The Pros and Cons of Buying a Premium Ex-Rental Motorhome


Motorhome driving in the mountains of the South Island


With the excitement of purchasing a recreational vehicle on the horizon, a choice between buying brand new, used or a premium ex-rental often emerges. Ex-rental motorhomes can be a compelling option but are they value for money?

In this blog, we explore the advantages of buying a premium ex-rental motorhome, like affordability, after sales support and lower depreciation — and the perceived disadvantages such as high mileage and reliability.





Purchasing an ex-rental recreational vehicle

In the world of RV ownership, the concept of buying an ex-rental motorhome often conjures up images of a used vehicle with a questionable history.


The stigma attached to ex-rentals is understandable, given the perception that they've been subjected to constant use and may not have been well maintained. However, there exists a segment of the ex-rental market that challenges this perception — premium ex-rentals.

Premium ex-rentals are relatively new motorhomes around four to five years old with low mileage. They’ve been carefully maintained and upgraded to meet the needs of discerning buyers like you.

While most rental operators in the industry hold on to their fleet for eight to ten years, or even longer, a select few choose to sell their vehicles after just a few seasons. This creates an opportunity for you to acquire a high-quality motorhome in excellent condition — and at a very competitive price.

Handing over the keys for a newly bought motorhome



Pros of buying a premium ex-rental motorhome

From cost savings and a recorded history of maintenance to lower depreciation and after sales support, premium ex-rental motorhomes offer plenty of advantages.


More affordable

Like many things in life, the used version typically costs less than the brand new one. The same goes in the recreational vehicle market — you can expect to pay less for an ex-rental motorhome than for the same model, new.

A few rental operators regularly sell their motorhomes to ensure that they’re:

  • Renewing their fleet — by continually keeping it modern and up to date
  • Countering rising maintenance costs — as RVs age, they need more frequent repairs and maintenance so selling older models reduces this growing burden and shifts the focus onto newer motorhomes
  • Meeting customer expectations — short-term motorhome holiday hirers want modern comforts and technology in a vehicle that feels new.

Well maintained condition

A rental operator with the right business model will have effective processes in place to routinely check, maintain and repair issues with vehicles in their fleet. The reputation of the company depends on providing customers with reliable vehicles that run well and won’t break down.

If you’re in the initial stages of exploring what a specific dealer has to offer, you can gain confidence from viewing how their ex-rentals are presented. Also, be sure to check the operator’s online hire reviews and their sales reviews.

Motorhome in a workshop receiving maintenance


Benefits of buying a used motorhome with a service history

There are some convincing reasons for purchasing a premium ex-rental motorhome with a maintenance history, including that it:

  1. Lowers the risk of mechanical issues — due to the regular care taken to look after the motorhome
  2. Supports warranty claims — if there are any issues after you buy, you may need to show details of previous maintenance to back up warranty claims or get help from the dealer
  3. Assists with proactively detecting potential problems — like recurring issues or parts of the motorhome that require attention
  4. Informs your decision making — giving you valuable insights into the motorhome’s current condition
  5. Strengthens the resale value — ensuring buyers have confidence in the motorhome's condition, making it more likely to retain its value
  6. Offers reassurance of responsible ownership — by showing that the rental operator or private seller took good care of the recreational vehicle
  7. Helps create trust and peace of mind.


Try before you buy

Did you know that some motorhome operators will let you try out an RV before potentially buying one? This will usually involve hiring one of the dealer’s rental motorhomes for a period of time, so you can:

  • Experience what it’s like to holiday in
  • See if the layout suits your desired RV lifestyle
  • Judge if the motorhome stands up to the rigours of your planned road trips
  • Determine if the company is one you want to deal with.

Ask if you can rent a similar model to one that takes your interest. If you decide to buy, you may get a refund of a portion of your hire term. Learn more about how you can try a motorhome rental before you buy one.


Driving a motorhome through the mountains with snow


Lower depreciation expense

Buying a premium ex-rental, compared to purchasing a new motorhome, will save you money on the amount of total depreciation you’ll need to write off over time. The main reason for this scenario is that the initial depreciation outlay has already occurred — during the first few years of the RV’s life as a rental.

You won’t lose as much value in your investment over time as you would have if you’d purchased new.

Play around with our motorhome depreciation calculator to get a clearer idea of how depreciation works with motorhomes. Although this calculator is intended for a new motorhome, you can still enter what your premium ex-rental would cost new and review the years beyond its current age.

Find out more in our motorhome depreciation guide.

After sales support

You can rest assured that premium ex-rental motorhomes from reputable dealers have been well-maintained and kept in great working order — so they meet New Zealand’s safety standards.

Check whether the balance of the manufacturer’s warranty for water tightness extends to you if you decide to purchase. The dealer may also offer a warranty for the chassis and fit out on their used motorhomes.

In addition to a warranty, maintenance, repairs and parts replacement may also be provided as part of the dealer’s after sales support services.

A man doing some maintenance work on a motorhome in a workshop


On-hand parts and accessories


Purchasing from a dealer with a trusted reputation that carries a plentiful supply of parts on hand (to support their rental business) is an obvious advantage. Look for premium ex-rental motorhomes that are backed up and supported by a parts department — to save you from future frustration.

If you plan on buying a European-manufactured motorhome, for instance, you’ll want parts available on the ground in New Zealand to avoid long wait times.

Also ask the dealer if they keep any accessories in stock if you’re thinking about adding items like a solar panel system, a satellite dish or an awning to your RV. See which campervan accessories make our top ten.


