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New vs. Used Travel Trailers: 5+ Important Things To Consider Before Buying

So, you’ve made the decision to buy a travel trailer. The next step is to decide whether you want to purchase a used (or, pre-owned) RV or a brand new one.

Just like cars and houses, there are many variables that can influence your decision, and it all comes down to what is right for you. Things to consider are where you’re getting your travel trailer from, the record of ownership, accidents, how well it has been taken care of, and cost.

Where is Your Travel Trailer Coming From?

When buying a travel trailer, there are many options to choose where you buy.

New Travel Trailers

For new trailers, you can purchase straight from the manufacturer or from a dealership. Manufacturers will often let you do more customizations for your travel trailer, while dealerships allow you to shop around, look at a variety of brands and styles, and make your choice from there.

Used Travel Trailers

For used travel trailers, you can purchase from dealerships, buy and sells, or from friends.

You’re usually safe buying from a friend as you will know the background of the trailer, whether there have been any issues or accidents, and other considerations.

Buy and sells, on the other hand, are less safe as you don’t know the history of the trailer and whether or not you’re accidentally purchasing a lemon.

Dealerships are the safest option, as they allow you to shop around and look at a wide selection of travel trailers without having to worry about problems. Trailers from a dealership have to pass inspections before they are resold, so you know when you buy a used travel trailer from a dealership you will be treated fairly.

Record of Ownership

It’s important to know the kind of people, and how many people, have owned your travel trailer before you buy it.

New Travel Trailers

When you purchase a new trailer, obviously you will be the only person who has owned that trailer, so you will likely be okay with the lifestyle of the first set of owners.

Used Travel Trailers

Used travel trailers, on the other hand, will have had previous owners and you should always check how many, and who they were (if you can).

If the trailer was previously owned by a family of 6 who took their trailer to travel around the country for weeks at a time for 6 summers in a row, it will likely have a lot more wear and tear than a trailer previously owned by a family of 2 who took it out for one weekend a summer for 3 years, and realized they didn’t use it enough to own. If you are a non-smoking family, you will likely want to know that a non-smoking family previously owned the RV you’re looking to purchase.

Another consideration about past-owner history would be where they took the trailer (did they go easy on the trailer and only go to lots and parks, or did they take the trailer out to rougher terrain that was harder on it).

The RVs history of owners is important to look into when you consider buying pre-owned.

Is It Mechanically Sound?

New Travel Trailers

You can definitely rest assured in knowing new RVs will be mechanically sound and guaranteed to run smoothly.

Used travel trailers, on the other hand, require a closer look.

Used Travel Trailers

Just the same way you wouldn’t be able to perform a thorough health physical on your spouse, most RV buyers aren’t able to properly examine all of the mechanical features of travel trailers, either.

At Grove RV, Used RV Inspections are actually one of our best selling service packages. For a couple of hundred dollars, you can have an experienced RV mechanic will be able to thoroughly inspect the propane system, the lights and water systems to provide some valuable insight as to whether you’ve found a good buy or not.

Has the Travel Trailer Been in an Accident?

Just like buying a car, someone selling you a travel trailer that has been in an accident is required to disclose that information if you ask, so make sure you do.

New Travel Trailers

It is highly unlikely, if not impossible, that your new travel trailer will have gotten in any accidents on the lot, so you’re safe there.

Used Travel Trailers

However, accidents are very much a possibility when buying a used trailer. Be sure to ask about any accidents, and, if there have been any, get a record of service and an inspection by a mechanic.

Some accidents look to be only cosmetic, but when you dive deeper there could be stress on parts that cause major issues along the way.

When buying from a dealership, all that information will have been collected and inspections would have already been done, but if you choose to buy from a buy and sell you will need to ensure that you get all the accident information and an inspection yourself.

Was the Travel Trailer Well Loved?

This section of information is similar to our last two points, but also encapsulates other considerations to make when buying new or used.

New Travel Trailers

When purchasing a new travel trailer, your trailer will have been made to industry standards, so everything will be in tip-top shape with the kitchen, bathrooms, connections, etc. made to the original design.

Used Travel Trailers

Used travel trailers need to be checked that they were taken care of and properly maintained, but there can also be an added benefit to used trailers.

Previous owners that truly loved their trailer could have made some changes over the years that make the used trailer extra special.

Maybe they bought some fancy rims for the wheels, or they painted it a beautiful colour, or added some very classy window trimmings and artwork.

A well loved, used travel trailer can be a bonus when choosing to purchase.


The big dollar sign. This consideration can definitely sway a vote towards used travel trailers. Used trailers cost less than new ones, and a less expensive choice can be an appealing one, for sure.

New Travel Trailers

However, be sure to do a proper cost/benefit analysis before you simply choose your least expensive option.

New trailers cost more because there are no miles driven, they have never been used so all their water, power, towing, etc. connections are still in perfect condition, and all the other features haven’t been worn or used.

Used Travel Trailers

You can get a perfectly functional, if not amazing, used travel trailer for less money than a new one, but that is not always the case. So be sure to do your due diligence and make sure the price is right for you.

If you plan on using your trailer for most weekends/multiple weeks in the spring and summer, a new travel trailer may be worth the investment, and if you’re just trying out RV camping for the first time, a pre-owned travel trailer may be a good choice instead.

The right price all comes down to what is right for your family!

Considering a Travel Trailer?

Choosing to buy a travel trailer is a big choice, and deciding on new or used is an important one!

Make sure to ask as many questions as you can think of regarding the history of the used trailer, it’s always better safe than sorry.

Buying new means you get a great camper, but the investment can be daunting.

Do what’s right for you, and happy camping!

Grove RV proudly boasts a large selection of both new travel trailers and used travel trailers in our large Spruce Grove showroom, minutes west of Edmonton.

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

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