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How long do travel trailers last?

Published on Jun-08,2022 by Richard Barrios


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How long does a travel trailer last? What are the best travel trailer brands to consider before purchasing? All of these questions will naturally pop into your mind when you intend to buy a camper. In the course of this article, we'll answer all of your questions, and list out tips you can implement to keep your travel trailer in a good condition for many years.

The average lifespan of a travel trailer is dependent on proper maintenance, and the travel trailer brand.

Nobody wants to purchase a travel trailer that'll disappoint them during a camping trip due to different issues like water damage or any other substantial damage. A good quality travel trailer can last anywhere from 10 years to 30 years, but it can be quite expensive to purchase.

What are the factors that affect the durability of a travel trailer?

Before purchasing a new travel trailer, it only makes sense that you understand the factors to look out for, so you don't end up having to repair and replace parts of the trailer in a short while. Even if you intend to purchase a used travel trailer, you should look out for these signs, so you don't buy a travel trailer that isn't a worthy investment.

Build Quality 

When going for a travel trailer, you need to be particular about the interior and exterior of the trailer. Long-lasting travel trailers usually have the best build quality, although they are expensive, it's worth every penny.

The roofs and walls of a travel trailer need to be constructed with the finest materials. Investing in motorhomes with cheap and inexpensive materials means your travel trailer will most likely not survive more than two seasons.

Regular Maintenance

Proper maintenance of your travel trailer is important if you intend to extend the life expectancy of your trailer. Regular cleaning up after each camping trip, winterizing before winter, checking the tire pressure, changing the rv batteries etc., are all measures you can use to increase the average life of your travel trailer. When you have a clean travel trailer, you'll be more likely to notice any damage to your rv roof, signs of water leaks or scruffs and dents.

Maintaining your rv has nothing to do with its quality and price; no matter how expensive your camper is, without proper maintenance, it's more susceptible to damage.

Usage

How often you use your travel trailer plays a role in its lifespan estimate. Travel trailer owners who use their rvs frequently will have a shorter lifespan in comparison to seasoned campers.

If you use your travel trailer all the time, you'll need to ensure you take extra care of it and be careful about where you store it.

Slideouts

Slide outs are personal choices, but travel trailers with slide outs usually reduce the space in the trailer. Not only does it eat up space, but sometimes the slide outs get stuck when open or they might not even open up at all.

Slide outs are difficult to maintain, and not a worthy hassle. However, it's all up to you.

What is the average lifespan of a travel trailer?

At a minimum, your travel trailer needs to be able to last for 10 years. You might be able to prolong its longevity and add about two to five years by taking good care of it. However, some travel trailers can last up to 30 years with proper usage. The most important thing is how well you take care of your camper; rvs with roof leaks, wear and tear and water damage cannot last for long periods.

What can shorten the lifespan of your travel trailer?

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Certain factors decide the longevity of your travel trailer, and without proper care, you'll end up having a damaged trailer in less than two years after purchase. Some of the issues that can impact your trailer to a significant amount include:

Leaks From Holding Tanks

All trailers have holding tanks, and you should be concerned about how well you use them. There are three types, the blackwater tank where the toilet waste goes, the fresh water tank that sends potable water to your sink, and finally the gray water tank designed for shower waste.

These tanks get full when it's very normal for them to leak. So, when the waste doesn't have anywhere to stay, they overflow into your travel trailer. It's very common for the holding tanks to have cracks, however, when it happens, you can get a professional plumber to take a look at it.

Water leaks that happen as a result of leaking holding tanks can cause severe damage to your trailer, and it might even cause you to replace your camper. Immediately repairing your rv when you notice these cracks will save you a lot in decades to come.

Roof Damage

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Rv roofs are to be protected at all costs, and without regular maintenance, you'd have a damaged travel trailer on your hands sooner than you expect.

With modern travel trailers, you need to be careful when driving into campgrounds with low-positioned obstacles. That's because it's easy for your travel trailer roof to get attached to stuff that can puncture it or cause serious damage. For example, a sign post can scratch through your rv roof, and if you don't notice that on time, it can lead to a more serious issue in the future. For those who enjoy the rving life, take out time to occasionally inspect the top of your trailer roof for leaks or any damage. Be mindful of the broken seals around your roof; when they start to rot, make sure you get the sealant replaced.

For your own protection, you need to ensure your roof is well maintained; if you notice anything wrong whether in the first year or after a decade. determine the cause and get it fixed ASAP.

Bad Batteries

Different travel trailer brands might either come with marine or deep cycle batteries, and you need to always check on your battery before it gets damaged. Leaving damaged batteries in your trailer can shorten its average life span.