Man sitting by his motorhome with the garage open


Peace of mind


Research which ex-rental dealers are the most trusted, honest and respected in the market. By doing so, you’ll set your negotiating up for a positive outcome at sale — and peace of mind after the sale.

The feeling that you’ve made the right choice will be enhanced by purchasing a motorhome that’s been well maintained, and even refurbished to a high standard. Your future travels will involve lesser likelihood of breakdowns thanks to routine servicing.

Upgrades and improvements

Track down dealers who make significant upgrades and improvements to their ex-rental motorhomes for sale


Benefits of buying from a reputable dealership

Take your time to establish which dealers are the most trustworthy and well-reviewed — and you’ll be starting your used motorhome journey off the right way. Some advantages of purchasing a motorhome from a reputable dealer are:

  1. Warranty and after sales support — a registered and reputable dealer will give you a three-month warranty when buying a used motorhome for your protection and peace of mind, whereas a private seller won't offer anything
  2. Assurance of quality — you can expect a certain standard of quality, reliability and safety as honourable dealers will often refurbish their used motorhomes prior to selling them
  3. Professional advice — you’ll enjoy expert guidance and advice from the dealer’s knowledgeable staff
  4. Legal protection — a reputable dealer will comply with the Consumer Guarantees Act and the Fair Trading Act while providing the proper documentation for a secure transaction
  5. Finance and trade-in options — you may get access to financing or be able to facilitate a trade-in through a respectable dealer
  6. Past clientele — premium ex-rental motorhomes are more likely to have been hired by people prepared to pay more and look after the vehicle, compared to the cheaper end of the market.

Get in contact with us if you’re considering purchasing a premium ex-rental motorhome.




Cons of buying an ex-rental motorhome

Purchasing a used ex-rental RV also comes with its potential drawbacks, from higher mileage to unreliability and hidden issues to wear and tear.


Higher mileage


When considering the mileage of a used motorhome, keep in mind that a high kilometre count should be looked upon in the context of how much longer the RV will give you trouble-free motorhoming.

Certain makes of motorhome will keep going for longer, as their construction is more durable and less susceptible to wear and tear. Bürstner, HYMER and Carado are examples of these.

Higher mileage shows that a motorhome has been driven more extensively over its life. An ex-rental RV will typically travel more kilometres than a privately owned one — due to its frequency of use.

Increased usage can lead to more wear and tear on various parts of the motorhome, which may lead to repair costs further down the road. However, it’s also important to find out how well the motorhome has been cared for.

A privately owned RV may have relatively lower miles on the clock but has been poorly serviced and looked after, for instance. Whereas an ex-rental may have done comparatively higher miles yet been well cared for and serviced frequently.

Is high mileage a dealbreaker?

It doesn’t have to be. Higher mileage can be a potential indicator of wear and tear on a motorhome but there are other factors to consider, like:

  • The motorhome’s condition — it’s important to check the RV for wear and tear, and to assess its maintenance and service history, as it may be in better condition than some lower mileage motorhomes

  • The dealer’s reputation — look into how well the rental operator looks after its fleet, and whether it provides a warranty and allows pre-purchase inspections

  • Age of the vehicle — even though an ex-rental may have high mileage, the motorhome’s age is likely to be relatively young so it will contain more modern features.


Mechanic inspecting a motorhome's suspension


Wear and tear

Normal wear and tear is an expected outcome of using any vehicle. When considering the purchase of a used ex-rental motorhome, it can be a notable disadvantage. On some ex-rental RVs you may notice significant wear and tear on the interior, exterior, mechanical components, systems and appliances.

Wear and tear can compromise the performance of the motorhome and potentially lead to post-purchase repairs. If it’s excessive, a reduced lifespan and lower resale value compared to a well-maintained motorhome are also possible consequences.

Prior to making your purchase decision, you can mitigate the issue of wear and tear by:

  • Shopping around for a dealer that comprehensively refurbishes their used motorhomes for sale
  • Inspecting your prospective motorhome thoroughly — paying particular attention to the condition of the mechanical components, furnishings, systems and appliances
  • Reviewing the RV’s maintenance history — to see if the vehicle has been regularly serviced and repaired
  • Negotiating the price — factoring in the extent of wear and tear plus any potential repair costs
  • Organising a pre-purchase inspection — by asking a qualified mechanic to look for any hidden mechanical issues.

The best rental operators look after their motorhomes

There can be a perception that ex-rental vehicles are rundown and unreliable when they’re sold off at the end of their rental life. However, in reality, this often isn’t the case.

The best rental operators maintain and service their vehicles regularly to ensure customer satisfaction, reliability and safety during their rental life. By the time they’re retired from the rental fleet, they’re usually in a great used condition — due to how well they’ve been looked after


Reliability issues

Hire vehicles can endure rigorous and continuous use when in a rental fleet under some operators. Such a scenario can understandably lead to you questioning their reliability when they come to the end of their rental life — and are eventually sold.


Reputation is crucial

The key aspect to look for when assessing whether an ex-rental motorhome is likely to be unreliable is the strength of the reputation of the hire company.


How well they operate and look after their customers will be a strong indication of how well they maintain and look after their motorhomes.


The overall condition of each motorhome, alongside knowing that regular maintenance and servicing were done, will back up that reputation.


Weigh up the pros and cons of buying a premium ex-rental motorhome to determine whether it’s the right choice for you.

Issues like higher mileage and wear and tear can be overcome by searching for the best rental operators. These dealers with a strong reputation, excellent service, complete maintenance records and after sales support are the ones to talk to.



Download our due diligence checklist and follow the steps of purchasing a used motorhome from a dealer.


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