How long does a travel trailer last? That is a question that is top of mind for many buyers when they are considering purchasing a travel trailer. After all, you do not want to purchase a travel trailer only for it to be unusable in a few years. Luckily, travel trailers will last for around 10 years on average.
However, 10 years is only the average life expectancy for a travel trailer. Some trailers will last longer, and some will have a shorter lifespan. That said, what you do to maintain your trailer is very important. How often you use your travel trailer is also a critical factor.
What Is the Average Life Expectancy of a Travel Trailer?
10 years is not necessarily the point in time where a travel trailer is no longer usable. Instead, 10 years is the amount of time it takes to get your money’s worth out of the trailer. However, that is only true if you are using it consistently. If you are not using the trailer consistently you will need to use it for longer.
Travel trailers require a decent amount of maintenance. They are often brought to uncomfortable environments where they are exposed to the elements in a big way. As a result, they will fall apart quickly if you do not put in the effort to maintain them. However, if you do put in that effort, a camper can last up to 25 years. This makes them a better investment than a car as you generally cannot expect regular vehicles to last even close to 25 years.
What Types of Travel Trailers Last the Longest?
The two most common types of travel trailers are aluminum and fiberglass. Travel trailers made of both materials have their pros and cons. Aluminum travel trailers have panels that are easy to replace, and the material is lighter. Since aluminum is lighter it increases your tow capacity. Aluminum is also generally cheaper than fiberglass. It also has great breathability, which helps with reducing condensation and mildew on the interior of the travel trailer.
Conversely, fiberglass holds up better in bad weather like rain and hail. It is resistant to denting which is very important when you bring your trailer to a campsite. Additionally, fiberglass provides better insulation than aluminum. This means that the trailer will hold heat better in the winter and stay cool during the summer. Fiberglass travel trailers are also more durable than aluminum ones.
So, which type of travel trailer generally lasts longer? Typically, you can expect a fiberglass travel trailer to last longer than an aluminum one. These trailers are more durable and can withstand more severe weather conditions.
What Are the Longest Lasting Travel Trailer Brands?
One of the most popular travel trailer brands is also one of the longest lasting. Airstream travel trailers are incredibly durable and will last you a long time as a result. However, that is not the only reason to purchase an Airstream travel trailer. The travel trailers and RVs from Airstream have many floorplans that give you everything you need. They come in every size you could ever want, and they are fairly lightweight.
Furthermore, you can expect travel trailers from Forest River and Keystone to last you a long time as well. Both provide incredibly durable trailers that should last you for many years.
However, just because we did not name a travel trailer brand does not mean that they do not provide durable and long-lasting travel trailers. Additionally, just because a trailer is from one of the above brands does not mean you should not do your research when you go to make a purchase. Before you make a purchase from any brand you should do your research to make sure that the trailer you want will last you a long time.
What Parts of a Travel Trailer Wear Out?
Some of the first things you will need to replace or provide maintenance for are the weather seals. Weather seals exist around the doors and windows of your trailer. They exist to ensure that air and water do not leak into your trailer. Over time these seals will begin to loosen and the adhesive that keeps it attached will lose its stickiness. When this happens you will need to have some repair epoxy on hand, as well as a few tubes of silicone sealant. When you notice these leaks you need to deal with them immediately. Small leaks can turn into big leaks quickly, and if they get out of hand mold and mildew will start to appear on your travel trailer.
You will also need to take the time to maintain the holding tanks for your travel trailer. These tanks hold your water for several activities you need every day. However, each tank holds different types of water. If you are new to the travel trailer world, you might not know about the three types of water that matter to travel trailer owners. These kinds of water are fresh drinking water, washing water, and blackwater.
Fresh and drinking water drain naturally into the wastewater compartment and are flushed out with the blackwater. It seems simple, but you need to make sure that you are maintaining your system every time you dump the blackwater tank. If you do not take the time to rinse the pipes an unpleasant aroma will begin to appear which could indicate equipment failure.
Finally, the awning is the most replaced part of an RV. The awning is exposed to the elements the most. You can avoid damage by tilting it downward during a storm so that water does not pool up.
How Can I Make My Travel Trailer Last Longer?
Here we will look at 10 things you can do to make your travel trailer last longer. You do not necessarily need to do everything on this list, but they can all be helpful.
1. Inspect the Roof Seals and Seams on Your Travel Trailer Regularly
The seals and seams on a travel trailer are usually the first things that need maintenance or to be replaced. As a result, keeping an eye on them is essential for any travel trailer owner. You should try to inspect at least once every three months.
If you do not take the time to inspect the seals and seams on your travel trailer, you will start to notice leaks. This will be especially notable if the seals on your roof begin to wear out. If you notice that a seam or seal is starting to wear out, there are several sealants that you can use to patch things up. However, you need to make sure that you use a sealant that is compatible with the material of your travel trailer. Otherwise, the sealant might not stick as intended.
2. Tighten Your Travel Trailer’s Wheel Lug Nuts and Check Tire Pressure
Before you leave on a trip, you should take the time to tighten the wheel lug nuts on your travel trailer. You should also measure tire pressure before leaving on a trip. The last thing you want is to get in a situation where your tires are deflated when you are 100 miles away from home. So, take the time to check your tire pressure and you will save yourself a headache in the future.
