Buying an RV is one of the most important investments that you will ever make in your life. That is why it is essential that you make a well informed and educated decision. Recreational vehicles or motorhomes as you may call them, facilitate the comfort of a home and the freedom that comes with a car. So, in a way, you will get the best of both worlds. But to make sure that you are getting the most out of it, it is essential to buy a good RV.
It is a good thing that you have got me as your guide to help you with it. One of the most important things that you need to consider is your usage intensity. Other than this, you also need to consider the budget, whether you need a new or an old one. Plus, I will share with you some tips for what to do when you go out to buy the RV.
This will include what are the things that you need to check or ask the dealer. Rest assured that I have had enough experience with the motorhomes to understand and know what matters when you are buying an RV.
A few smart tips for RV buying:
1. The Choice between a New or a Used RV:
The decision between a new or a used RV requires you to first analyze various other factors that are of importance. This means that you need to know your usage and what kind of RV are you looking for. On the one hand, the new RVs are fitted with new technology, the old ones may or may not be that much good in terms of the latest peripherals.
You will surely save a lot of money with a used RV, but a new one will save money for you in terms of negligible repair work and longevity. You may have to compromise with an old RV, but a new one will give you just what you need to make your investment worthwhile.
But if you ask me, always go for a new RV. The reason being, it will allow you to customization. More than that, you will get most of the modern equipment pre-installed in the RV. A new RV will incur fewer maintenance expenses, it will be more fuel efficient. Some people may have advised you against buying a new one due to depreciation, but the RV market is at a full bloom now, so depreciation won’t be an issue down the line.
2. Visit different dealerships:
Don’t just stick to one dealership because one of your friends is working there. You can get a much bigger bargain if you try out different dealerships before buying an RV. This needs to be done even if you are buying an old RV because various dealerships may have certain discounts and offers.
Also, visiting them will let you know the prices that all of them have to offer. A good tactic is to know the walk-away price. Just after everything about the RV, just start to walk out of the dealership and they will offer you their last price. This is the price that the are willing to charge you and they won’t go lower than this.
In this age, you need to be a smart customer and know what is best for you. Similarly, you can try this trick with different dealerships and get to know their last price.
More than this, some dealers will also decide to throw in some additional features and accessories with your purchase. Now, do not get enticed by these additional perks and lose on the monetary side. Consider your choices, see what everyone is offering and then only decide which one you will buy. Normally, I would recommend visiting up to 3 dealers and know what they have to offer.
3. Understand your RV usage:
Some people buy an RV because they want to live in it permanently, while others choose to buy them for an occasional vacation trip. In both instances, the usage varies. Consider this, an RV which will tread the roads on a daily basis, versus the one which will only be taken out once in a year and that too for a few days. Hence, for daily usage, you will need an RV which may not be too good looking from the inside, but it should have a robust outer body.
More than this, you also need to know your comfort levels. This means that some drivers are more comfortable with driving a towable vehicle while others are more comfortable with motorhomes. But consider this, with a towable trailer you will also need to have a strong car which can pull the weight of your trailer.
So here you have to compare the mileage of an motorhome and an SUV (because you won’t be able to pull the trailer with any other vehicle). In some instances, a fuel efficient SUV can give the mileage of 15 to 20 miles per gallon. On the other hand, a motorhome gives an average mileage between 10 to 20 miles per gallon. Since the figures are closer to each other, you need to decide on a case by case basis.
You may use the RV mainly for vacation or an adventure. Or you may want to live and raise your kids in it. In both cases, your needs are different. An RV for a vacation trip will require larger capacity tanks, and they must have easy maneuverability. Plus, their size needs to be just right for all sorts of parking availabilities.
Like when you are parking on the roadside, or even boondocking. And if you want to live in an RV permanently for all eternity, then make sure to buy a motorhome that gives the most comfort and has all the amenities built-in.
I hope you understand my point.
4. Close inspection of RV:
Yes, it is time that you wear your Sherlock Holmes hat and inspect every nook and corner of your RV before buying it. This step is especially important if you want to buy a used motorhome or camper trailer. First up, you need to ensure that it has the correct paperwork and you are able to figure out everything about the RV on the basis of documents.
