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Buying A Used Fifth-Wheel Camper: 7+ Things You Must Check For

How do you buy a used fifth wheel? There are many things to look for when buying a used fifth wheel, and you need to carefully check each one before buying. Knowing what you should check before buying a used RV is important, and each RV is different. 

a fifth wheel camper beside a lake in Canada

What is a Fifth Wheel Camper?

Fifth heels are a different kind of travel trailer. They are extended to go over a truck bed to provide a bi-level, extra sleeping space.

Fifth wheels can only be towed by pickup trucks, and require a particular kind of hitch called a fifth wheel hitch.

Here are the most important things to be mindful of when buying a used fifth wheel.

1. Check the Wheels

Because fifth wheels are trailers, it is very important to keep care of the wheels and structural alignment. The wheels are what get you and your fifth wheel from point A to B, so if there’s any damage or too much wear and tear, it can cause you to lose fuel economy at best, and damage your truck or wreck the fifth wheel at worst. If the wheel wells are rusted, the wheels aren’t aligned, or there’s anything wrong with the wheels or wheel bearings, you’ll either want to pass on that particular fifth wheel or negotiate the price of fixing it into the sale. 

2. Check the Hitch

A fifth wheel hitch is a very specific kind of hitch that requires proper maintenance and care. A fifth wheel hitch latches itself to the bed of a truck and holds the fifth wheel in place. Not only do you have to make sure that the hitch has been well maintained and isn’t damaged, you will also need to make sure that the hitch fits in your truck and will stay secure.

3. Check the Amenities

Like most RVs, fifth wheels come with a shower/bathroom, kitchenette, and sleeping quarters. Make sure that everything is both clean and in working order. A kitchenette with a faulty stove would put quite the damper on a trip, but it wouldn’t be nearly as upsetting as a faulty toilet. Every amenity should be clean, work properly, and have

4. Check the Legs/Leveller

You’re going to want to make sure your new fifth wheel has two legs to stand on…literally! Fifth wheels hitch to the back of a pick up truck, so they are unable to freely stand unless the legs are unfolded. Make sure these legs are stable, level, and fold easily! You don’t want to arrive at your campsite after a long day of driving only to struggle to get your camper’s legs down. Make sure that none of the parts are rusted and that everything moves smoothly!

5. Check the Hookups (water/electricity/sewage)

A major item to check whenever you’re buying a used RV are the different connections. You want to make sure that the power connections are in great condition, because if they aren’t you will end up with no power, heat, or any of the major perks to RV camping. You also will want to ensure that the water connection is in working order. One of the great things about fifth wheels is the fresh water connection. This is for your showers, washing hands, cooking, etc., so you definitely want to ensure that it works. Finally, the sewer hose connection. This is the more important one, in a way, as without a proper seal and good quality hose, smells can come forth — and you don’t want that. It may be a good idea to have a professional check all these connections, as it can be difficult to tell just by glancing.  

6. Check for Rust & Mould

Go through the entire fifth wheel to check for rust, mould, and any other damage like water damage, cracks in the siding, and wear and tear. Mould and rust are harder to repair and get rid of, so finding those may be what causes you to pass on a fifth wheel. Other damage can often be fixed up, or it’s simply cosmetic and that may not bother you as much.

7. Check your Truck

Finally, before buying a fifth wheel trailer, check that your truck is actually capable of towing it. Fifth wheels can’t be towed by any vehicle with enough horsepower, they require a pickup truck that is able to handle the fifth wheel hitch and the weight of the trailer. Ask a mechanic or RV mechanic if your truck can handle towing a fifth wheel, and if a fifth wheel hitch would properly fit in your truck bed. You don’t want to buy a fifth wheel only to learn that you can’t actually use it unless you buy a new vehicle! 

Grove RV proudly boasts a large selection of both new fifth-wheel campers and used fifth-wheel campers in our large Spruce Grove showroom, minutes west of Edmonton.

Still have a few questions about choosing the right fifth-wheel camper for your family? Our team of experienced RV experts would love to speak with you! Get in touch today.

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