3. Check Your Batteries
One of the worst things that can happen on a camping trip is for your battery to die. If this happens you will be unable to power anything in your trailer. Suddenly a trip you were looking forward to will turn into a nightmare. You should make sure your battery is fully charged before leaving on a trip to lower your risk of it dying. Typically, batteries need to be replaced every three to five years.
4. Keep Your Waste Water System in Good Condition
To keep your waste water system in good condition, you need to make sure that you are using chemicals that are compatible with each system. You also need to make sure that there is enough fluid in the system after flushing. It is also important to flush the system regularly. Failing to do these things will result in a buildup of fluid which can lead to clogging and valves seizing.
5. Clean and Treat Your Travel Trailers Slide Out Seals
The seals on your slide out are some of the first seals to start to wear out. That is because they are constantly rubbing up against things which wears them out quicker. So, you need to make sure to clean them on a regular basis so that there is not a build up of dirt. Removing dirt will help keep the seals in could condition. It is also a good idea to apply lubricant to the seals so that it can slide out with ease.
6. Replace Your Filters
It does not matter what type of filter you have or what it is for, all filters need to be replaced eventually. Make sure you inspect your filters regularly so that you know when to replace them. Failing to do this will give you serious problems down the line.
7. Maintain Your Awning
One of the most important parts of your travel trailer to maintain is your awning. You need to clean it regularly so that there is not a build up of mold or mildew. Additionally, if you inspect your awning regularly you will notice tears early on and repair them with ease. However, if you do not inspect it regularly you will find tears when they are beyond repair.
Finally, you should make sure that you clear your awning of debris regularly. Debris build up can cause tears and it can even cause nests to build up. The last thing you want is for bees to make a home on your awning, so take your time to clean it.
8. Make Sure Your Electrical Connection is Working
It is important that the electrical connection between your travel trailer and tow vehicle is working before you leave on a trip. This connection is what transmits signals from your vehicle to the travel trailer. For example, this connection transmits the break signal form you signal to the lights at the back of the travel trailer. Obviously, this is very important to the safe of yourself and others, so make sure that it is working before you get on the road.
9. Clean the Exterior of Your Travel Trailer Regularly
Most people do not like to clean things and the same is true with their travel trailers. However, it is important to clean the exterior of your travel trailer regularly. This is especially important if you travel close to beaches. Salt from the water and sand can kick up and get on the outside of your trailer. Salt can corrode metal quickly, so you need to wash your trailer anytime you drive near the water.
When you clean your trailer, you should use a large sponge instead of a high-pressure hose. High pressure hoses can cause damage to the finish of your trailer. They can also loosen exterior fittings, so you will want to take the extra time to clean your trailer with a sponge.
10. Consult with an Expert
If you run into a technical issue with your travel trailer, do not be afraid to consult with an expert. Not everyone that owns a travel trailer is an expert on how everything works. However, many people will try to fix problems without really knowing what to do. If you get into one of these situations you do not need to be a hero. Go and consult with an expert to see what the proper course of action is for fixing the issue. If you try to fix something without knowing what to do you could cause more damage than you fix.
How Much Do Travel Trailers Depreciate?
Vehicles depreciate faster than nearly any other investment you can make. As a result, many financial advisors will recommend that you do not purchase a vehicle unless absolutely necessary. The same is true for travel trailers as you will lose roughly 20% of its value in the first year alone. After five years you can expect the trailer to have lost about 40% of its value. It will then continue to depreciate over time. However, as you can see, travel trailers lose the biggest percentage of value in the first year of ownership.
Do New or Used Travel Trailers Last Longer?
New travel trailers will last longer than used travel trailers. However, the lifespan of both types of trailers is entirely dependant on your dedication to maintenance. If you do not put in the time to maintain your travel trailer you could purchase a new travel trailer and have it degrade faster than a friend that maintains their used travel trailer.
That being said, if you take a new travel trailer and a used travel trailer and maintain them the same amount, a new travel trailer will last longer. The used travel trailer will already have miles on it that reduces its lifespan. Conversely, a new travel trailer has the potential to last a very long time if you do the proper maintenance.
Get on the Road After Doing Your Travel Trailer Maintenance
After reading, we hope you have all the information you need to properly maintain your travel trailer. We know there is a lot of information to absorb, but it should all be helpful in increasing the lifespan of your travel trailer. By doing your maintenance, you can increase the lifespan of a travel trailer by years.
Owning a travel trailer can be a lot of work. It requires a lot more maintenance than a regular vehicle, but it can also last longer. However, it will not last very long if you do not do the work. If you fail to maintain your travel trailer, you will lose a lot of money on the trailer as it breaks down quickly over the years. So, put in the effort and you can have a better time on your trips, and your wallet will thank you long term.
Check out this helpful article to find everything you will need to find parts and maintain your camper trailer called 8 Best Places to Buy RV Accessories and Supplies.
Are you a new or experienced travel trailer owner? Do you do your maintenance yourself or do you hire someone to do it? Where is your favorite place to bring your travel trailer? Let us know in the comments!