Should You Buy a New or Used RV? Top Factors to Consider

It should be no surprise that cost is the primary deciding factor when purchasing a new or used RV. Simply put, used RVs are less expensive. Many argue that even if you had the funds to purchase a brand-new RV, why not get something nearly identical for less? They do have a point, but the main problem isn’t that, is it?

Yes, used RVs are less expensive, but are they also better? Well, that depends on what’s most important to you. There is nothing better than the scent of a new car. However, for the money you save by purchasing a used RV, you could certainly purchase an endless supply of “new car” air fresheners.

RVs: New vs. Used, Pros and Cons

There is no right or wrong response when it comes to choosing between new and used RVs. The best we can do is list the benefits and drawbacks of each so you can choose which is right for you.

1. New or Used RV: How Much Will It Cost?

Used RVs dominate this category if you are only considering the initial purchase price. The cost of an RV may resemble a mortgage. In addition, an RV depreciates like a car. A new RV loses 20% of its value as soon as you sign the contract and leave the lot!  Furthermore, you should expect another 10% value reduction by year three!

Consequently, you can conclude that purchasing a 1 to 3-year-old RV can save you 20–30%.

2. Wear and Tear in a New or Used RV

It doesn’t sound horrible to buy an RV that is only one to three years old, does it? How much deterioration or damage can an RV sustain in such a short period of time? Quite a bit, in fact.

However, you can undoubtedly discover an RV with little wear and tear and low mileage. Simply be willing to wait and pay for what you are getting.

3. Warranty for New or Used RV

Yes, some warranties don’t live up to their claims. Nevertheless, many have had their wallets spared from irreparable damage thanks to warranties. There are warranties and extended warranty options available for some new RVs. However, did you know that secondhand RVs can often come with warranties? Yes.

4. RV Age Restrictions at Campgrounds, New or Used

One of the major catches that many new or prospective RVers are unaware of is this: most resort-style campgrounds include age restrictions for campers. This means that the only RVs that can stay at their campsite are those that are under a particular age.

The typical age of an RV is ten years old. This topic has recently generated a lot of discussion in our Facebook group. This might make it quite difficult to purchase a used RV. This is especially true if you intend to use it for a long time. For instance, if you decide to spend 40% less and purchase a 6-year-old RV, you might only have 4 years at some of your campgrounds.

5. Whether a New or Used RV, Customization

New RVs can be highly personalized, from floorplans to equipment to finishes. Technically, you could purchase an entirely customized RV, but that would be extremely expensive. Nobody in that price range is probably even considering purchasing a used RV. However, used RVs in this category cannot be disregarded. In fact, remodeling RVs is a really popular trend right now. Used RVs are being totally gutted or renovated to seem brand new.

A self-designed used RV can be great, especially if you enjoy DIY projects or design. Nevertheless, a used RV remodel is a significant and expensive undertaking. Many times, especially if you factor in your time, you could definitely purchase something new for the same price. However, the benefit is that you get it exactly the way you want it for the cost of a new RV that is otherwise generic.

The Last Word: Don’t Buy Just Yet

Regarding purchasing an RV, the best advice is to hold off. Rent some RVs first. Try a variety of classes and models. Nothing will cost you more money than purchasing an RV that isn’t a good fit for you, only to have to upgrade later. 

Therefore, take your time and test drive as many RVs as necessary before settling on the brand and model that suits you the best.