Conducting A Basic Fifth Wheel RV Inspection

You've found the perfect used RV for your cross-country adventure and you're ready to sign on the dotted line, but how do you know that the fifth wheel you're buying doesn't have any hidden problems? Of course, you've probably already taken a quick look over the trailer to make sure that it's what you're looking for, but making a good purchase requires more. If you want to be sure that you aren't buying a trailer full of expensive issues, you'll need to perform a more detailed inspection. While you may want to consider hiring a professional service to perform a thorough inspection, you can conduct your own basic inspection by following these simple tips.

Do Your Homework

If you have one or two specific RVs in mind, always do a bit of research beforehand. Look for common issues with these trailers by reading reviews and trying to find online forums with existing owners. If you can, ask owners questions about their experiences. The more knowledge you have, the easier it will be to spot potential problems. Having some information about the specific trailers you are looking at will help you to narrow your inspection and save time as well.

Before You Begin

Before you start your inspection, always inform the dealership or owner what this inspection will entail. A good inspection will involve climbing onto the trailer and going through the interior with a fine tooth comb, so it is only right to clue the current owner on to your intentions. You should also let them know that it may take you quite a bit of time. If they have any problems with your plans to inspect the RV in detail, you should treat this as a serious red flag.

Perform a Thorough Walk Around

It isn't enough to just glance at the exterior of the trailer. You should look over every inch of the exterior, checking for anything that looks like it might be a problem in the future. If you are not planning on buying the RV today, take pictures that you can consult after you go home. Pay special attention to anywhere that the RV has seals, including windows, doors, the air conditioning unit if it has one, and so on. Loose, dry, or cracked seals are problems you will have to address sooner rather than later, so keep this in mind. Pay special attention to any signs of rust or rust repair as well.

Conduct a Quick Interior Walkthrough

Once you're done with the exterior, it's time to move inside. The first thing you should do is do a quick walkthrough, looking for anything that looks obviously out of place or amiss. You don't need to spend much time doing this. Your goal here is to look for deal breakers that might cut your inspection short or require the seller to seriously drop the price for the sale to go forward. You want to be especially aware of obvious signs of water damage, unusual smells, torn or damaged furniture, and so on. These can all indicate expensive problems or neglect.

Move On to a More Detailed Interior Inspection

Once you are sure there are no obvious problems waiting inside, you can start really kicking the tires. At this point, you want to use the appliances, try every light switch, flush the toilet if you can, and so on. It may seem excessive, but one of the best things you can do while conducting this inspection is to keep a list of everything that you try and its condition. Keep a pad handy or use your phone if you prefer, but this list will help you keep track of any problems that you discover. If something doesn't seem to work right, don't be afraid to bring it up with the seller or to walk away if it's a particularly important item. If you aren't buying today, then this list along with the pictures you take will help you to make a decision later.

Once you've completed your inspection, don't be afraid to bring up any issues that you've found with the seller. A fifth wheel RV is a major purchase and you shouldn't allow yourself to feel pressured into a sale that doesn't feel right. If nothing else, a detailed inspection will only strengthen your negotiating position and help you get the right RV for the right price. For more information about used fifth wheels, contact a deal near you.