Your dream of traveling the country is finally coming true. You’re ready to pick out a used Class A motorhome to start your adventure.
But the ones in your budget all have 100,000 miles or more. Should you consider a smaller option like a Class B or C? Is your dream going to end before it has even begun?
Let’s dive in and explore what high mileage really means in an RV and what you should look out for.
When Is a Used RV Considered to Have High Mileage?
Looking at the odometer when purchasing a used motorhome should be on your checklist. But it shouldn’t be the only thing.
With so many other factors influencing the overall health of an RV, don’t let this number deter you from purchasing unless it’s combined with other red flags.
Although what counts as “high mileage” varies from one RV to the next, typically, a high mileage RV is one with more than 100,000 miles on it. For example, you should view a Class A motorhome that’s 15 years old and has 120,000 miles on it differently from a Class A motorhome that’s 10 years old with 120,000 miles on it.
However, regardless of the RV’s age, type, and location, you can expect to spend more money on maintenance and repairs on RVs with more than 100,000 miles.
Does High Mileage Vary Depending on the Type of RV?
High mileage does vary from type to type. A Class A motorhome with a diesel engine with 120,000 miles on it is different from a Class C motorhome with a gas engine and 120,0000 miles on it.
Diesel engines are built to last two to three times longer than gas engines. Some RV owners are still driving their Class A motorhomes with 300,000 miles on them.
Typically, diesel engines require less maintenance and have longer lifespans.
Pro Tip: If you’re considering buying a used RV with a high mileage already on it, this is How to Determine the Value of Used RVs.
What Is the Average Mileage on an RV?
Anywhere between 5,000-8,000 miles per year is average for an RV. Again, this varies from RVer to RVer. If you’re only taking your motorhome out for a couple of trips a year, then your mileage will be much lower than someone who travels full-time.
Considering a cross-country trip from New York to California is about 3,000 miles, this will give you a good idea of how many miles you’ll be putting on your RV.
How Many Miles Will an RV Last For?
This is very dependent upon how well you and a previous owner take care of the RV. If an owner has followed a maintenance schedule and serviced the RV regularly, it’s going to last much longer than if someone has failed to take care of their rig.
Generally speaking, RV engines are built to last anywhere between 200,000-300,000 miles. Again, motorhomes with diesel engines can last much longer.
Once your RV reaches 200,000 miles, though, you can expect to pay for some serious repairs. A mechanic may want to replace the timing belt to reduce future problems.
An RV owner may also be looking at brake work and transmission repair once the rig hits 200,000 miles. If you’re looking to purchase an RV, you typically want to avoid RVs with more than 200,000 miles on them. Some major repairs will need to happen in the near future.
Pro Tip: Make sure your hard earned money isn’t being wasted on bad MPG. We uncovered What Is the Typical RV MPG?
Is Having High Mileage on an RV Bad?
It’s not a bad thing to have an RV with more than 100,000 miles on it. These vehicles can withstand twice that amount, so you have years of exploring and traveling ahead of you.
But once you reach a higher mileage, take appropriate precautions with servicing, maintenance, and repair. The better you take care of your RV, the longer it’s going to last. You also want to replace the tires as necessary.
A high mileage RV will have tires with low tread, which could lead to dangerous driving situations.
Should You Consider Buying an RV With High Mileage?
We don’t recommend purchasing a used RV with more than 200,000 miles on it. If you’re considering a motorhome with 100,000 miles or more, you should still be cautious.
However, don’t rule out a potentially great option just because it has higher mileage.
A Class A motorhome with 120,000 miles could signify that everything is in good working condition. It could mean the owners have traveled considerably over the last 10 years. Ask how often the owners have driven it. It’s better to buy a high mileage RV that has been consistently on the road than one that has been stationary in a campground for a decade.
Also, ask about maintenance and service records. You can also look up the VIN to find additional information about claims, accidents, repairs, etc.
If they’ve taken care of the motorhome, it’s a positive sign that the RV is still in good condition. It probably has tens of thousands of miles of life left.
Don’t Judge Only by the Numbers
Typically, you can expect all three classes to give you 200,000 miles if you take care of it. Sometimes age is also a factor. The average lifespan of an RV is 20 years.
If you want your motorhome to last longer, get the oil changed regularly, lubricate the slides and moving parts regularly, change the brake pads, replace the fluids, and perform other maintenance tasks. Don’t let a number scare you.
If you see that odometer turn to 100,000, be proud that your RV has lasted that long. Look forward to another 100,000 miles of adventures!
What does your odometer read? Tell us in the comments below!
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Friday 3rd of December 2021
On the other side of the picture I have purchased RVs with very low mileage and had problems with components being bad from lack of use. I put about 10 to 30 thousand miles a year on my RV's. Maintance is truly a key factor, and it's all guaranteed to break. 😆
Friday 3rd of December 2021
My wife and I have owned a class C and a 5th wheel after having these and being new and constantly needing repairs. We got them traded we purchased a 1999 Winnebago class A the motorhome it has 171,000 miles. Then a really nice person help himself to our catiltic converter so I took it to fixed and a once-over inspection the mechanic gave it thumbs up. He said however it would need rear suspension bushings schocks brakes had about 1/4 pads left. High mileage to me wasn't that important just because the unit looked great inside and out.