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Old 11-17-2018, 09:32 PM   #1
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Purchase new or used? Worth it for warranty?

I looked at 2 Forest River Salem Cruise Lite 261BHXL trailers today. One is a new 2018 model for $17983. The other is a used 2017 for $14990. They are basically identical trailers as far as features. The 2017 is in excellent shape...I don't know that I would have even known it was used if he hadn't told me when we looked at it.

Obviously the 2017 doesn't come with a warranty while the 2018 would. Granted, I have no way of knowing whether the 2017 has any invisible issues, but it doesn't appear to. The dealer that has them is one of, if not the, highest rated dealerships in my state...so I don't think they would sell something that was jacked up. Is it worth the $3000 to buy the new trailer and have a factory warranty?

Thanks in advance for any input.
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Old 11-18-2018, 08:55 AM   #2
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Buy new. You can get a better deal on RVtrader. a NEW 2019 Salem Cruise Lite 261 BHXL sells for under $ 15,000. We bought our 2018 Surveyor 243RBS from Couch RV nation in Hamilton Ohio in June of this year and saved over $5,000. We live over 900 miles from the dealer, so we had it delivered for $1,000. Rule of thumb is 30% off of MSRP. Hope you get a good deal!
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Old 11-18-2018, 09:13 AM   #3
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I ALWAYS buy new. I have traded units that "looks so new you couldn't tell it was used" - problems with them, some fixed and some not. Everyone makes bonehead mistakes with their new RVs, even seasoned folks. Often tiime they are hidden on the used units but they are still there. When you find them, only after camping in them a few times, too late, no warranty. IMHO paying extra for a new unit, if your budget allows, is always a better bet.
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Old 11-18-2018, 09:48 AM   #4
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if you read these threads at all, you will find that most people do all the minor warranty work on their own because taking it to the dealer usually results in long wait times... too long, shoddy workmanship, delays in travel plans, or it just does not get fixed right resulting in a take back to be fixed again...

only thing the warranty will do is fix those major items that maybe you can't do, but those might be apparent with a through walk-thru or trial driveway camping trip...
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Old 11-18-2018, 10:01 AM   #5
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We bought used this fall, and one of the benefits offered by our dealer was a 30-day appliance warranty. That gives a little piece of mind on the major items. If you're handy enough to fix minor issues, perhaps ask if your dealer would offer the same on that used unit.
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Old 11-18-2018, 10:15 AM   #6
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You can probably get a much better price on a used camper...

But if you are financing you will get a way better interest rate on a new camper.

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Old 11-18-2018, 10:16 AM   #7
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Buying new gets new bedding. I'd not buy a used mattress for my home, would you? Didn't think so.

The only way I'd by a used camper is if new mattresses were available. Include that expense in your price comparisons. Otherwise a sorted out year or two old camper might be a good deal.

Check the "wholesalers" prices on new trailers and compare.

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Old 11-18-2018, 10:24 AM   #8
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The pro/con list can be large, so I'll summarize what I believe to be the conventional wisdom arguments. Some are natural converses of one another, so I'll skip those. For example, if one of the pros to buying new is that it's fun to buy brand new things, I'll skip the con of buying used that it's not as fun to buy used stuff (the converse is implied):

Used:
The pros are:
  • Cheaper. Someone else paid a lot/most/all of the depreciation and you can get it for much cheaper used ... and resell it for a larger percent of your purchase price later.
  • Warranty items have been fixed. All new trailers are build with a handful of problems. A used trailer is seasoned and the owner has probably corrected these items.
The cons are:
  • Selection. Probably have to settle for what's available, rather than buy/order exactly what you want.
  • Buying someone else's problems. Used vs Used Up. Hidden, latent problems. No known history of maintenance.
  • Not as emotionally fun as buying brand new.

New:
The pros are:
  • With careful shopping and willingness to travel, there is a lot more selection and price negotiation. Depending on where you are, the season, and where you travel to purchase, your new price might be lower than a local used price. Thus, you get more for your dollar with careful shopping.
  • All of the obvious stuff -- fun to buy new, warranty, components aren't fouled/exhausted/used up, etc.

The cons are:
  • Massive depreciation when you drive if off the lot.
  • Potential for a bunch of warranty items that will occur and you just hope that it's nothing major.

Wanted to keep it short, so I did.

Some of these things are really dependent on the RV you want. For example, if you want a 27-32' bunkhouse trailer, there are about a million of these on the market. It's been a super popular floor plan for a long time. Thus, it ends up being more of a buyer's market and, therefore, the gap between used and new pricing grows.

