Buying a Used RV: Inspecting the Exterior

Premium Video Preview: Log in or become a member to get full access.
Duration: 6:21

Membership Options


Sign up for premium membership and get access to our best RV repair and maintenance videos. Learn new RV repair techniques and tips from friendly RV experts. Anytime. Anywhere.
Monthly $7.00
Annually $65.00


Upgrade to GOLD membership and get unlimited access to our entire library of premium RV repair and maintenance videos, receive discounts on DVDs, video downloads, and classes in the shop. In addition, you’ll receive nine video downloads, two full-length classes, downloadable guides, access to GOLD member LIVE events, and so much more!
Annually $115.00

There are many things you need to check before buying a used RV, including the sidewalls of the unit. To properly inspect the sidewalls of a used RV, it is best to slowly walk around the exterior of the unit looking for any visible damage. The degree of damage could reduce the overall price you pay when buying a used RV.

Take a look at all of the decals on the sidewalls to ensure they are not peeling or cracking. A little bit of fading is normal, but anything else may reduce the price.

The tires are the most important and often neglected part of an RV. This is why you must conduct a thorough inspection of the tires when buying a used RV. Look for any degradation along the sides of the tire and check the tread. This will alert you to any signs of possible alignment issues. Check the DOT stamp of the tires when buying a used RV for the date of manufacturing, because anything older than 10 years needs to be replaced before the purchase is finalized. The last four digits of the DOT stamp are the month and year of manufacturing.

Your inspection before buying a used RV should include a close look at the joints along the sidewall. Ensure these joints are sealed properly. Also, look at the surface of the sidewalls for any delamination, splitting, cracking or bubbling caused by moisture getting under the surface. This could lead to costly repairs in the near future.

When buying a used RV look into all of the outside compartments. Make sure there is not separation, rust of standing water in the compartments. If possible place a light in the compartment and look up from underneath to see if the light is coming through.

If possible take the used RV to a certified mechanic or local dealership to have all appliances inspected. This will help ensure there are no hidden damages that could get costly after your purchase.