Buying a 20 Year Old Motorhome – Things To Know!

If you’re looking to buy a van, but are on a tight budget, then opting for one that is older and has more miles will be your best option. However, with older vehicles come both seen and unseen issues. So early identification of those issues can help you stick to your budget but still be satisfied with your purchase.

When buying a 20 year old motorhome, the most important things to know are if it has damp and is in need of repairs or replacement parts. Any older RV is all but guaranteed to need repair at some point, and you’re not able or willing to pay those costs, a younger model motorhome may be better.

Let us delve into the most important things you need to know when buying a 20-year-old motorhome. I’ll cover dampness, costs of repairs, how to find spare parts, and more. Plus, I’ll suggest some solutions for any issues that need fixing.

Are Older Motorhomes More Likely To Have Damp?

Older motorhomes are more likely to have damp. Moisture can build up within a motorhome due to steam from cooking, showering, and entering the motorhome with wet clothes. Another factor can be rain entering through awning rails, doors, gaps around windows, and roof lights. 

So yes, unless the previous owners stayed on top of the issue, damp is very likely.

Dampness is an issue that needs to be addressed the moment you see it. According to motorhome, dampness can cause several problems within your motorhome. Damp that lingers within the ceilings, colors, and walls lead to mold and mildew, which will rot timber framework and rust any metal parts. 

Mold and mildew can also exacerbate health issues. Allergens, irritants, and toxic substances are all caused by mold production. Simply touching or inhaling mold spores can trigger an allergic reaction or asthma attack. And if you have a weakened immune system, mold and mildew can be extra dangerous to you.

Have a full damp test carried out by a professional. If you notice severe dampness, consider whether you want to proceed and ensure the asking price reflects the level of repair work needed. If you don’t feel the price is within your budget or accurately reflects the amount of work, then we do not recommend proceeding with this purchase.

Costs of Replacement/New Parts & Upgrades

Youtubers Roaming with Rosie purchased a 20-year-old motorhome they named Rosie. In their video Purchased A 20 YR Old Motorhome What Were We Thinking? One Year Review, they go over their pros and cons list for purchasing Rosie and if they would do it again.

In this video, they mention a lot of unforeseen costs that went into Rosie. They had to get the radiator replaced, which cost them five grand. They had to replace two of their tires, which was another $750. They needed new batteries for Rosie, 2 Lion Energy Lithium batteries which cost another $1500. 

A new toilet was another $285. And for one of the interior upgrades, they purchased and installed RecPro Recliners, which cost $950. They also bought new flooring, which was another $500. So all these costs added up to $8985, which is the price of a decent used car.

If you’d like learn more about their experience, here’s the full video:

So, if you’re on a tight budget with minimal room for unforeseen replacements or upgrades, a 20+-year-old motorhome might be more than you can afford. Before purchasing a motorhome, it’s important to know what to look for in terms of parts that need upgrading, as this could save you a lot of money in the long run.

Are Spare Parts Available for Motorhomes 20+ Years Old?

Spare parts are available for motorhomes over 20 years old, yet not for all models. Junkyards have a wide range of spare parts, and any RV dealers in your area or online should have some older parts available, too. However, many older RV companies are out of business and not making parts anymore. 

Though the people at Roaming with Rosie were able to find their spare parts remarkably easily, it will not be that easy for everyone. But you know what they say, where there is a will, there is a way.

With the Internet at our fingertips, there are plenty of ways we can find the things we need. It might take some deep searching, but locating what you are looking for somewhere is possible. 

The most significant factor in all of this is whether you are willing to put in the time and effort to find those spare parts. Searching for spare parts can be a frustrating task that may lead to some dead ends before finding the one that pans out.

So are you willing to put yourself through all that frustration and all those headaches for this motorhome? Are you willing to possibly hit dead end after dead end? If the answer is no, we do not recommend purchasing a 20+ motorhome.

Are Older Motorhomes Hard To Insure?

Older motorhomes are hard to insure compared to getting a regular car insured in that there are more steps needed. However, the process sounds more complicated than it is, and once you obtain any motorhome insurance, it’s easy to get additional, or new motorhomes insured. 

You cannot legally drive around with motorhome insurance, even for a vehicle you are only using for vacation or other recreational purposes.

Understandably, this is one of those things that make people frustrated and give them headaches, but I’m here to ease the pain. Let us discuss insuring your older motorhome. 

The website recommends taking these three steps to get your vintage motorhome insured:

  1. Get the motorhome appraised. Contacting well-known vintage motorhome appraisers can help you get the most accurate appraisal in your motorhome.
  2. Find companies that write vintage motorhome insurance policies. RV Advantage and Progressive Insurance are two companies that will write vintage RV insurance policies. 
  3. Obtain an “Agreed Upon Value” policy. This policy means both you and the insurance provider understand what your vintage motorhome is worth. This policy means you will receive compensation for that amount should you lose your motorhome in an accident.

Another site,, gives actual insurance prices that some companies have. With Progressive, the average premium for a 12-month RV insurance policy was $848 for a motorhome in 2020. But Overland Insurance Services quotes their full-time RV insurance costs an average of $1,500. However, policy prices will fluctuate depending on the RV size.

Are Old Diesel Motorhomes Going To Be Banned?

Old diesel motorhomes are going to be banned by 2030. The deadline is then set at 2050 for all caravan and RV companies to change their motorhome manufacturing over to zero-emissions. The objective is to remove all vehicles emitting CO2, as supported by a registration ban planned for 2040. 

Environmental awareness is on the constant rise. Diesel is proven to be harmful to the environment with its contribution to ground-level ozone that damages vegetation and its production of acid rain, which impacts our entire ecosystem.

So with society wanting to move toward more eco-friendly and environmentally conscious decisions, we will start moving away from things that harm our environment.

The UK has already begun to put this ban in motion. In addition, California has an executive order banning the sale of new gas or diesel vehicles by 2035. Truck manufacturers must begin the transition from diesel to zero-emission trucks in 2024, with a full zero-emission expectation of 2045. 

Unfortunately, for these reasons, you might want to think twice about purchasing that older motorhome if you need to give up in ten years. Depending on your situation, it could be better to save up for a newer, legal motorhome in 10 years.

For more information about this, check out this article from

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