If you want one of the newer Murphy bed models, then the used market shrinks by a ton. When I was shopping in 2016-2017, the used market for these trailers was virtually nonexistent. The few that were available were within 10% of new ... locally. Driving out of state meant that I got a new trailer for less than used.

Even when buying used, look to travel ... particularly if you live west of the MS River. I bought a Fleetwood Utah Popup in 2011, used it for 6 seasons, and then sold it for exactly what I paid. I was able to do this because I drove east to buy it and sold in the crazy inflated CO RV market.

I have no problems buying used. I've done it before. For the trailer I wanted this time, it simply wasn't a viable option.

This ultimately becomes a fairly personal decision. You can get bits and pieces from others' experiences, but it really comes down to all of the unique elements of your specific situation.

Good luck.
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Old 11-18-2018, 10:28 AM   #9
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Buy new with warranty. I don't buy used or other people's problems! (Smoker's smells or tons of pet hair)
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Old 11-18-2018, 10:42 AM   #10
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if you can find a good deal on used . check it out and buy it . the factory warranty many times is a joke and not worth thousands for a 1 year warranty . plenty of great units out there that have already had the problems solved by the org owners . don't worry about things like a mattress being used as most all rv mattress are junk and you can get good new mattress for your unit fairly cheap . not much benefit to buying new . many times you will read how new rv are in the shop more then on the road . a good used unit can save you lots of headaches and won't cause anymore then a new one would, . JMHO
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Old 11-18-2018, 10:54 AM   #11
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On the vote for buying new instead of used, is where you buy it. This is my 2nd purchase of a new TT from RVOne and they are amazing, form the sale through warranty work. And they have mobile technicians that will come to your house or storage location to make repairs so you don't have to bring it to the dealership. Makes having them do even the little stuff I can do myself easy. Another pro for new is that with every release there are improvements in design and/or style.

If you do your planning right, you can buy a new unit for very close to the price of a used one and if you have to finance your purchase, the interest rates for new are so much lower than used. You can do the math to calculate the offset of cost. And buying new also makes it worth more when you go to trade or sell it. Take advantage of the "instant depreciation" and keep your camper for a couple of years before turning it over. We do cash buys when able, and the time we had to finance a portion, we just paid it off quickly so we were never "upside down" with our TT. That puts you in the best position to sell or trade when the time comes.
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Old 11-18-2018, 11:06 AM   #12
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I've owned two travel trailers, both of them one-year old "used" models. I found my 2017 Grey Wolf on Craigslist - three months out of warranty but with many upgrades including two wall-mounted televisions; Furion camera; King Jack TV antenna; a like-new pillow-top mattress; and extras like two power drills and sockets (mainly to raise / lower the stabilizer jacks). It helped that I met the sellers and was confident that the trailer was well-cared for. I paid $2K less than the original owner paid at an RV show in April 2017. Plus, in my case, I did not pay dealer-related prep or documentation fees. As with my previous used trailer purchase, I've had no problems at all and would do it again.
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Old 11-18-2018, 11:31 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Go West View Post
I've owned two travel trailers, both of them one-year old "used" models.
On that point, regardless of what the salespeople or owners tell you, there is a reason why people sell after one year and 95% of the time it is due to quality issues. I know there are some legitimate "oh my gosh I thought it was what i wanted but it's not" instances but as a long time owner of multiple RVs and among countless friends and family members with them, I guarantee you that it is the exception not the rule.

That being said, any RV is better than no RV so if your budget is retricted to the point of buying used instead of new to get what you want/need, then I support buying used and taking a chance.
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Old 11-18-2018, 11:43 AM   #14
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My next RV may well be 'lightly' used. The price on the new larger fivers is getting in the ridiculous range and most seem to have features I don't want (residential fridge, schwintek slides, non-gravity fill fresh tanks). So if we run across a model we want that is 1-3 years old, I'd go for it. There are some excellent used buys out there if you have the time to look around. If I'm worried about warranty, I'd buy another extended warranty from XtraRide in a heartbeat.

But on the other hand, if we found the perfect new model and Liz wanted it, she wins
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Old 11-18-2018, 11:46 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyCamper1962 View Post
[...] there is a reason why people sell after one year and 95% of the time it is due to quality issues. [...]
I'd need to see your source of data that led your quoted 95% rate.

