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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Limited Longevity

We are shopping for a used motorhome and would love to have some guidelines for how long major components should be reasonably expected to last. Recognizing that there will always be wide variations because of usage levels, maintenance done and how many hours in campgrounds with poor voltage, etc., how long might refrigerators, air conditioners, generators, awnings, water heaters, water pumps, etc., last? We're looking at a seven year-old Damon with only 23,000 miles on the chassis and 107 hours on the generator. But we wonder how much we might have to spend over the next couple of years. Should the roof air conditioner likely be good for a few more years or should we just replace it now even though it works? Ditto for the other bigger-ticket items.
Keith, (Grant, FL)

Keith, that’s like asking how long is a piece of rope! But at least you did phrase your question in context. I’m of the opinion that, when cared for properly, RV components can last a long, long time. Regular preventive maintenance practices can really prolong the useful lifespan of just about everything on the coach. How long? Like you stated, it depends on the treatment it has received during its life. I am personally wary of LP burning appliances approaching eight or nine years of age. Some components do wear out over time. One hundred hours on the generator is not outlandish, however. I’ve always said non-use is worse than abuse in many cases.

With any used RV I would heartily recommend that a pre-delivery inspection, (PDI), be performed on all the components in and on the motorhome prior to signing on the bottom line. This procedure will reveal compelling issues which can then become a bargaining chip for negotiating the final price. I’m also of the opinion that just about anything can be repaired or at worst, replaced if need be. But I would never replace a major component until absolutely necessary. A seven year-old unit is not that old, (right now!), especially with such low mileage. So I would think your chances are good that most everything will be in working condition as it stands. But again, a thorough PDI will reveal any shortcomings with the LP appliances and the major systems. Consider it cheap insurance to PDI the rig prior to taking ownership.

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