The disadvantages of these large motorhomes for sale, identified as class A RVs, are several too. As they are larger, it can make it difficult to drive. In regards to purchase and conduct, the fuel economy is very meager. Class A can also be difficult to park in certain areas especially in campgrounds as it is like a house on wheels. Though it is extremely nice, many RV owners are opting for a Class B or Class C RV and the majority of the searches of the motorhomes for sale are not these class A large recreational vehicles.
Therefore, the starting place would be to decide whether you want to move forward with a trailer option or motorhome. Once the decision has been taken, you have to determine the kind of motorhome you need. Recreational vehicles (RVs) are classified into three categories, and not all of them will contain motorhomes, they are class A, class B, and Class C RVs.
If you are here in this article, we will be discussing about motorhomes for sale, predominantly the so-called class A RV and recreation vehicles with a built-in engine. Consider these other articles for pop up campers, fifth wheels, and travel trailers.
Searching Motorhomes For Sale: What To Know
Table of Contents
When searching motorhomes for sale, three activities are mandatory: search a detailed list of motorhomes for sale and shortlist only a few of them, second, visit the RV dealer (safer than a private seller) and inspect thoroughly the motorhomes. Third, perform a careful and focused test drive of the motorhomes for sale, of not less than 45 minutes in city traffic and in a highway.
When searching motorhomes for sale, three activities are mandatory: search a thorough list of motorhomes for sale and shortlist only a few of them, second, visit the RV dealer (safer than a private seller) and inspect carefully the motorhomes. Third, perform a dedicated test drive of not less than 45 minutes in city traffic and in a highway.
Here is guidance of what to look in the motorhomes for sale when doing the inspection visit to the dealer or private seller: what to check and how to conduct the test drive.
If you want to buy new RVs, you should inform yourself in advance about the different manufacturers and the products offered. Depending on whether you travel alone, as a couple or as a family, the size of the RV and the number of seats must be determined.
Pros and Cons: Used Motorhomes or New Motorhomes For Sale?
One of the prominent questions that may come to your mind when deciding on the many options of motorhomes for sale is to buy a new one or used one? Both these options are viable and have their own pros and cons.
Even if you can afford it, buying a new one is not necessarily a better option. New motorhomes lose value immediately after they leave the facility of the dealer where you bought them. So if motorhomes for sale are bought at a certain price, you will lose immediately about 20% right afterward.
It is advised that one should buy a motorhome from the dealer not far from the place of residence, one should avoid buying it from the motorhomes for sale shows, or from discount schemes given by far away dealers who promote “motorhomes for sale campaigns”. One should understand that motorhome would require technical support or problem fixing much more often than a car or a truck. It is quite a complicated thing, thus often a new kind of problems may arise.
Cons Of Used Motorhomes For Sale: The Advantages of New Motorhomes
- A warranty that covers both the base vehicle and conversion. Here it is worth knowing that the warranty of conversion may be for the much longer period than the base vehicle, with some companies providing up to 10 years of warranty against the defects like leakage. One should carefully understand the things that are covered by the warranty before making a decision, as not every kind of breakage comes under it.
- Dealer support system– if anything goes wrong or you have specific queries, dealers are always available to assist you and help you in solving your problems. This, however, occurs also with good dealers even for used motorhomes you bought them.
- Everything is new: All new motorhomes for sale come with a bed, kitchen, and bathroom that has not been used by anyone before.
- With a new motorhome, you would get a new base vehicle, which would be more powerful, safer and more comfortable to drive and fitted with the latest gadgets. The engine technology and other things change quite a bit in a decade or so.
- Perhaps the most significant advantage of buying a new motorhome is the manufacturer’s guarantee that comes with it, and most of the manufacturers would provide this guarantee for at least a few years. Industry-standard being 2-3 years of factory guarantee. Needless to say that new motorhomes for sale will not have any issues since it would have a new engine and other fittings, it means that breakdown maintenance would be a lot less when compared to a used one.
