How to Restore a Vintage Trailer

So, you want to adventure in a vintage RV? You’re not alone; however, restoring a vintage RV trailer can be a costly catastrophe, if you’re not careful. Here’s what you need to know before you buy and restore your vintage ride.

Think Before You Buy

Restoring a vintage trailer can be a lot of work. It has old bones that may take a lot of time, effort, and money to restore. After all, its seen a lot of the world long before you’ve gotten behind the wheel. Before you make the decision to buy and restore, consider the costs.

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Repair Costs

First and foremost, you need to look at your budget. You may find what seems like a good deal on a vintage RV, but how much will it cost to renovate and restore it? How much money are you willing to put aside for this project?

Before you take the leap into a vintage trailer, carefully examine the camper’s condition. Elements that’ll prove very cost-intensive include:

  • Electrical issues
  • Water damage
  • Structural problems
  • Plumbing and leaks
  • Rodents
  • Rancid smells

Restoring trailers with issues such as these is not impossible; however, they can be expensive, time-consuming fixes. Investigate thoroughly to estimate just how much money, time, and effort you’ll need to invest into the vintage RV of your dreams.

Hiring Help

The best cost-saving tip when it comes to renovating a vintage RV? Do the job well the first time. If you experience issues with plumbing, braking systems, wiring, or any of the more complicating fixes, it may be best to hire help to resolve them. Vintage restoration professionals can not only aid in restoration but also customization.

Restoration Tips

Bought your vintage trailer and ready to get restoring? Let’s get you started.

Replace Broken Parts

Before you make your vintage trailer your own with design, make sure to fix what is broken. Check on the electrical system, brakes, propane lines, plumbing, and appliances. Repairing or replacing such things, as previously mentioned, will take the biggest chunk out of your budget; however, finding the parts necessary shouldn’t take too much out of your time.

Original parts for your vintage RV may be tough to find. Places to look are:

If you’re lucky, vintage shops may have the original RV parts or your local shop may be able to replace old parts with newer, compatible parts. If you find yourself unlucky in that search, check for vintage parts online. Shopping for restoration parts online will give you the best and most diverse selection.

Work from the Ground Up

Laying down new flooring is a good place to start your RV renovation. Whether you’re ripping up carpet to put in hardwood or replacing vinyl composition tiling, this job will be one of the most intricate of them all. It’s totally feasible to complete this job on your own if you have the time and handiness. If not, there’s no shame in hiring a professional.

Paint Before You Decorate

A new paint job is not a menial task. Being that it’s easy to make a mess in the process if you’re looking to repaint walls or cabinets, do that first.

Add Some Decor

This Vintage RV is now yours, so make it that way by adding your personal touch and style to the space.


Stick on wallpaper is all the rage because it’s easy to install, cheap, and spices up any space.


Mirrors open up a room, making even the smallest RVs look and feel bigger.

Throw Pillows and Curtains

Your RV should feel like your home on wheels. Adding throw pillows and curtains to fit your design style will give your space that warm, homey feeling.


Don’t ignore the decor possibilities outside of your rig. Sure, a good paint job will spruce up the exterior, but what can you do beyond that? Adding an awning is one way to maintain the vintage feel of your camper or trailer while still showing off some personality. Not to mention, the UV protection it provides.

Clean or Change Your Windows

Before you hit the road, how are your windows? Your RV windows are what you see the world through, so it’s important that they’re in tip-top shape. A lot of vintage RVs have plastic windows that get easily scratched. If your windows are plastic, it may be time to replace them. Glass windows get grimey. If there are no dings or scratches, give them a good cleaning.

Appraise and Insure Your Vintage Rig


In order to buy or sell a vintage recreational vehicle, or a vehicle for that matter, one should contact vintage rv appraisers. An appraisal determines the fair market value of the trailer so that you can negotiate an insurance plan based on its carefully determined worth.


Like with any vehicle, your RV needs insurance. Make sure you’re getting the best trailer insurance with an agreed-upon value policy. Get free RV insurance quotes. Compare policies and prices.

Looking for Inspiration?

If you’re needing some inspiration to get your redesign gears turning, look no further than these restored rides.

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We know not everyone wants to live in a van and the purpose for our little corner on IG is to not to make you feel like you need to. Our purpose on here is to inspire you to chase your dreams, whatever they may be, because dreams really do come true. We hope to inspire you to be fearless in your pursuit of what sets your soul on fire and to let you know it’s okay to risk everything to chase a dream no one else can see but you. ⁣ ⁣ Every morning that we wake up we have two decisions to make: to continue to sleep with our dreams or to get up and chase them. We hope when you leave our page, you feel motivated to get up and chase them, that you believe in yourself and you learn to TRUST. We can’t stress how important it is for you to hold the vision and trust the process. Many will say “it’s easier said than done” but If you want something you’ve never had, you have to do things you’ve never done. Whether it’s creating a vision board, whether it’s writing reminders all over your house, whether it’s praying or having quiet time meditating or envisioning yourself living the life you desire- YOU DO IT!⁣ ⁣ Disbelief, uncertainty and doubt are the complete opposite of having trust and there ain’t no room in chasing dreams for those things y’all.

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Ready or Not?

Not ready to buy and restore your own vintage rv? That’s okay. Dip your toes into the world of vintage trailers by renting an RV on Outdoorsy. Get a taste of the glory before you jump in.


  1. I have a small vintage camper, would would like to restore. Would ,the ski light be a spot , for a small AC unit. Got to have air . I live in Texas.

  2. IJust bought a 1969 camper to restore .it is going to be a task but I am looking forward to it .and I could use any pointers you may offer in restoration tricks.

  3. I have a Lafave Loaf 5868 from Olds trailer company. We would like to restore it but would also like to learn something about it. Can you help?

  4. That isn’t a brand we are aware of. You can contact the RV/MH museum to see if they have any record of the brand. There were thousands of brands that didn’t last long and little records exist – this might be one of those…

  5. Have a 1968 Terry trailer. The exterior skin isn’t bad and the framing is good–just need some reinforcement in a couple spots. I’m kinda lost as where to start the restoration process now. Any step by step advice?

  6. Check out the Mobiletec YouTube videos. They do a great job explaining the restoration process.

  7. Unfortunately there isn’t an easy fix for this. Aluminum stretches when dented and it’s very difficult to flatten. Replace the entire panel or live with its beauty marks.

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