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J Miller
Hello there all you happy campers,

My wife and I have been borrowing a family members older Class C motorhome for the last two years, and we are now looking into purchasing a travel trailer of our own. We've spent an entire day at General RV, and we've picked out a very nice Wildwood X-lite. The issue is the financier wants almost $4000 down!!! Our credit isn't perfect, but it isn't in the toilet either.

I've been all over CraigsList looking at trailers for sale in our area, and there are a few that look decent, but the lack of any kind of warranty, and the simple fact that they are used, concerns me.

I'm curious if any of you veteran campers out there have an opinion on the new vs. used or dealership vs. privately owned options. I'm positively itching to get an RV of my own, and I just want to know if going through the dealership is worth it. Any thoughts would be much appreciated biggrin.gif

Private deals are possibly lower in cost, but they are definitely buyer beware. I'm not knocking dealers--but they have to make a profit. You may find the RV dealers unwilling to give a unit purchased elsewhere much priority when something does need to be fixed.

Run from any unit that has even a hint of water damage.

"Walk" the roof. Look for missing or damaged caulking.

Do arrange to have a mechanic inspect the drive train.

Try to find a unit that is less than 5 years old.

Put the money saved on the purchase into a repair fund.

Extended warranties often have a list of "exceptions" longer than a $300.00 grocery bill.

Consider "renting" from your relative. It is by far the cheaper route to follow.
If you can pull it off, I would buy new. That way you have a warranty. However if you cannot afford a new trailer, you just cant, and a used trailer is the only option. I have to concur with all said above, plus here are some other things to look at:

1. Check out that all appliances work. Plug the camper into a 110 outlet and turn on the AC, turn on the frig, and check the microwave.

2. Turn on the propane and check the heater, ensuring the thermostat works. If the frig runs on propane, check that it lights properly. Dirt daubers love heater exhaust ports!

3. Connect the external water supply and check for leaks. Turn on the shower if equipped, check operation of the toilet and other sinks. Check the external shower if equipped. If something is leaking, it may not have been winterized properly. Also if it has a propane hot water heater, kick it on after the water system has been charged to make sure it works as well. Should only take about 15 minutes to heat up the water.

4. If it has fold outs like a pop-up camper, check the fabric for any tears and make sure the zippers work.

5. If slide outs are on the unit, check them for operation and leaking seals.

6. Check the condition of the tires, new tires are not cheap.

7. Check the awning for proper operation and rips or tears in the fabric. awnings are not cheap!

These are the major things I can think of, and any seller who has nothing to hide and is ready to sell their trailer will be more than happy to show you how all of this stuff works as well being in good shape!!!
Happy Camping!!
J Miller
Great advice, thanks to you both!!!

We're in the process of trying to lock up some financing through our credit union, so we're keeping out fingers crossed that it comes through. If it does, we'll be able to buy new, which my wife and I are definitely hoping for. We've picked out a camper we've fallen in love with, so we'll wait and see!!

Thanks again for the tips, and if any of you other avid campers have some advice, I'm all ears!

Then if you really think this is the RV for you, see if they wil let you sleep in it overnight with full hook ups. That way you can make sure everything does work to your liking. We did that with our trailer at the dealership. Yes we bought it new, but I'd still ask even if one was used. If they refuse move on.
dog bone
No more advice here, everyone else kinda nailed it. Just wishing you good luck and happy camping.
QUOTE(dog bone @ Aug 4 2010, 02:37 PM) *

No more advice here, everyone else kinda nailed it. Just wishing you good luck and happy camping.

i would always buy a used one from a private party, you can see where they live and take care of there things. for 3,000 i just replaced everything from, water heater ,fridge, a/c unit water pump .
i have had the trailer 17yrs. bought it 2 yrs old for 1/4 th the price ,plus the dmv is less etc.
don't buy one to old though .there is not much to go wrong with a trailer vs. motorhome with engine, trans. etc

my 2 cents
I agree with the above posts and would add just 1 idea. See if the dealership would let you "test tow" the trailer. Make sure your vehicle is up to the challenge and the added weight. My trailer is an 1985 24' Coachman and I feel it behind my 2003 Dodge 2500. Going from a borrowed motorhome to owning a travel trailer is a big step. Make sure you are comfortable driving, turning and backing the extra 25-30 feet behind you.
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