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12 Important Tips for Buying a Used Airstream

Buying a Used Airstream

Buying a used Airstream trailer can be an exciting adventure, but it’s essential to consider a few key factors to ensure you’re making a smart investment. Here are some important tips to help you make an informed decision:

Set a budget:

Determine a reasonable budget for your purchase, taking into account any potential repairs or upgrades you may need to make after buying the trailer.

There are several websites that are great for researching prices for used Airstreams. Some of the most popular ones include:

  • Airstream Marketplace: This website is dedicated to buying and selling Airstreams and is a great resource for researching prices for used Airstreams. (source: Airstream Marketplace)
  • RV Trader: RV Trader is a popular website for buying and selling all types of RVs, including Airstreams. They offer a wide range of listings and pricing information for used Airstreams. (source: RV Trader)
  • NADA Guides: NADA Guides is a trusted source for pricing information on all types of vehicles, including RVs. They offer a comprehensive database of pricing information for used Airstreams. (source: NADA Guides)
  • Airstream Classifieds: Airstream Classifieds is another great resource for researching prices for used Airstreams. They offer a wide range of listings and pricing information for Airstreams of all types and sizes. (source: Airstream Classifieds)

Overall, these websites are great resources for researching prices for used Airstreams.

Research the different Airstream models:

When buying a used Airstream, familiarize yourself with different Airstream models, their features, and specifications. Choose a model that suits your needs, considering factors like size, weight, layout, and design. The most popular Airstream model is the Flying Cloud. It is a dual-axle travel trailer that comes in multiple floor plans and sizes, making it versatile and appealing to a wide range of customers. The Flying Cloud has been consistently popular since its debut in 1949 (source: Camper Report).

Another popular Airstream model is the Basecamp 20, which is the most popular model and floor plan according to Airstream (source: Airstream). The Basecamp 20 features a compact design with a spacious interior and is suitable for off-road adventures.The Airstream International Serenity is another popular model, known for its sleek design and luxurious features. Overall, the Flying Cloud is the most popular Airstream model due to its versatility, consistent popularity, and wide range of floor plans and sizes.

Inspect the exterior:

Look for any dents, scratches, or signs of corrosion on the trailer’s body. Check the condition of the tires, axles, and suspension system. Also, examine the hitch and towing system to ensure they are in good working order. Be sure to inspect the roof since most leaks are from old roof sealant that has cracked around the fan vents

Check for leaks:

Inspect the trailer for any signs of water damage, especially around windows, doors, and vents. Look for discoloration or soft spots on the floor and walls, which could indicate leaks.

Inspect the interior:

Before buying a used Airstream, pay close attention to the condition of the furniture, appliances, plumbing, and electrical systems. Check for any signs of wear, damage, or malfunction. Look for mold under the mattress, which may indicate a high level of moisture inside the Airstream due to either poor ventilation or leaks.

Test the systems

Make sure all systems are in working order, including the heating, air conditioning, water, and electrical systems before buying a used Airstream. Test the propane system for leaks and ensure the appliances are functioning properly.

Examine the frame and undercarriage:

Inspect the trailer’s frame and undercarriage for signs of rust, corrosion, or structural damage. Also, check the condition of the brakes and bearings.

Ask about maintenance history:

Request maintenance records and receipts from the seller before buying a used Airstream to get an idea of the trailer’s upkeep history. Reviewing the maintenance records will give you a better understanding of the Airstream trailer’s overall condition.

Hire an inspector:

If you’re not confident in your ability to assess the trailer’s condition, consider hiring a professional RV inspector before buying a used Airstream. The professional RV inspector can provide a comprehensive evaluation and help you identify any potential issues with the Airstream before purchasing.

Negotiate the price:

Based on your findings, negotiate a fair price for the Airstream trailer, taking into account any necessary repairs or upgrades.

Remember, taking the time to thoroughly inspect and evaluate a used Airstream trailer will help you make a wise investment and ensure you have a safe, comfortable, and enjoyable home on wheels.

Taking Delivery

When buying a used RV or Airstream in a private sale, the best way to pay the seller would depend on your mutual agreement and preferences. Here are some common payment methods and their pros and cons:


This is a simple and immediate form of payment. However, carrying large amounts of cash can be risky, and it may be difficult to prove the transaction took place without a proper receipt.

Cashier’s Check or Bank Draft

: This is a secure form of payment backed by a bank, and it provides a paper trail for the transaction. Be sure to get the check from a reputable bank and confirm its authenticity to avoid fraud.

Personal Check:

This can be a convenient way to pay, but the seller may want to wait until the check clears before handing over the keys to the RV or Airstream. Make sure to get a receipt for the transaction.

Wire Transfer:

This is a quick and secure way to transfer funds between bank accounts. However, it can be more expensive and less flexible than other options. Make sure to verify the seller’s account information and confirm the transfer details.

Escrow Service:

This involves a third-party holding the funds until both buyer and seller agree that the terms of the transaction have been met. This provides a level of protection for both parties but can involve additional fees.

Mobile Payment Apps:

Apps like Venmo, PayPal, or Zelle can be convenient for sending money, but they may not offer the same level of protection as other methods. Be sure to check the app’s terms of service and any fees that may apply.

Regardless of the payment method you choose, it’s essential to create a detailed bill of sale and have both parties sign it. This should include information about the RV or Airstream, the agreed-upon price, and any terms or conditions. Make sure to keep a copy of the bill of sale and any receipts for your records.

Making sure you have a Bill of Sale

Buying a used Airstream should include a Bill of Sale, which is a legal document that describes the item being sold. It’s usually necessary to transfer the title and register the Airstream to the new buyer. A bill of sale for an RV should include the following information:

  1. The names and addresses of both the buyer and seller.
  2. The date of the sale.
  3. A description of the RV, including the make, model, year, and vehicle identification number (VIN).
  4. The purchase price and method of payment.
  5. Any warranties or guarantees provided by the seller.
  6. A statement that the RV is being sold “as-is” with no warranties.

Some common mistakes that buyers make when purchasing an RV include:

  1. Not thoroughly inspecting the RV before buying it.
  2. Not verifying the seller’s ownership of the RV and ensuring that there are no liens or outstanding loans on the vehicle.
  3. Not obtaining a bill of sale or other documentation of the sale.
  4. Not registering the RV with the appropriate state agency and obtaining the necessary license plates and tags.
  5. Not obtaining insurance coverage for the RV before driving it off the seller’s property.

By including all necessary information in the bill of sale and avoiding these common mistakes, both the buyer and seller can protect themselves and ensure a smooth transaction.