My experience is the opposite. The reasons I see are finance (the people bought something they couldn't afford), size (they bought too large or small, people make stupid impulsive decisions), they don't use it (again, impulsive decision on a hobby that sounds fun), or something in their life changed (divorce, sickness, job change, moved, etc.). I'm sure quality is also a reason. I'm also sure that it's not driving 95% of the "early sale" market.

I don't know the percentage of how these reasons affect a person's decision to sell a 1-2 year old trailer. If someone does, I'd love to see the data.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Go West View Post
[...] I did not pay dealer-related prep or documentation fees. [...]
Good dealers don't charge this, either. When I bought new, these were not part of the deal. In fact, I bought in Indiana, so freight was $0, too. Even the dealership in CO that I worked with didn't have any doc/prep fees. The price was still too high, but that nonsense wasn't part of the contract we discussed. This is all part of the negotiating. If you negotiate the price you want only to have the dealer add in $300 in fees, e.g., then you still have work to do.

Freight, however, is nearly always an adder to the price. Some dealerships are sneaky and advertise prices less freight. So, it's not an apples-to-apples comparison to the used market (which, of course, has no freight fee).

You have to shop smart.
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Old 11-18-2018, 12:06 PM   #16
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Quote:
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It helped that I met the sellers and was confident that the trailer was well-cared for..
This ^^^^ is a key point in the discussion! I think this is also the deciding factor in the "seasoned vs inheriting problems" debate. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to know whether an RV was well cared for, in part because you may never meet the previous owner if you're going through a dealership and in part because even if you do meet them face to face, you're basically forced to take their word for it.
That said, my guess is that there are some pretty reliable indicators that would evidence the level of care that went into an RV (in those instances where you are able to meet the previous owner and when dealing with a dealership.
Some Questions for a Previous Owner:
1. Show me your mods!! Are there any? Were they done with attention to detail/workmanship/materials? Do they evidence an understand of the particular RV and of the needs of RVing in general?
2. Show me your records. Owners who keep meticulous records typically exhibits a tendency to take care of their RV properly.
3. How was it used? Lots of normal use? Or has it been sitting in storage 98% of the time? Don't underestimate the "wear and tear" on an RV from just sitting in storage - I'd much rather look at one that has been periodically used with all of its systems getting some exercise. Or the dreaded, "Let me show you the photos of our Alaska trip!!"
4. Do you mind of my good friend with waaaay more RVing experience comes along and helps me run through a thorough check list? This both adds another set of experienced eyes on the inspection, AND removes some of the emotional element.
Questions for a Dealer
I suspect these questions may be a little bit more specific to particular RV types (e.g., Class A, Class C, Fivers, TTs etc.), so this is where the Forum could help out - what sorts of objective indicators are there for your type of RV that would help you (or, with 20/20 hindsight, would have helped you) figure out whether your RV was "well cared for"?
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Old 11-18-2018, 12:57 PM   #17
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Short list:

1. Sleeping in someone else's bed.

Nothing follows.

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Old 11-18-2018, 01:15 PM   #18
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Short list:

1. Sleeping in someone else's bed.

Nothing follows.

-- Chuck
Not an unreasonable concern, but there are a couple of solutions short of totally foreclosing the option of buying a used RV:
1. Replace the mattress - noting your earlier comment that you need to make sure a replacement is generally available (some RVs have odd shaped or odd sized mattresses) and you need to factor in the cost.
2. Mattress toppers - given the quality of RV mattresses in the first place, a mattress topper provides a couple of advantages. First, it vastly improves the quality of your bed as I'm talking about the type of toppers that have 3" or 4" thick memory foam type material, not a simple cotton/quilted topper. Second, you're sleeping on essentially a "new" mattress in that you've got 3-4" of that foam between what the previous owner gave you and what God gave you . . .

Also, most of us have stayed in a hotel/motel/family member's guest room without dragging in our own mattress and lived to tell about it!
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Old 11-18-2018, 01:16 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck_S View Post
Short list:

1. Sleeping in someone else's bed.

Nothing follows.

-- Chuck
Mattresses are easy to replace with new ones. Lots of options...........

With your phobia, how do you handle public furniture like waiting rooms, restaurants, transportation, restrooms, etc, etc, etc?
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Old 11-18-2018, 01:44 PM   #20
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For me, I feel I am experienced enough and have the mechanical knowledge to check for potential problems, and troubleshoot and identify any problems that come up. I always buy used stuff to avoid the initial depreciation hit, and haven't been burnt yet. That being said, that dealer seems to be selling the used unit on the high side of the book value - see if he will throw in a 60 or 90 day warranty. We got that with our last used purchase.
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