New vs Used: Which RV Is Right for Me?

“Should I buy a new RV or a used RV?” is a question almost every buyer asks themselves at some point in their purchasing journey. While there are benefits and drawbacks to both, which route you take will primarily depend on your financial situation and long-term plans. This post discusses the main pros and cons of buying a new RV vs. buying a used RV and will help you determine the option that is right for you.

Buying a New RV

Buying a new RV is an exciting experience! While a new RV is usually the more expensive option (versus buying used), a new RV comes with a host of benefits that include a manufacturer’s warranty and having the privilege of being the first ever owner of your RV.

Pro #1 – Manufacturer’s Warranty

Every new RV comes with a manufacturer’s warranty. While most warranties differ by brand name and model, most provide coverage for mechanical breakdowns and repair costs on mechanical components and more (up to a certain date).

As most seasoned RV owners will tell you, repairs can add up quickly. Especially on electrical equipment or — god forbid — when several things go wrong all at once. Knowing you have protection when a large repair bill comes along can take the stress off your next road trip.

Con #1 – It’s More Expensive

The first and most obvious downside of buying a new RV is that it costs more. Depending on the upgrades and features you want, some RVs can start to add up quickly. As well, insurance, license, and registration fees tend to be higher on a newer RV as opposed to a used model. When purchasing new, we recommend saving up a sizable down payment and finding an RV that fits comfortably within your budget.

Pro #2 – It’s in Mint Condition

One of the biggest benefits of purchasing a new RV is experiencing it in mint condition. Everything is fresh from the factory. It’s clean, pristine, and in perfect working order. Most fifth wheels and motorhomes also come with upgrade options so you can customize it the way you like, including colour options, layout, and more. Plus, with a new RV, you never have to worry about damage or wear-and-tear from the previous owner.

Con #2 – Depreciation

Like any purchase, whether it be a new vehicle, motorhome, fifth wheel, or recreational vehicle, it will depreciate once driven off the lot. While there is some debate about how much depreciation a new RV experiences, typical estimates are between 10% – 30% in the first year of ownership. This is also dependent on how in-demand the model you own is and how well you take care of it.

Buying a Used RV: Pros and Cons

Buying a used RV is often thought to be the more economical route. However, it also comes with its share of considerations, including wear-and-tear and repair costs. While some buyers choose to go with a private seller, we always recommend being very careful or having the RV inspected before you purchase. There could be hidden damage or electrical issues that are not easy to spot at first glance.

Pro #1 – It Saves You Money Up Front

Purchasing a used RV typically costs a lot less than purchasing a new one, which saves you money right upfront. You also avoid the first year of depreciation all new RV owners have to contend with. Insurance, licensing and registration fees are also usually less with a pre-owned RV model.

Con #1 – Repair and Upkeep Costs

When you buy a used RV, it comes without a manufacturer’s warranty. That means all the repair and upkeep costs rest squarely on your shoulder. While these costs are a normal part of RV ownership, they can definitely add up overtime. And depending on how old the RV is you decide to purchase, the repairs might be more costly as more integral features need to be replaced.

Pro #2 – It’s Customizable

While the used RV you purchase might not be exactly what you want, you always have the option of investing some sweat equity so that you can restore it to your liking. You can take the time to customize and upgrade the components you care about and leave the ones you don’t.

Con #2 – Hidden Damage

If you decide to buy your used RV through a private seller, be careful! Some wear-and-tear may be hidden. and you might have to shell out a bunch of cash down the road on repairs.

New or Used: Which RV is Right for Me?

Are you still unsure which RV is right for you? Don’t sweat it. Purchasing a motorhome, fifth wheel, or camper is a big decision and there are a lot of things to consider. Typically, the biggest factor in a purchasing decision is cost, so many buyers feel inclined to consider a used RV right off the hop. Keep in mind, while the purchase price of a new RV might seem considerably more at the beginning, there are dozens of different costs associated with purchasing a used RV including repair and upgrades down the road.

Still unsure which route to go? Let us help! Book an appointment at one of our 3 convenient Alberta locations and let us walk you through all your options, including your budget restrictions and long-term plans. Already browsed our online inventory of new and pre-owned RVs and found one you like? Apply for financing online today!

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