Pros Of Used Motorhomes For Sale: The Disadvantages of New Motorhomes
Needless to say that there are certain downsides too in buying new motorhomes instead of any of the used motorhomes for sale. Many people may not plan to travel intensively, and new motorhome comes at a much higher price. Further, a new vehicle may be a guinea pig for some new technologies, thus in the end owner may learn that few things are quite tricky to get fixed, in case they go wrong.
Once you have decided on the type of motorhome to purchase (class A, class B, or a class C RV), and whether you want new or old, it is worth knowing about few other things. Fortunately, for the new vehicle, more financing options are available as compared to the used ones. Getting financing is much easier for a new motorhome as in most cases dealer would be able to tell about all the available options.
Surely financing is never a simple matter; you still need to do lots of calculations and consider many things. Financing by a bank is lots cheaper than funding by a third party, but then the bank has stringent demands regarding your credit score and so on.
Buying motorhomes for sale: Cons
In pop up campers, fifth wheels or travel trailers, the towing vehicle can be decoupled to make excursions on site. For a motorhome, this is not possible. In order to be mobile at the resort, bicycles must be carried as luggage. Also possible is to carry motorcycles or a Segway unit.
- Costs: If you ask about the cost there is no straightforward answer to that, it all depends on the choice, and whether you decide to buy something new or used one. Accordingly, the cost can range from anything between $15000 for used camper van to anything in excess of $500000 for a new Class A motorhome. Further, there is a need to understand that though the used one may hold their value pretty well, the expensive models may depreciate quite quickly. Motorhomes for sale lose their value rapidly after they leave the facility of the dealer.
- Fuel efficiency: Again when it comes to fuel efficiency, it depends on the size of the engine, and on what fuel does it run. Thus those fitted with a diesel engine would consume less fuel as compared to those on gas, nonetheless, if you have opted for class A motorhome than fuel efficiency should not be your concern as most of them are gas-guzzlers.
- Insurance and maintenance cost is another thing that has to be taken into consideration. Insurance cost is again variable depending on what kind of vehicle or motorhome you have and a type of package you opt for. Needless to say, is that expensive packages provide better coverage against breakage or theft and so on. Some motorhomes for sale from some dealers may include an insurance package as well.
- Parking space availability: However, perhaps the most significant question that you must answer before making the buying decision is where do you intend to park your vehicle. We are not talking about the times when you would be traveling, instead, when you will not be moving. Since you may already own a vehicle or two, parking another vehicle may be an issue. More importantly, in many cases, a motorhome may remain parked for quite a long time. Law would differ according to state or county, and you may not be allowed to park the vehicle on the street. Further, you have to take into consideration your neighbors; in some cases, they may not be happy to see your vehicle parked near their house or window, and so on.
- Special driving license required: Driving license would also be an issue in the majority of the cases; undoubtedly you would need to pass a driving test for Class A or even Class B or C vehicle. It is something you must prepare for beforehand.
Annual repair and maintenance: Last but not the least, you should also take into consideration the annual servicing costs, something you have to incur whether you use your motorhome much or not. Though in most cases servicing costs would not be much.
Test Drive for Used Motorhomes
It does not matter which of the many motorhomes for sale you will buy. In all cases, it is mandatory to execute a thorough test drive when purchasing used motorhomes.
Even before you start the test of the motorhome, you should set a route on which you can test the RV as best as possible. Do not just drive in city traffic, but also in highways.
That is the only way you can test the car while driving fast. Here you can also check if the noise at high speeds increases significantly.
In a complete test drive, you can find defects that are not noticed by mere inspection.
Be sure to start the engine cold, otherwise, starter problems may go undetected. The motorhomes for sale that you test, should start easily and quickly. Pay attention to the control lamps, these should go out after two seconds at the latest.
