How does RV depreciation work?
Like all vehicles, RVs depreciate over time. You can determine an RVs depreciation by the vehicle's age, mileage, wear and tear, and the type of RV you own. Class A and Class B vehicles depreciate similarly, while Class C RVs depreciate more slowly and hold value slightly better. Travel trailers and fifth wheels also depreciate over time. The best way to manage RV depreciation is to keep your vehicle clean and well-maintained.
How much does an RV depreciate per year?
The exact rate of depreciation varies depending on the make and model of your RV and how well you maintain it. Brand-new RVs start losing value as soon as they're driven off the lot and continue to lose value throughout the first year rapidly. The RV depreciation rate increases at a steady rate after that until your RV hits double digits in age. Once an RV is ten years old or older, its value drops more rapidly.
According to Camper Report, an article which contains a RV depreciation schedule, "Depreciation on motorhomes is much more closely tied to the year of the motorhome and NOT the mileage."
How to slow the average depreciation rate on an RV
The best way to preserve the value of your RV is to keep it clean and serviced. An RV that's banged up with dents, peeling paint, or any signs of rust will depreciate much faster than a vehicle that's in great shape. Have your RV washed and waxed regularly to keep the exterior looking good, clean the interior often, and schedule a yearly checkup with a mechanic. When maintenance issues arise, address them as soon as possible. Depending on the issue and the type of RV insurance coverage, your RV insurance may provide coverage. Learn more about how RV insurance works.
One of the most vulnerable elements of your RV is your roof. Whether you are in the hot dry sun or snow and rain, maintaining the integrity of your RV’s roof is essential to protecting your investment. Your manufacturer will recommend how often to clean and seal your roof, but this should be done no less than once each year. Ensuring your roof is clean and sealed is one of the most important steps you can take to preserve the integrity of the roof and the longevity of your RV. When you get your annual RV inspection which your state may require, you can make sure that the roof continues to be in good shape.
How you store your vehicle can also impact your motorhome depreciation rate. Make sure you properly winterize your RV before putting it in storage for the colder months. It's also a good idea to store a motorhome undercover to protect it from the elements like rain, snow, and damaging sunlight.
What RV holds its value the best?
Among the three main types of RVs, Class C vehicles generally hold their value best. Class A and Class B RV depreciation tends to happen slightly more quickly. If you're interested in a camper you can tow, fifth-wheel campers generally depreciate more quickly than standard RVs. The rate of truck camper depreciation is significantly lower. An RV's brand can also be a significant determining factor in depreciation.
The type of RV materials used can slow depreciation. Molded fiberglass is an excellent option, along with treated aluminum alloy, which the manufacturer uses to build Airstream vehicles. These materials are hardy and hold up well against major wear and tear. They're less likely to face denting, water damage, or other forms of exterior deterioration that you may find with RVs built from different materials.
Low mileage isn't always a good thing for RV depreciation. If the odometer is too low, this can be a sign that the RV hasn't spent enough time on the road. Manufacturers build RVs to be driven, so if a vehicle has spent long periods sitting stationary, it may have some underlying faulty conditions.
Do travel trailers hold their value?
Like other RVs, travel trailers also depreciate over time. The travel trailer depreciation rate is mostly on par with motorhomes for the first five years. After that, motorhomes continue to depreciate, but the depreciation rate on travel trailers hits a plateau.
The RV depreciation rate will be slower for the remainder of the trailer's lifespan. If you keep it in excellent condition, you may be able to use your travel trailer for about 15 to 20 years. Learn more about travel trailer insurance.