The key is to keep your battery fully charged, and make sure you change it every 3-5 years. Allowing your battery to frequently go below 50% will reduce its life span.

Damaged Electrical Components

When you have bad electrical lines it could affect a lot of things, ranging from the interior and exterior lights to even the brakes. Your brakes are important, not just for the longevity of your trailer, but for your life as well.

When you notice issues with your lights, it could be your converter is faulty, and this can even affect the durability of your batteries. So, if your travel trailer has a faulty line that has affected different appliances as well, then it may be time to start saving for a new travel trailer.

Damaged Awning

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One important thing you should never ignore is the fixing of your awning when you notice any tear. Also, when left dirty, it can lead to a build-up of mildew and over the years it'll worsen the condition of your trailer.

Not checking your awning regularly will cause damages that might be beyond repair when it's too late.

Tires

To ensure your travel trailer last for more than a few years, you need to be conscious about your rv tires. Overloading your travel trailer can have a long-term effect on it, and can use the rubber tires to have cracks.

What types of travel trailers last longest?

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There are lots of travel trailer manufacturers, and you need to make your research to be sure of what each manufacturer has to offer. However, in this article, we'll give you a list of travel trailer brands that provide real value for your money. For this list, we have considered quality, durability, and of course price.

  • Airstream

  • Black Series

  • Jayco

  • Lance Campers

  • Grand design

Different types of travel trailer roofs

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Generally, the roof type of your camper greatly affects its life expectancy. Knowing the different types of roofs can help you understand what to look out for, and the average lifespan to expect of your travel trailer.

Fiberglass

Fiberglass travel trailers are expensive and add to the weight of your trailer. Are they easy maintenance? Yes, but they need special care because of their smooth surface, plus they are also costly to repair.

Due to their smoothness, you might slip and fall when climbing on it, especially after it has rained. Most times, it might need oxidizing treatment once in a while, so keep that in mind. During bad weather like heavy rainfalls, travel trailers with fiberglass construction hold up well, as they are very resistant to denting caused by high winds. Fiberglass travel trailers are liable to hold heat better during winter.

Also, getting fiberglass trailers means you get to enjoy great mileage because their fiberglass roofs have low wind resistance.

Metal Roofs (Aluminum included)

When we talk about metal roofs, we mean aluminum travel trailers, and while these are cheap, it costs a lot to maintain them. Aluminum travel trailers are known to have better insulation, and this is perfect when there's hot weather.

With an aluminum travel trailer, your tow capacity increases because it has a lighter weight than fiberglass. When it comes to breathability, the aluminum ones have an upper hand because it's a necessity in reducing the formation of mildew or mold on the interior of your camper.

In case of an accident, your aluminum trailer might sustain minimal or even zero damages because of its thick construction.

Rubber

Rubber roofs are lightweight and generally sound like a good option for rv roofs. You aren't at risk of sliding off when it rains, and neither do you have to spend a fortune getting one. The most common type of rubber used for travel trailer roofs is Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer. However, after a few years, they start to decline in quality, and it might be impossible to fix it. Notwithstanding, it's the most popular type of rv roof right now, so with regular maintenance to avoid damage, you'll end up extending its lifespan.

Which is the best and most durable travel trailer roof type?

Regardless of the material of your rv roof, without being properly maintained, they don't stand a chance of having a long life. We're not saying to check your rv roof on a regular basis, however, checking it frequently will increase the life span of your vehicle, because you'll get to detect small issues before they worsen.

Typically, fiberglass travel trailers last longer than aluminum trailers, because they are built to withstand harsher conditions. They are the perfect mix due to their soft and durable construction, plus they are the right choice for seasoned RV's owners who are always going camping. Also, fiberglass trailers have greater resale value, and you'll get more money when you sell off your old rv with fiberglass roof.

Aluminum trailers are more susceptible to dents from heavy hits like accidents, and this can cause their value to depreciate greatly.

How many years will the roof of a travel trailer last?

The duration of your trailer roof is dependent on how well you maintain it. With poor maintenance, a quality roof might last for just several months before it gets damaged beyond repair. Usually, a trailer roof might need replacement after 13-15 years, so, you'll need to check it properly every 5-7 years. Noticing when your roof needs repairs is the perfect time to get it repaired because allowing it to deteriorate slowly will only cause it to damage beyond fixing.

On the other hand, if you don't take care of your roof properly, it won't even last past the first year. The amount of damage water can cause to your travel trailer is immeasurable, so you might want to up your maintenance game, or you could permanently ruin your camper.

What can cause damage to the roof of a travel trailer?

