Buying a New vs Used Motorhome
Author: Malcolm Street
When looking to update or get into the motorhome lifestyle for the first time there is, of course, the choice of either a used motorhome or a brand new one. Economics often dictate that particular decision, but there are reasons to think beyond that.
Here are a few things we think you need top of your list when buying a new motorhome.
With a new motorhome you usually get a brand new cab chassis. One of course with all the latest safety and comfort items, and built to the latest emission requirements. Much of our current motorhome motive power comes from Europe and the Euros have the toughest diesel emission requirements in the world. Economics kick in a bit too and that depends on the anticipated time of ownership. Anyone considering a long-term – think seven years plus – new motorhome ownership, may well work out a better economic choice. Perversely, it may well work out in the short term too, a little used motorhome with low kilometres will be an attractive sell. Still on economics, there is no doubt that turbo Diesel engines, the usual motive power for a motorhome, have become much more fuel efficient. Again the Europeans are leading the charge here.
For the cab chassis in particular, spare parts are always going to be a consideration. In Europe, Japan or the USA where there are many more vehicles than in Australia, it’s less of an issue. However, for older vehicles in Australia it’s a factor to keep in mind. Again for long-term ownership, a new vehicle may be a better prospect.
In the second-hand market, the options are simply what is for sale at the time, and if for instance an extra length bed is desired (something not always readily available), then a new motorhome might offer that choice. I say might because not all manufacturers will offer something like that, but there are some who may well do, as well as alternatives to standard layouts.
Preferences in layout design changes over time, and to some degree manufacturers have refined their layouts to make them either more functional or having a better use of space. Generally speaking appliances don’t change a great deal from year to year, but electrical systems and digital electronics have done considerably. In this area, a motorhome built 10 years ago will be somewhat different to a contemporary one, and much more efficient when living off the grid so to speak.
Construction methods change too and over the last few years there has been an increasing emphasis on using lighter weight but still strong materials. Lightweight plywood and composite panel construction being two examples. A new motorhome will have those features, but an older motorhome less so, depending on its age.
A new motorhome will be fully warranted on the body, cab chassis and appliances. In recent times, a number of manufacturers have increased considerably the warranty time on body construction in particular.
A slightly less flippant reason, is that a brand new motorhome is all yours. No one else has owned it and there’s no wondering who else might have driven it, or those lingering smells. In terms of operational damage, there are going to be no hidden surprises.
What better motivation do you need to improve your lifestyle than a brand new sparkling motorhome sitting in your driveway, garage, or storage, which has caused a considerable dent in the wallet, but will change your life forever.