Just like with any vehicle, RVs lose value over time. There are, however, some factors that are more controllable than others that will keep your rig from depreciating in value as quickly.
1. Your RV’s age
Older motorhomes and trailers just aren’t worth as much as the sparkly new 2018 and 2019 models. According to Camper Report, 5 years is the plateau point at which the steep depreciation of the first few years levels off significantly.
Sadly, age isn’t something you can do much about, but you can do regular preventative maintenance to keep your rig in as good of shape as possible.
2. All those miles
An RV with only 20,000 miles on it will usually have a higher value than one of the same year with 200,000 miles.
On the other hand, mileage only plays a small part in depreciating RV value because so many other things can go wrong with it. The RV with only 20,000 miles may have been on the road less, but it could also have some major water damage.
If you do want to cut down on miles, consider staying in each location you visit for longer. Many RV parks offer weekly and even monthly rates, giving you more time to get comfortable and fully explore everything in the area. You could also look out for workkamping opportunities if you plan on staying put for a little while.
3. Being brand new
They say that you lose about 21% of your new RV’s value as soon as you drive it off the lot. A used RV will also lose value with age and mileage, but not nearly as drastically as a new rig. Check out this post for more insight on why you should never buy an RV brand new.
4. Leaks & water damage
Leaks can be detrimental to your RV and its value. They’ll cause stains, delamination, dark colored wood, and bumps or bubbles in the paneling. The good news is that with a bit of maintenance, you can prevent leaks and the potentially expensive damage.
It’s a great idea to seal all of your RV’s seals with Dicor RV Lap Sealant. This sealant is longer lasting than silicone caulk for your exterior seams and can be used on windows, the roof, walls, trim, vent, and light fixtures.
Take a look over this post from RV LIFE for more tips on how to find and prevent leaks.
5. Improper storage
Don’t let your RV rot away over the winter! If you’re not a full-timer, make sure you store your RV properly during the off-season to keep it in good condition. Leaving your RV outside will expose it to damaging UV rays, bad weather, and critters may even find their way in.
It’s a good idea to cover your RV, keep it under an RV port or garage, or pay for it to stay in storage over the winter. Keep in mind that a regular blue tarp should never be used on RVs as they cannot breathe properly and they allow moisture to build up in your rig.