Campervans are a delight to own, but it is no surprise that they’re quite a hefty purchase
Due to their nature, it’s hard to get any value out of them once they’ve been used. Since their depreciation rates are high, it’s easy for them to lose their market value fast.
In today’s article, we’ll be talking about the depreciation rates and trends of some of the most popular campervan models out there:
Depreciation Per Year For Campervans:
- One-year-old: 28% value lost
- Two years old: 36% value lost
- Three years old: 39-40% value lost
- Four years old: 43% value lost
- Five years old: 48% value lost
It is worth noting that these prices are calculated on an average, and the resale value you might receive for your campervan may be higher or lower than the digits mentioned here.
Most luxury and cheap or on-site campervans tend to lose their value extremely quickly in the first few years. As you could probably tell, a 28% price drop does seem drastic.
However, it’s worth noting that while luxury campervans have many antiquities that lose their value right after being termed second-hand, and the cheaper or rough-terrain campervans are practically sold off as scrap due to their high depreciation rates.
After the first 5 years, the downhill price drop suddenly loses traction and gradually moves down.
By this time, the campervan usually loses 50% of its original value.
3 Examples of “Brand/Model” Depreciation:
As a vehicle maker that focuses on the outdoor lifestyle, it makes sense that Winnebago would have campervans of their own.
In fact, the company has made a wide variety of campervans to fit different budgets.
That also makes their vehicles behave differently in terms of depreciation:
1. Winnebago Revel
As a diesel-engine, heavy-duty campervan second only to the Winnebago Boldt, the Winnebago Revel can be expensive as a brand-new vehicle and easily drop down in value after each use.
This is because owners would be more likely to use the campervan on longer trips and off-road routes than other vehicles.
The matte front bumper can also be prone to scratches, further lowering its resale value. Inside, the motors of the movable bed can fail over time.
These can be a bit harder to fix as you would need a technician to do it.
Even if you change these parts, their value will still be lower because you would then be selling a second-hand product.
2. Winnebago Boldt
The Winnebago Boldt was meant to be a sturdy vehicle that could survive for a long time on the road, much of its accessories work through slide and lock mechanisms, which could easily break by accident or overuse.
You can expect a second-hand Winnebago Boldt to have a few broken accessories or a replaced sliding table. You should also watch out for the lithium battery’s capacity because these kinds of batteries can get easily ruined in the cold.
However, the chassis and other parts are sturdy enough to keep it from depreciating too fast compared to other vehicles.
3. Winnebago Solis
As a shorter campervan severely limited in space, the Winnebago Solis makes up for it with compartments that double as desks and floorings.
The latter of which may break if a heavy mass has been placed on top.
It also uses many latches, hooks, and magnets to keep these compartments closed or opened. These parts can be easily replaced by a technician or the owners themselves.
Whereas it is doubtful that the vehicle will depreciate faster than regular campervans should, it will start falling steeply once unmaintained parts begin to break.
Another source of concern is the AGM backup battery, which may fail if discharged too frequently.
Despite being a great vehicle maker for various large motorhomes like the Airstream Classic, Airstream has never made their own campervans.
Instead, they turned to a partnership with Mercedes-Benz to help them make their own vehicles.
With Airstream-styled living portions on Mercedes-Benz chassis, their campervans can be expected to stay more stable in terms of depreciation past the first year or so after purchase.
4. Airstream Atlas
As a luxury flagship vehicle, the Airstream Atlas will have a higher depreciation rate once resold.
However, you can expect it to have a lower depreciation rate past being second hand as the vehicle itself is made to be incredibly durable. Even the rims were made durable by being made from aluminum.
With this, you can have a refurbished Airstream Atlas selling a bit better than any other luxury campervans. This, though, ignores the fact that the campervan is sold at an incredibly high price when brand new.
Take that into account, and you would experience a large depreciation rate.
5. Airstream Interstate 19
Since Airstream vehicles have custom-built interiors, judging the depreciation rate in the Airstream Interstate 19 can be quite difficult to generalize.
