By: Gov Auctions | 16 March 2016

Buy RV at Auction: What to Look for at Inspection

RVs have become an iconic symbol for recreation for several generations. Most probably, you have a personal experience riding one when you went out camping for a few days with your family. Now you want to pass on the tradition to your own, relive the best RV memories, or be more practical and live in one.

Either way, you can get a used RV at a good price when you join an auction. During an auction, you have the chance to buy the vehicle at a price you’re willing to pay and get it for at least 30% off their trade-in value or dealer’s price.

But before you start bidding, conduct due diligence and perform a vehicle inspection:

Check the papers.

This should be number one since we don’t want to waste our time checking the vehicle, only to realize it’s a lemon or there are encumbrances attached to it. An auction sets aside a good time for inspection, which can be a day or two before the actual auction. At this time, a staff will help you, answering questions like whether the vehicle has the necessary papers including title of ownership.

You should also check out the vehicle’s VIN (vehicle identification number). Although the plate can change and the exteriors and interiors can be modified, the VIN remains the same. It can tell you a whole lot about the vehicle’s history, including repairs done. Although it may not explicitly stated, you can also get a better idea of how the vehicle’s been used. For instance, if it’s been to more rugged states, then it’s possible the wear and tear is worse than what you expect.

Begin with the outside.

Look at the paint. Does it look brand-new despite the vehicle’s age and mileage? It’s possible it’s been repainted and that dents and scratches are now hidden. Note if there are any leaks on the underside or that insulation and plumbing are still in good condition. Inspect the wheels, utilities such as batteries, and roof.

Proceed with the inside.

Analyze the floor plans, check the windows and doors including the hinges, any accompanying appliance or utensil in the kitchen (if there’s one), bathroom and bedroom fixtures, feel of the floor, water and waste system, as well as heating and cooling.

For a more extensive checklist, visit here.

Use the other senses.

Smell the surroundings. If it smells musty, it’s possible that moisture is high. If there’s moisture, molds may also be present. Feel the texture of the furniture, seats, and bed. Listen for any possible noises such as those of vermin.

Take it on a spin.

You can never tell if the RV is working well unless you take it on a test drive. Often, you can only ride the vehicle within the auction compound, but that should already be enough for now to let you know if the RV remains usable.

In auctions, vehicles such as RVs are sold in “as is” condition—that is, what you see is what you get. To make sure you get your money’s worth, don’t skip the inspection process.