Not everyone can afford a brand-new motorhome or travel trailer. In fact, few really can. Let’s face it, new motorhomes and travel trailers are expensive and those on a budget can be left out. That doesn’t mean that those of us with limited means are shut out of the marketplace, however. There’s also a huge used marketplace with all sorts of RV values to choose from.

The following article is for those on a limited budget and don’t mind trading a little elbow grease for a nice reduction in vehicle purchase price. Check out your local used RV lot or Craig’s list. You will find plenty of used vehicles and many just need a little fixing up and modernizing to make them comfortable to use and enjoy.

Often it’s just the interior

If you start looking for used RVs and campers, you will find something interesting – they don’t get used a lot. Unlike a commuter car, a motorhome or trailer gets driven (or towed a lot less,) for obvious reasons. As a result, when you start looking at used RVs, you will find that many of them have very low mileage, but are old in years. In many cases, this means you have a vehicle that is fine mechanically but not so fine cosmetically -specifically, the interior. It doesn’t take too many years before RV interiors get rather used looking. Fabrics get soiled and old, and the color combinations of a dozen or more year ago may be just unappealing. OK, it might be just nasty.

The first step

Unless you are a pro at fixing up the interiors of old RVs, the first thing you want to do is learn how. Our suggestion for acquiring that knowledge is to fire up your computer and look for the RV interior restoration videos on Youtube. You will find many of them. If they say that a picture is worth 1000 words, well, a video must be worth 10,000 then. You will find videos on home to spruce up the walls, how to sew new seat cushion covers and how to re-carpet the floors. Making new curtains is not much different from making house curtains; they are just a little smaller.  

Fixing up the interior

Once you have a good idea of how to proceed, the next step is to secure the materials and go to it. Some of these materials you can find at big chain stores like Home Depot (nuts, bolts, wood), Michaels (fabrics and fasteners), and others. Be sure to check out the specialty RV supply stores too. Most of these are on the Web and they carry most of the specialty materials.

Driver and passenger seats

If you have a motorhome and the driver and passenger seats need to be repaired, consider a professional upholsterer. Our technical consultant at Roberts Honda of Downington, a local Honda dealer in Downington, PA, explains that car-like seats are a specialty item. DIYers usually cannot change the material on a factory-made seat and achieve good results. This is one time that you need a professional automotive upholsterer to assist you. It will probably cost you a few hundred dollars but the results will be worth it.

Good luck!

Earthgarage – Greener Car. Fatter Wallet.