TV in the used RV that we bought.

My sense from years of following forums and blogs is that there isn't a magic bullet in terms of a brand or manufacturer or type that will require less maintenance.

RVs are complex monsters with any number of things that can go wrong. Once and awhile you get on a roll and get a good year or two without a big ticket item.

Financially speaking, RVs are a money pit. I wouldn't have gotten into this game if my house hadn't been paid off and my finances in fairly decent shape. This isn't a lifestyle or hobby for anyone living on the edge. (Just my opinion...some seem to try it as evidenced by RVs that are obviously in need of repairs and maintenance in some parks I visit).


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We have purchased both new and used. 3 new 1 used. The used one was the best deal. The minute you drive out the gate your new rv will depreciate big time. So is new worth it? Only if you want something no one else has used. Financially used is the way to go IMHO. If you buy a used rv put some money aside for repairs from the get go. But there are used and there are used. A 5 year old motorhome with 5000k on the clock would ring my alarm bell. Sitting RVs get lot rot. A well loved but used rv is what I would look for. But it's a crap shoot. Do your home work and narrow the odds. We bought a used high end coach from a dealer without ever seeing the unit. We knew the type of coach it was. The dealer had great reviews. So we narrowed the odds. Then put money aside for repairs. We never spent 10% of our repair nest egg over the next 5 years. ( the same dealer had a 1.6 million dollar coach on his lot with 60+ faults. 1 year later it sold for $600000. So faults come in all price ranges).

Good luck.


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