Buying an ex-rental
Author: Malcolm Street
When choosing a pre-loved motorhome, you may wish to consider an ex-rental, particularly if you're on a tight budget. But, like any purchase, there are always going to be pluses and minuses, to weigh up when it's time to buy so we've put together a list of what to look out for.
Generally speaking, most rental motorhomes are built for rugged use and often for first-time travellers which makes them fairly easy to use.
They often use cab-chassis and or vans either known for their reliability and/or readily-available with a cheaper range of spare parts.
Often rental motorhomes and vans are built to a budget, and therefore are quite simple in design, particularly in their interior cabinetry, great for the handyworker who likes to tinker but doesn’t have the capability for a full-blown rebuild.
Any vehicle can have inherent weaknesses surface after a few years' use. An advantage of buying any used motorhome, is that known problems can either be researched, recognised, repair-costed or discarded as appropriate.
It’s very easy to try before you buy and so get an understanding of both the motorhome lifestyle and the particular motorhome under consideration.
For the most part, rental motorhomes will have a high number of kilometres. Occassionally, though, rental motorhomes are sold much earlier than that. Across the Tasman, KEA’s NZ operation sells motorhomes used for less than a year, to allow any technical/mechanical/functional problems to show without having too many kilometres on the clock.
Almost certainly a rental motorhome will have had plenty of use, often with inexperienced drivers who come from overseas. Similarly, the users often have had minimal experience with the appliances, which can suffer accordingly. That said, most experienced rental companies will have a good back-up facility, knowing all the tricks and techniques for a quick repair.
Another recognised problem is that rental motorhome layouts are often built for a purpose. So a base vehicle normally used in a two-berth retail model can be fitted out with four- or six-berth configurations. As a result, they rarely have fixed beds, and are more likely to offer day/night lounges, so the beds have to be made up every night.