Buying a New RV? How to get the Most for your Trade In


As the RV season is just beginning, you may find yourself having thoughts of trading in your current recreational vehicle to upgrade or purchase a new one. So, how so you get the best trade in value? How do to get your RV ready?

First, before anything else, give it a good cleaning inside and out, from top to bottom. As you’re cleaning, do an inspection and make a list of everything that needs attention or repair. Here are a few specific things to look for:

1. Interior Ceiling and Walls. There should be no signs of any water leakage. Nor should there be any stains or peeling wallpaper. If necessary, fix any leaks and then paint over stains.
2. Interior Floor. Soft spots in the floor can indicate wood rot in the sub-floor. Replace the sub flooring and the interior flooring if necessary.
3. Interior Cabinets. Cabinets should have no damage. Repair them if there is any swelling, or indication of water leakage behind the cabinets.
4. Interior Plumbing. Carefully check the water holding tank, water inlet, water heater, water pump, showers, sinks, and faucets for leaks. All plumbing should work perfectly, without any drips or leaks.
5. Interior Electrical. All electrical appliances should be in proper working order. This applies to all lights and electrical receptacles.
6. Driver’s Compartment. This area has to be in perfect condition. Everything must be operational, from the seats and their controls, to the cruise control, power mirrors, windshield wipers, air conditioning, interior display, and the rear cameras. Each and every one of the control buttons must be in good working order.
7. Interior Entertainment Equipment. All entertainment and satellite equipment—the stereo, televisions, CD/DVD players, etc.–should all be in excellent condition. Be ready to show how they operate.
8. Furnishings. This includes all mattresses, beds, chairs, sofa’s, tables, lounge chairs, etc., should be functional, clean, with no tears or holes, and be in good working order.
9. Appliances. Interior appliances, such as the gas range, refrigerator, oven, microwave, and all accessories should be working as expected and should be shiny clean.
10. Air Conditioning and Furnace. If possible, these should be in flawless condition.
11. Exterior Paint. What is the condition of the exterior paint on the RV? Is it in excellent condition, or could it use some attention?
12. Exterior Roof. Rubber roof material should have not cuts or patches. It should be clean. Fiberglass should have no damage or any cracks of any kind.
13. Wheels. Should be clean. Aluminum or chrome should be shiny and bright. If the wheels are painted, no rust should be present.
14. Exterior Windows. Make sure the exterior windows are in good condition. There should be no pitting or cracks on the windshield.
15. Engine Compartment. Check to make sure the engine compartment is clean, and is free of grease/oil.
16. Batteries. The batteries in the coach area and chassis should be clean, with no obvious oxidation.
17. Service Compartment. Make sure hoses are neatly stored away and tighten or fix any leaky connections. Ensure the service compartment is clean, with no offensive smells present.
18. Generator Compartment. Again, make sure this compartment is neat and clean. There should be no grease present.

Next, take your list of repairs and prioritize them into groups as follows:

  • Group 1. These are the things you can fix on your own.
  • Group 2. You’ll want a good service center or mechanic for these repairs.
  • Group 3. These are the more complex issues that may be too expensive to repair. In this case you might decide to forego the repair and take the hit on the resale or trade in value.

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