Test all levers, switches and electrical devices. The complete lighting should also work properly. Turn off the radio so you can concentrate on the background noise. Ask the owner or the dealer to remain silent so you can concentrate on the noises. Do you hear unusual noises?
In the case of new motorhomes for sale, some manufacturers offer a test drive over the weekend, such as Forest River or Winnebago. Especially for high-priced models of premium manufacturers, longer test drives are offered, which can take quite as much as a whole weekend. For this, you must make an appointment with the dealership. If you actually conclude a sales contract as a result, you will often be credited with the costs incurred by the rental of the motorhomes for sale.
If possible, you should also choose a time when you expect low traffic. So you can fully concentrate on the test drive and the vehicle
Check also the function of the brakes. You should not hear any noticeable noises, and the motorhome must not pull to the left or right when braking. Also, check the function of the Anti-lock Braking System (ABS). At full braking, the tires should not block.
On a straight, low-traffic route, you should at least once let go the steering wheel and test whether the vehicle continues straight ahead or not. If it does not continue straight ahead, it may be that the steering is set incorrectly. However, this can also be an indication of accidental damage.
In addition, shift all gears and drive alternately at low speed and under full load. There should be no black smoke. Also, pay attention to the temperature display of the cooling water. It should increase only minimally and drop again when driving slowly.
If you notice any defects, you should notify them to the seller. Under certain circumstances, these can then be eliminated before the sale or you can obtain a proportional discount. In case of serious defects, you should refrain from buying. There are many interesting motorhomes for sale elsewhere.
An important point in the test drive concerns the duration. It is usually advised to spend about 45 minutes or more, so it should be an exhaustive test.
However, the duration of the test should be agreed in advance with the seller or dealer of the motorhomes for sale. Caution is advised if he wants to urge you to a short drive of his motorhome. Often dubious dealers pretend that further test drives are planned directly after you and therefore you do not have much time. Be careful with dealers or private sellers that act like that.
Test drive should last not less than a 45 minutes with a combination of highway and city traffic where you will concentrate in the noise.
So it is clear that without a long test drive you should basically buy no RV, especially none of the motorhomes for sale that this dealer might have in his portfolio. Then, if he insists, stay away from him and his offers, and focus on other offers of motorhomes for sale from a reputable dealer.
A test drive with only one vehicle is usually not enough. You can only make a correct decision if you have compared several models of motorhomes for sale. If you are in a dealer, test more than one model.
Motorhomes For Sale: Checklist Before Buying
I strongly advise you to make a first pre-selection, otherwise, you spend hours looking through the individual motorhomes for sale.
After you have shortlisted several models, now begins the practical part, for which you should, in turn, take enough time. Now comes the inspection of the selected used motorhomes.
1. A thorough inspection from the outside of the motorhome for sale
- ❏ The first step is always an all-round tour of the motorhome. Look not only at the paint but also in “smaller corners”, for example under the wheel arch. If you discover dents or scratches, talk to the dealer.
- ❏ Check the tread depth of the tires. What do the tires look like? Ask the dealer of the motorhomes for sale, about the tires. Then check the year of manufacture on each tire and so you can check directly whether the seller tells the truth or not. Tires should be changed at the latest every 6-7 years and it must always be the same types of tires on an axle. So it is acceptable if the tires are 2 years old at the front and 4 years at the back. Nonetheless, of course, the newer the better. Everything over 6 years old should be changed.
- ❏ Do the entrance door locks and the exit staircase works properly?
- ❏ What does it look like on the roof of the motorhome? Are all joints well sealed or are there holes? Check the status of the coating of the roof.
- ❏ Also, check the underbody. The side sills are particularly sensitive. Do the pressure test. Does it crumble when you press it with your thumb? A sure sign of rust. Check for corrosion also.
2. Check the condition of the driver’s cabin
Sit in the vehicle. The condition of the seats is enormously important, after all, you will cover many miles with the motorhome and it will help you to understand the condition of any of the motorhomes for sale you inspect.
