Used Airstreams – What Are Your Options?

Used Airstreams are very satisfying to own, but can be challenging to buy.

When it comes to RVs, one of the very best, well-known brand names you're ever likely to come across is Airstream.

However, they're not the cheapest brand out there, so for most people, second-hand Airstreams are a good alternative to the latest models.

In this article, we look at what your options are in terms of pre-owned Airstreams, where to find them, and how to get the best deal.

Used Airstreams are very satisfying to own, but can be challenging to buy. Used under a Creative Commons licence courtesy of Koocheekoo at Flickr

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Late-Model Airstreams

If you're just looking for a reliable, high-quality, well-made and well-priced RV, then one of the best RV types to consider is one of the many late-model used Airstreams.

Anything from about the early 1990s would fall into this category, and while they're probably not as modern as some of the new RVs, they're well built, likely to hold up well for many years to come, and can be fairly easily modified to incorporate many of the newer features that you may want.

Late model Airstreams aren't only some of the best used RVs out there though – they're also stylish, funky, and as with all Airstream travel trailers, as much of a style statement as they are a vehicle. So much cooler than even the newest brands from some of the more generic brands out there!

You can get a fantastic, almost mint condition used Airstream for around $25,000, although Airstream travel trailers can vary wildly in price.

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Classic Airstreams

For the true fan of Airstream travel trailers, there's nothing quite like one of the many classic used Airstreams.

Everything from about the mid 1930s to the mid 1980s is considered a classic, and while they can vary hugely in terms of presentation and amenities, you should bear in mind that there are literally thousands of Airstreams of all ages still on the road.

In fact, the company has estimated that as many as 75 percent of all Airstream travel trailers EVER made are still on the road, so there are plenty to choose from.

Classic used Airstreams sometimes need a little more TLC and restoration than their younger counterparts, but they're often available for a song – sometimes even from their original owners!

With an extensive Airstream dealer network supporting you, getting parts and servicing for your used Airstream is also a lot easier than you might think.

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Why Buy Used Airstreams?

The question you're probably asking yourself is why you should buy a pre-owned Airstream?

The first, and best reason, is that when you're talking about quality, stylish and comfortable RVs, Airstream travel trailers really do set the benchmark, and they have for quite some time.

Even a used Airstream is still likely to have decades of trouble-free service in it, and that's a lot when you compare it to some of the cheaper, less well made options out there.

The second is price. Airstream is a well known brand, and it's one that does cost a premium. If you love the Airstream brand, but you can't afford a new version of their travel trailers, then second-hand is a great alternative.

Don't overlook collector appeal. In most cases, a travel trailer is just another vehicle, but when it comes to Airstream travel trailers, a good quality used version – particularly a vintage version – is a collector's piece in and of itself.

It's a work of art on wheels. A status symbol that you can be proud to tow behind you on the road. Not many of it's competitors can say the same.

Where to Find Used Airstreams

If you're already sold on owning a second-hand Airstream, then you're probably wondering where you can find them.

The good news is that Airstream is probably one of the easier RV types to find out there – particularly used.

A good place to start your search are Airstream owner clubs, or online RV forums. Many Airstream enthusiasts in one place mean that if there's a good Airstream deal on offer, you're likely to hear of it firs.

Airstream dealers are a great place to source used Airstreams

Another good place to look for Airstreams is with Airstream dealers in your city or region. Most big cities in the US and Canada will have a dealer that specializes in Airstreams, and many of those accept trade-ins, so they will often have good used Airstreams on their floor, alongside the new models.

Finally, there's the internet. From eBay to online classified sites, you will find that used Airstreams are always advertised by name.

Most people don't even bother to mention the words RV or travel trailer, because when you think Airstream, you automatically think Airstream travel trailers.

If you're looking for a particular year or model, you may look a little longer, but in most cases, it will turn up eventually, somewhere, if you're patient.

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Getting the Most Out of Your Airstream Purchase

If you are shopping for used Airstreams, then you want to make sure you're getting the best possible deal.

The first thing you should do is a little bit of comparison. Look at the RV blue book value for similar Airstream travel trailers, and do some online research, to see what the average price for similar models in your area are.

The next thing you should do is find out when last the Airstream you're considering visited a service center for a tune up or inspection. If the owner hasn't had one done, and you're seriously considering buying their vehicle, then consider asking them to have it inspected by an Airstream specialist in their area.

Offer to pay the cost of the inspection if you're genuinely interested, but negotiate that any repairs or replacements required are for them to put right.

Do the Groundwork

If you're careful, do some research, and you have an Airstream you're considering inspected before you buy them, you will have a machine that will be on the road for decades to come.

You're likely to replace the truck that you tow your Airstream with before you replace the RV itself.

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