5 Things to Consider When Shopping For an RV

Things to Know When Buying an RV
Image via Flickr by Rennett Stowe

Deciding to buy an RV is a huge investment and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Before laying down your money, be sure you’ve done your homework first and considered all that is involved in the purchase and ownership of a recreational vehicle.

What Type do you Want/Need?

First you have to decide on the right vehicle to fit your travel, camping, and adventure needs. Most people think of a large motorhome when talking about an RV. There are several sizes and styles to consider:

  • Class A motorhomes are the largest and most luxurious.
  • Class B Motorhomes are also known as camper vans.
  • Travel trailers have lightweight yet sturdy structures.
  • The Fifth-Wheel Trailer is higher and easier to maneuver than regular trailers.
  • Pop-Up Trailers are much smaller and the most economical.

Are You Ready for Related Expenses?

Owning an RV will cost you more than just the initial purchase price. Consider the following when making your decision:

  • Maintenance – the bigger they are, the more that go wrong and lead to pricey repairs.
  • Miles per Gallon – With the exception of the pop-up trailer, RVs add to the weight and wind drag to the vehicle pulling the RV, which can drop the towing vehicle’s  mileage to as low as 8 per gallon.
  • Insurance – Size will make a difference in the cost of insurance.
  • Extras – things like GPS, Mobile Internet, and Satellite TV each have their price to consider.

Is There Water Damage?

This is particularly important if purchasing a used RV. Water damage is the number one killer of RVs. There are a lot of folds and seams in RVs which can lead to cuts and openings.

When you’re at the lot, ask for the dealer to spray down the RV you’re looking at. Check around the slide-outs, windows and doors. Also check around awnings, vents, luggage racks, air conditioning units, and vents.  If you can, take it to a truck stop and pay to have it washed. From the inside, look for streaks where the roof meets the walls, inside cabinets and under beds and storage areas.

Do All the Appliances Work?

Before buying your RV, make sure everything functions like it should. Test the cabin AC and the coach AC. Make sure the refrigerator and the microwave both work properly. Check the stove top, the fan, the lights, water heater, leveling jacks and heat. Run the water in the sink, flush the toilet, look at the water pump.  Once you buy it, any problems will become yours.

How Does It Perform on the Road?

You’re not buying an RV because you want to take up space in your driveway, so make sure it runs smoothly. Check all the gauges and meters. Inspect the tires for tread depth or small cracks near the rim. Are the air suspension system and operating lights working correctly? How about the horn? Does it have a spare tire? Pull the oil stick and check it out.

There are many things to take into consideration when making an investment as important and expensive as buying an RV. However, if you know what you’re after and sufficiently check out the RV before buying it, you can make a purchase you’re proud of.

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