- ❏ Are the seat belts intact?
- ❏ Are the pedals and steering wheel heavily worn?
- ❏ Does the mileage match the overall appearance? I think every one of you has heard before, that, for example, tachographs are manipulated. Therefore, you should pay attention and not fall on such tricks so quickly: you have to look at the condition of the motorhome cabin. Take a look at the general aspect of the pedals. If the motorhomes for sale you inspect have only a few thousand kilometers on the clock, but the pedals look super worn out …. can there be something wrong? The same applies to the steering wheel and the driver’s seat. Of course, it makes a difference in the weight in pounds of the previous owner.
- ❏ Do turn signals and lights work?
- ❏ Does the windscreen have holes or cracks?
- ❏ Can the interior and exterior mirrors be adjusted?
- ❏ For our readers in the European Union, does the mobile home have a green environmental badge?
3. Check the interior of the shortlisted motorhomes for sale.
The worst thing that can happen to you is a motorhome with problems related to moisture. It should be examined carefully during the visit.
- ❏ Does it smell musty when you get into the camper? Are the windows wide open and the motorhomes for sale visited are fresh, washed and cleaned? Be careful. I would say, every professional salesman or dealer and also almost every private seller knows exactly, the first breath when opening the door of the motorhomes for sale is crucial. Does it smell musty, bad or smoky? These odors can only be detected if the motorhome has not been aired for hours! Of course, smoking in the motorhome will lower the price. If it smells musty, damp, like in the cellar, you can assume that there were some leakage and water has penetrated inside. So do not be fooled by nicely intended preparations … to 99.9%, these works are neither friendly nor nice meant, but the seller has something to conceal.
- ❏ Are there stains or watermarks on furniture, cabinets, and walls? The best moment to visit the dealer and his motorhomes for sale is during the rain or right after a rainy day. Leaks will be quick to recognize, but that is unfortunately not always feasible. Are there water stains somewhere in the motorhome? Very important, look exactly in all corners. There are moisture meters available for less than twenty dollars.
- ❏ Are the windows easy to open and are they all tight?
- ❏ Do the fridge, chemical toilet and faucets work?
- ❏ Test the heater (if present).
- ❏ Has the gas pipe for the stove been regularly maintained? The flame should be blue. If the flame to be seen is red or yellow like a chimney flame, well that is not really positive.There can be a problem with the gas installation here if the flame is not blue.
❏ Can the sofa be easily converted to a bed?
- ❏ In what condition are the seat covers?
4. No purchase without a test drive
We already discussed the importance of a test drive. A reputable dealer or private seller will offer you a thorough and comprehensive test drive for all the motorhomes for sale you are actually interested in. This may turn out to be a little bit longer than one hour, as this is the best way to get to know the condition of the shortlisted motorhomes for sale. This means that it is necessary to inspect and test drive more than one motorhome.
- ❏ Does the motorhome start the first time?
- ❏ How loud is the vehicle while driving? (Turn off the radio and ask the private seller or dealer to remain silent)
- ❏ Is the camper well balanced? (Easier to check on a bumpy road)
- ❏ Do a brake test, there should be ABS brakes in place.
- ❏ Do the clutch grind and the gears go well?
- ❏ Are you comfortable with the steering? (tight curves, small parking spaces)
5. Look in the vehicle documents of the motorhomes for sale and purchase negotiation
That you can not be the first owner of the used motorhomes for sale, is probably clear to everyone. However, caution is required if several previous owners are in the papers. Examine the entries carefully and ask the seller if necessary.
- ❏ Is engine performance sufficient for overtaking and uphill gradients?
- ❏ Does the first registration date match the year of construction?
- ❏ Are all operating instructions available?
- ❏ Did the motorhome ever have an accident?
- ❏ If you are in the European Union, as about ten percent of our readers, additionally check for how long are the TÜV and ASU still valid.