After all, Airstream vehicles are built first for their hull and only second for the amenities inside.
However, as good the design of Airstream vehicles, in general, the Airstream Interstate 19 suffers the same battery problems as the brand’s other campervan models.
Namely, the fact that the battery easily gets drained when not properly disconnected. This could affect the sales price of second-hand vehicles since they might have busted back up batteries.
In fact, even the solar panel could destroy the batteries by draining them of their power.
6. Airstream Tommy Bahama Interstate
As expected of a high-end, fancy campervan, the Airstream Tommy Bahama Interstate has features that could make it last longer, depreciation-wise.
Compared to other Airstream campervans, this one has wooden vinyl floorings, which could last longer than regular floorings.
Furthermore, it does not have the same amount of magnets and slides found in other campervans, such as the heavy-duty Winnebago Solis.
However, it is important to note that, like all other Airstream products, this particular campervan can also come equipped with more storage boxes to accommodate more space in long-term travels.
These can break and diminish the campervan’s value over the long run, although that would be off-set by the vehicle’s original buying price.
Coachmen RV campervans are catered more toward the mid-range buyers.
Thus, their vehicles tend to have a stably low depreciation rate in contrast to the previous two. This does not mean that their depreciation rate is negligible, however.
Without proper maintenance, their vehicles could fall to scrap-metal prices just as other vehicles would.
7. Coachmen RV Galleria
With a staggeringly durable diesel engine, the Coachmen RV Galleria can fare better in the long run than other gas engine campervans.
This is because diesel engines have better mileage than gas engines. However, repairing or replacing diesel engines can take a lot more cash than gas engines.
That is why maintenance and mileage will play a significant factor in the Coachmen RV Galleria’s long-term depreciation rate.
That and broken amenities may cause the campervan to depreciate even lower in the long run.
The campervan may have good returns as a second-hand vehicle during the first few years but may quickly lose its value after about 5 to 8 years.
That is unless it has been properly maintained to last longer.
8. Coachmen RV Nova
As a gas-powered campervan, the Coachmen RV Nova is a good vehicle for people who have little need to travel long distances frequently.
However, this may not be the case if the same people would want to resell this campervan. A single vacation out of town may bring the campervan closer to its mileage limit before servicing its engine.
This reduces the vehicle’s resell price.
On the other hand, the aluminum rims use fare better in the long run as it does not rust compared to steel rims.
This can reduce the amount it depreciates by a bit.
9. Coachmen RV Beyond
While the Coachmen RV Beyond has the same gas engine as the Coachmen RV Nova, it still has more amenities than the latter.
This means that it still has more things that could break. Taking that into account, this campervan can easily have a lower resale value soon after auxiliary items begin to break.
The shades may also break due to overuse in the long term but can be replaced with other shades. Lastly, the wooden flooring can be prone to scratches, further depreciating the vehicle over time.
However, the effects of all these can be dampened by proper care and maintenance.
Even the gas engine can last longer if the owner brings it in for repairs regularly.
Which Models Depreciate The LEAST?
As cheaper vehicles are closer to their maximum depreciated value, they also tend to depreciate the least over the years.
Thus, you could say that the Winnebago Solis depreciate the least among all of the vehicles.
However, the Winnebago Solis is not the most durable of all the vehicles and may fall lower than the Airstream Atlas after its first year.
Which Models Depreciate The MOST?
Because the Airstream Atlas is the most expensive luxury campervan on our list, you can expect it to have the biggest depreciation value during the first year.
Past that, however, the campervan might not fall too low because it is made from tougher materials compared to other campervans.
The fact that it is also marketed as a luxury vehicle instead of a durable, off-road vehicle like the Winnebago Boldt makes it less possible for people to drive the Airstream Atlas through rough terrain more than the Winnebago Boldt.
This does not generalize to all owners, though, and may differ based on location and mileage use.
4 Ways to Increase the Value Of Your Campervan:
Just like any other vehicle, maintaining a campervan’s value relies mostly on maintenance work and conditioning.