Secondly, you need to check for odors, mold, leakage, the condition of awnings, and most importantly, roof. Odors and mold are connected with each other. In most of the cases, odors and mold follow each other. If you find that one of them is present in the RV, the second will surely follow.
Also, never buy an RV if it has leakages. It does not matter how much money you will potentially save. Down the line, you will be only left with recurrent repairs. Always check under the carpets, corners, under the sink, bathrooms, and under the chassis. All these areas are most vulnerable to leakages and can pose bigger problems in the future.
5. Check the exterior:
The exterior of the RV is as much important as the interiors. That is why it is essential that you avoid taking a bird’s eye and get into the details. Compared to a new RV, checking the panels, doors, windows, roof, and the tires are essential for an old one.
For a new RV too, you need to ask about the kind of tires used in it, the material from which the roof has been made, and the awnings. For those who are looking to live permanently in the RV, they need to be extra careful with the exteriors. Sliding out panels are a good choice, but they will need more care and maintenance. Similarly, if you are looking to take the RV on rougher roads than make sure that tires are strong enough to handle the road.
These may look like small things to you, but believe me, when you are looking to spend thousands of dollars on something, make sure that every penny is worth it.
There are different parts that require an inspection. In an old RV, these parts play an important role, because if any of them is not working or is damaged, it could affect the overall condition of the RV.
A healthy tip: if you want to get the best RV parts, Tow Max is the go-to source. They have the best parts in the industry and will provide the best customer service. Love those guys.
6. Check RV’s full history:
Here history does not mean that you have to check where it was manufactured and all that. But you do need to check the paperwork carefully in case of an old RV. The reason being that with an older RV, some dealers can change the paperwork to show that the RV is not that old, but the overall condition is not so good.
A good way to ensure that the paperwork matches the real condition is checking the VIN. This number must match on paper and on the RV. If they match, it means that the RV is authentic irrespective of the condition in which you are buying it.
And if you are buying a new RV always check for the dealer’s history and reviews. Go online and check what has been the past experience of other customers with your chosen dealership. You will get to a great deal about them from customer testimonials, reviews, and feedback.
7. Take a test drive:
If you have never drove an RV before, then do not go for a test drive. Rather bring someone along who has experience in RV driving. Or you can always get RV driving training before buying one.
The key is to test whether or not the RV has good handling, a smooth driveability, and it is easier to park. Because these three things are the most important when you are taking an RV vacation or living in one.
Take a test drive to ensure that you feel comfortable while driving it. I know that it is not possible to make sure that this is the RV you want, but a half an hour drive will give you enough pointers to make a decision. So, go for it and never hesitate to ask for a test drive, every dealership will allow it.
8. Don’t get too excited:
Source: Rv Tailing
Well, this is what every single one of us does whenever we go out to buy something new. And it happens to the best of us. I still remember that I was about to spend $5000 more than what I had planned for just because a higher model was giving me exterior TV (which is basically useless).
You will always find something better than what you are going to buy. That is why it is essential to stick to your budget and what you have planned. A good way is to make a list of what you want with an RV and ensure that your RV has it all. The moment you find the right one. Period. Do not bother to look further.
9. How Many Members:
It is not that like when you have uninvited guests and you let them sleep on the couch or allow them to stay in the guest room. An RV has limited space and I am sure you can acknowledge that it can only accommodate a fixed number of people.
Sure, there are RVs of different sizes, but the larger ones will certainly cost more. Hence, it is essential to know how many passengers you plan to carry along in your RV. If you have a 4-member family and plan to stick to this number, then do not buy a bigger RV.
So, in the end, I would like to address the elephant in the room and inform you that, buying an RV is easier said than done. You will have to take various things into consideration only to get the required results.
For all its worth, buying an RV is a new kind of experience, it is filled with excitement and a bit of stress. This guide will take away the stress part, but as for the excitement is concerned that you will have to control yourself. Plan ahead and make sure that you do not have to regret your decision in the future.