How to Avoid Buying a Class B Lemon

Last Updated on July 5, 2023

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You’ve made the decision to invest in a used RV, have chosen a Class B, and are ready to bring one home. However, to make sure that your RV dreams don’t become a huge hassle, there are many things you should consider and look out for prior to making a purchase. Buying a used Class B RV provides tons of savings compared to buying new, but you’ll need to be careful that you don’t end up with a vehicle that’s full of problems and hidden flaws. To have the best experience possible owning a used class B, here are some tips for avoiding a lemon.

– Comb the RV looking for water damage. This means looking along the floor, ceiling, and walls. Some telltale signs of damage include dark spots, sunken-in areas, and cracking walls. If you see any of this, you’ve probably got a lemon on your hands, and purchasing it will bring you a slew of problems and wasted money. While you’re checking around, also be careful to watch out for signs of mold, mildew, and rust, which are just as problematic as water damage.

Check the refrigerator. The fridge in your used RV will be a crucial part of how much you enjoy it, especially if you plan to be a full-timer just like me, or if you’re going to cook while traveling. Open the fridge and not only see if it works but determine whether its configuration will suit your lifestyle. Also, know that if the fridge is an older model, you may end up replacing it soon after buying the RV. Though a bad fridge may not seem like a deal-breaker if you like everything else about the model, know that replacing the appliance won’t be cheap.

– Turn on the burners. Since RV kitchen areas typically only have a fridge, burner or two, and a small sink, it’s important that you check to see if the burners work before making a purchase. Also, take a look at how well-maintained the stove area is — the better it’s been maintained, the less likely you’ll have to repair or replace it in the near future.

– Get a peek at the mattress. Sure, you can replace it and put in a new one that you like better, but how the mattress looks is a good indicator of how well the entire RV has been taken care of. See lots of water spots or stains? That should set off a few red flags.


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– Comb over the fine details. Make sure all of the RV’s windows, doors, closets, and compartments open and close smoothly and work as they should. The last thing that you want is to get an RV and find that half of the kitchen drawers are not working or the bathroom door won’t stay closed. As you open everything up, also check for signs of water damage.

Feel for heat as you open the closet doors of the RV. If it seems warmer inside the closet than it does in the rest of the vehicle, that’s a sign that there may be some potential mold issues. Closets are dark, can hold warmth, and combined with leaks or water damage that’s the perfect recipe for a mold infestation. If there is mold hiding in a closet, it will often be found along the walls. Take a flashlight with you when you check out RVs from a dealer or private party so you can get a good look in the closets and make sure the vehicle is mold-free.

– Remember, some smells can seriously stick. If you walk into an RV that you like on the outside only to find it smells on the inside, don’t think it’s an easily fixed problem. Odors from smoke can linger for years and be extremely difficult to get rid of since it easily permeates fabrics and RV walls. Other smells from mildew, mold, or even dead animals that were recently removed from the RV will also be a challenge to remove. And, no, you can’t just stick an air freshener in there and hope for the best. It’s best to avoid seriously smelly used RVs altogether.

In order for you to implement these lemon-busting strategies, you’ve got to thoroughly inspect each RV you’re interested in first — this means no buying sight unseen. By taking your time and being smart about your purchase, you’ll end up with an RV that you’ll get years of use out of and be proud to own.

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