Buying a RV – used vs. new?

Photo credit: Melodi Stahl

When someone asks if you should buy new or buy used when it comes to RVs, the discussion often devolves to the following to catchphrases:

Only suckers buy new!

Buying used is buying someone else’s problems!

At the end of the day, there are pros and cons to every decision. Taking the emotion away from the discussion, there are very real and rational arguments that can be made. So, let’s delve into that.

Credit: Melodi Stahl

In the camp of those who say to buy used, they make the following points:


  • Less expensive
  • The bugs have been worked out
  • If you fulltime, a good friend of mine says that “warranties are for weekenders”
    • There’s truth in this when your RV is your home, sending it to a dealer for weeks at a time can be a huge hassle


  • No warranty
  • There could be problems the previous owner hid
Fulltime living and camper work = sleeping in the back lot

In the camp of those who say to buy new, they counter with:


  • Shiny new smell
  • You’ll know the history of preventative maintenance and upkeep
  • Comes with a warranty!


  • New doesn’t mean it’s without problems
  • Warranties are only as good as the dealer you buy from

Longest Story Shortest…

Credit: Melodi Stahl

What it comes down to for me- when you buy new, you’re going to have issues. Some major issues, some minor issues. It’s an extremely rare unit to come without issues.

When you buy used, you’re bound to have some issues- some major, some minor.

Sadly, on both sides of the fence, I’ve heard of war stories. I’ve also heard of positive stories both ways.


  1. Ahhh, this age old argument! I think everyone puts different weight on different pros and cons and someone’s financial situation and plans. For me, I could never buy a new RV or car because I am highly sensitive to all the chemicals and the smell of a new car is an instant migraine.

    • That’s a great point on the side of used. However, the flip side is the whole water damage/hidden mold possibility.

      • Yep. I have a little water dammage but was aware of it before purchasing. That was a given with my price and age range. Either way a person decides to go, planning for repairs, time wise and financially, is a must.


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