Are You Sure That a Motorhome Class A is Right For You? Types Of Motorhomes For Sale
If you are here in this article searching motorhomes for sale, I imagine that you are sure that you are looking for a motorhome of class A. However in the comments, some readers asked if a class C RV or a pop up camper or a fifth wheel was better for them. Therefore, I decided to dedicate a few paragraphs to explain the difference between other types of motorhomes for sale.
Class A Motorhomes For Sale
It is the largest and best in class, with maximum living space and storage capacity and maybe include a toy hauler. Because of its size, these motorhomes resemble a passenger bus or a coach. Motorhomes for sale can be as long as up to 45 feet and can accommodate up to 10 people say manufacturers (for me it is a maximum of eight persons). So no surprise that it is one of the most expensive variants, in fact, many of them cost as much as a house. But then you get most of the luxuries, like heated floor, bar, ice maker, laundry, and even basement for storage.
Class A is the ultimate luxury on wheels. It is the perfect choice for long trips with family when money is not a problem. It is fit for all seasons. This article deals with this kind of motorhomes for sale.
Class B Motorhomes For Sale
It usually is the smallest and most economical of all the three variants. It looks more like a usual van with a raised roof; it is often based on the chassis of vans like Sprinter, Ducato or Transit. Most of the models would have basic kinds of facilities, mostly limited to living space. Although some models may be fitted with a kitchen, bathroom, and water supply. Driving them is quite simple, just a little more difficult than a usual car, it has sleeping space for two, it is cheaper to buy, run, and insure. In the long run, it is much economical to maintain. Best of all, it can be parked in just any parking space. However, it is only fit for two, though some manufacturers may claim four, it is not for an extended family. From all the motorhomes for sale, class B is normally the least expensive.
Class C Motorhomes For Sale
Consider it as something in between classes A and B, and it comes in various sizes and shapes with lots of options. When we search motorhomes for sale, the class C RV is normally the most demanded type. It is smaller than class A and thus made for four to eight people, and is generally between 22 to 33 feet long.
One of the best-known features of this class is the space over the cab for either storage or sleeping called alcove or cabin-over space. In most cases, the upper part alcove (kind of a second floor) is used for sleeping, and normally only for children. It is mostly built on the chassis of a cargo van and is for those who do not want something as big as a coach or a bus neither something as basic as class B or camping van. It is still easy to maintain and is not difficult to park on a busy camping ground
In The European Union: Driver License Required
We have recently added this paragraph to address questions in the comments about European readers who wanted to know in general the rules for the European Union. Our European readers are about ten percent of all our readers and they asked us to know what kind of license is required to drive there a class A RV.
In 2013, there were some legal changes that caused confusion for many drivers. We want to bring a little light into the darkness at this point, together with the minor changes in 2020.
If you have purchased your driver’s license before 1999, you will be subject to different rules than the rest of the license holders.
Then you are allowed to drive all car/caravan combinations. In addition, you may bring motorhomes with a total mass of up to 7.5 t.
However, if you have obtained your license from the year 1999, you must follow more stringent guidelines. Driving a Class B license means driving a combination of a car and a caravan whose maximum authorized weight does not exceed 3.5 tonnes. On the other hand, you are entitled to drive trailers with a maximum permissible mass of between 750 and 3.5000 kg with the driving license of the class BE .
For less heavy trailers there is since 2013 an extension of the license class B called B96. You can acquire these through training and you are authorized to drive teams with a total weight not exceeding 4250 kg. Even if you are considering buying an RV, you should check your driver’s license. If you have purchased this before 1999, you may drive motorhomes with a maximum permissible weight of up to 7.5 t. If you belong to the rest of the drivers and have your driver’s license later, as a class B owner you are only allowed to drive vehicles that do not exceed a weight of 3.5 t. For heavier vehicles from 3.5 to 7.5 t, however, class C1 is necessary.