In part, this also includes some discipline on your part and proper care for parts that may break when mishandled.
1. Regular Campervan Checkups:
It should go without saying, but getting a campervan checked out by a technician regularly will go a long way to keeping its value in top shape.
This is because failed parts can make other, more expensive parts fail as a consequence. The costs to repair the vehicle would then have a snowballing effect the longer you use it.
To better visualize this, imagine that your radiator has rusted to the point that it has started leaking radiator fluid. If you are not the kind of person who checks their vehicles now and then, there might be no way for you to find out that this has already happened.
Over time, the radiator might lose too much fluid. Without this fluid, the radiator will not transfer the heat from the engine into the cool air outside.
Further usage will cause the engine to overheat and break down.
While some sellers may give you free regular inspections, many others provide inspections at way less than the amount you would pay for a broken engine, which may have other parts that are difficult to replace because of the cost.
You might even end up selling the campervan without being able to replace them.
2. Repaint Scratched Paint:
Speaking of maintenance, you should also make sure that the campervan’s paint job is in order.
Besides aesthetics, a vehicle’s paint job is the only thing that protects its steel core from the elements. A scratch can allow air, salt, snow, and water to pass through this protective layer and cause the metal parts to rust.
The scratched area can also chip away because it has become a weak spot for an otherwise impenetrable layer of paint.
This can allow more of the rust-forming elements to pass through and damage more parts of the chassis.
Over time, the rusted parts underneath will damage more of the metal underneath until large, visible holes emerge. This causes another set of problems as the layer between the outside and inside walls usually contains ducts and electrical wires.
Water may enter during rains and ruin all of these.
Worse, rats and mice may also come in when the campervan has been parked in a rat-infested area for some time. For small portions of the campervan, you can replace these parts to raise the value for a bit before selling it.
However, things might get incredibly expensive once you find that large panels of your campervan might have been rusted. In this case, it would be best to sell it as is.
3. Plan Whether or Not to Sell Included Amenities:
Since campervans are homes and vans combined into one, you might find that there are some amenities that you might want to sell and others that you might either want to keep in your home or reuse in a new van.
This is more of an issue with Airstream products and luxury brands, however, and less of cheaper models because of the way Airstream sells its products.
Things like couches, sofas, and even sinks can be removed and reused depending on the model.
However, others such as the Winnebago Boldt’s removable table are designed for only a particular model and not in others, even if they come from the same manufacturer.
On another note, you may also try to improve your campervan by putting in DIY upgrades on pre-existing amenities such as back up batteries with larger capacities for the solar panel.
This, however, will take more work on your part and may not even allow you to sell the product at a price in which you could gain from selling it from a brand new price.
This could help you recuperate some losses and have practice experience on tinkering with your current campervan, which you may use on your next one.
4. Have Your Campervan Appraised:
Even after doing everything you can to improve your campervan’s diminishing value, it may still not be enough if you end up selling it at a lower price than it should be.
Hiring an appraiser can give you a good estimate of how much your vehicle should cost depending on several factors, which include mileage, maintenance, and adjustments you’ve done on it to increase or decrease its capacity.
They also know if a certain vehicle is hot in the market or not; this is information that you would have a hard time finding out on your own without the experience befitting an appraiser.
Being in demand could increase your vehicle’s value despite being first bought over a decade ago.
This is true for most vintage cars in the market right now, and it is highly likely that it will happen for campervans in the future, too.
Since they’re difficult to get any monetary value out of once they’ve been used; it’s always wise to enjoy using your campervans while you can.
If you do plan on reselling your campervan, it’s always wise to maintain it well so that you can get the most out of it.
Be sure to consider whether the money you spend on repairs and part replacements will result in increasing the vehicle’s market value or not, and base your resale prices according to the condition of the vehicle rather than the trends you observe in online marketplaces.
Morten is the founder of GoDownsize. He has filmed and interviewed people living in tiny houses and RVs since 2011. He grew up on the coast where his dad took him boating from a young age. He has completely rebuilt two RVs in which he travels with his family for months at the time. Read more about Morten here.