Do you know when you wash your rv roofs too hard you can cause them to have leaks? Well, that's true. Plus, using very harsh chemicals on your roof can ruin the protective coating that gives it a shield over UV radiation from direct sunlight.

Your travel trailer goes through a whole lot when you don't park it inside your garage. When it rains heavily or even gets hit by hailstones, it tends to affect its durability. Most times you'd be surprised to find out that a tree has made its home on the top of your roof, and this will most likely cause a dent. These dents will further get worse in the future and when it becomes so bad, you are left with no choice other than to replace your travel trailer.

Another thing to take into consideration is being careful when climbing to inspect your rv roof. Some roofs aren't strong and there's the tendency for you to fall and damage the roof as well. So, it's best to walk around the edges, plus you may need professional help if your roof is damaged

How to protect the roof of your travel trailer from damage

Protecting the roof of your trailer doesn't cost you much, with the right amount of dedication and attention, the roof of your camper will last you way longer than you think. Using liquid coating on your rv roof can extend the life of your trailer because it gives it extra protection against UV rays.

Also, you can make use of rv covers if you plan on keeping your travel trailer parked outdoors. That's because a roof cover will keep the roof sealant protected and prevent it from premature failure. Plus, make sure you have your roof patch when on a trip, so you can quickly fix any sudden leak you notice.

How can I extend the lifespan of my travel trailer?

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You don't need to do so much to keep your trailer in good shape, and we'll go over a few maintenance tips. It's important you follow all the tips listed to improve the average life of your rv.

Always Check The Roof Seals

The seal of your roof needs regular maintenance, and you should always be mindful of it. The point of checking is so you can notice when there's a leak, and use a sealant to fix it. However, if you feel the damage is beyond what a sealant can fix, then you might need the expertise of a professional.

Review The Equipment Of Your RV

Your travel trailer doesn't just need protecting from only the sun and rain, you need to check if you have a leaking sink or even a full toilet. Noticing this on time will save you a lot of bucks on repairs. You need to also do a thorough sanitizing of your kitchen equipment as you would your house.

Keeping the exterior of your travel trailer clean involves taking note of when the exterior seals need caulking.

Also, seasoned rv owners who are always camping close to the beach need to constantly wash their campers because salt from the beach can stick to the exterior of the travel trailer and cause it to corrode.

General Maintenance

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Regardless of what type of vehicle you have, whether a tow vehicle, a pop-up camper or even a fifth wheel, you need to always check for leaks due to water damage. It's important to remove all elements that might cause water disasters like a water heater. If you have indoor storage, it's best to keep all water-related items properly stored there.

You should always check your filters and replace them when they are dirty. Inspect your timing belt, brakes, and other electrical components to make sure they are functioning perfectly.

Get an rv cover for your trailer to help protect the roof and windows as well.

If you notice any plumbing issues with any of your appliances, then you absolutely need to call a professional for a thorough inspection.

If you feel you can't check for gas leaks, you need to pay a professional to check out your gas pipes or hose. You can also ask for a quick run over of the whole supply system to be sure they are in perfect working condition. Alternatively, if you want to do it yourself, make use of soapy water.

What are the best brands with long-lasting trailers?

The durability of your travel trailer doesn't just depend on upkeep or how well you keep it protected. Most manufacturers attach a warranty to their travel trailers and it's important you review other sites to understand why these listed brands are worth spending more money for.

  • Grand Design RV

  • Outdoors RV

  • Black series

  • Cruiser RV

  • Oliver Travel Trailer

Travel Trailer brands to avoid

Aside from not getting travel trailers that are overly used and already have issues, there are certain brands that you need to avoid. Yes, they might be cheaper alternatives, but in the long run, you'll need to get it replaced long before you can even enjoy it.

  • Chinook

  • Fleetwood

  • Columbia Northwest

  • Keystone

  • Skyline RVs

  • Forest river

How Much Do Travel Trailers Depreciate over time?

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Like most vehicles investment, travel trailers are liable to depreciate, so it's always advisable to go for one only when you need it. In the first year of buying your travel trailer, you tend to lose about 20% of its value, regardless of how much you got it. As the year goes by, it can lose about 50% of its monetary value, and this percentage increases when there's significant damage to either the roofs or appliances.

So, in reality, your travel trailer loses its highest value during the first two years of ownership.

Conclusion

To enjoy the best out of your adventure using your travel trailer, you need to take care of it full time. The work isn't in owning a travel trailer but in maintaining it. We know we have put out a lot of great information, and it might be a lot to absorb, but it's in your best interest not to forget the tips we have listed.

So, when next you are shopping for travel trailers, you know what to look out for and what to avoid.


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