Buying a travel trailer is a goal for a lot of folks with the travel bug. Searching for a used trailer might be a more budget friendly option, but only if you’re smart when making this kind of purchase. In order to avoid wasting money, how do you inspect a used travel trailer?
A thorough inspection of a used travel trailer will consist of testing every single system – electrical, plumbing, mechanical, gas, solar, engine, brakes and holding tanks to name a few. Also look for signs of water damage and mold by checking for leaks and dark spots. Consider using a moisture meter as well to verify there is no dampness present. Bring an experienced friend as a second pair of eyes and you both should have a checklist to make sure nothing is missed.
While the price might be right, it’s not worth it if you have to funnel money into the trailer for repairs.
How to Inspect A Used Travel Trailer
Inspecting a used travel trailer needs to be done with a very keen eye. It’s not something to rush through in order to avoid missing a crucial problem. It’s worth inspecting the trailer more than once, while also making sure the seller is available for any questions that come up.
Bringing someone with you to help with your inspection is helpful, as you’ll have more eyes to catch things. If you aren’t very familiar with all the components that make up a travel trailer, after you complete your own careful examination, it may be worth having a third party who understands trailers on a professional level to take a second look.
Inspect The Outside
One of the most important parts to inspect on a travel trailer is the roof. You want to thoroughly examine all parts of the roof, paying close attention to any cracks, discolorations, or warping. Checking the inside of the roof is also important to ensure there’s nothing missed.
A roof that has cracks or is falling apart can lead to leaks, which can damage the interior of the trailer and lead to all sorts of hard-to-handle issues. Look that the sealing is in good condition, the vents are in proper order, and look that nothing is hiding inside vents, the waste tank, or in the gutters.
You should also inspect the quality and durability of the doors and windows. Be sure they are properly sealed and are in good condition. Be sure you’re also carefully inspecting all the doors, cabinets, and storage areas on the interior, both inside and out. Look for any signs of deterioration or dysfunction.
Don’t neglect checking the undercarriage of the trailer either. Check the integrity of tires, awnings, and any accessories added to the outside. Make sure any screws or bolts look to be in place and aren’t too rusted.
The electrical panel inside the trailer should be inspected to make sure all switches are in working order and the panel doesn’t appear to get too hot. It’s also recommended that you examine where the light bulbs are, and ensure there are no signs of overheating damage around the fixtures. Check for the same signs around sockets and appliances. All this will ensure you have no fire hazards.
Be sure that you’re taking a look at the power banks, any cords connecting to sockets, and the battery inside the trailer. Inspect the interior ventilation system, the appliances, and air conditioning or heating systems to make sure they work and don’t appear to be falling apart. Test the water by flushing the toilet and turning faucets on and off.
Every inch of the inside should be looked over to find any potential damage and determine if any upgrades need to be done.
Common Issues With Used Travel Trailers
As with most structures, travel trailers can wear down over time. If a trailer isn’t maintained well, many issues can lurk beneath the surface and get worse until extensive damage is caused.
Trailer roofs tend to hold many of the common issues associated with travel trailers, and repairing a roof can be a costly endeavor. Neglecting the condition of the roof is not advised, even if maintenance costs some money.
The interior and exterior walls of a trailer can also lead to issues if there are any cracks, warping, or water damage. There is some very important framing within the walls that helps to maintain the integrity and shape of the trailer, and if those are damaged, it can make your trailer very unsafe.
What Should I Ask A Seller Of A Used Travel Trailer?
Any seller who isn’t just looking to hand off a problem to someone else should be willing to answer as many questions as you have. They should be willing to be honest about why they are selling, and shouldn’t have a problem with you wanting to take your time having the trailer inspected from top to bottom.
You should also be asking about power sources, such as the trailer battery and the electrical panel. Ask if anything related to these power sources has had issues you should be cognizant of, and if anything has had to be replaced. You should also ask what they’ve done with the travel trailer, such as how often they’ve taken it on the road.
It’s also worth asking about whether or not any upgrades or aesthetic changes have been completed on the trailer since the seller has owned it. Ask if these changes were done by them or by a professional. Be sure you inspect any parts they mention that they’ve changed to make sure they didn’t cause any cosmetic or integrity concerns.
There is a lot that goes into the function of a travel trailer, and as such, being precise, patient, and thorough when inspecting a used travel trailer is of the utmost importance to guarantee you’re not inheriting a problem.
A used trailer can be a bargain, but it can also be hiding a lot of expensive issues that you’re not prepared to deal with if you don’t inspect carefully and ask the right questions.