An RV gives you the freedom to explore with comfort and convenience, which is why a growing number of families are buying their RV. More than 11 million U.S. households now own an RV. However, RVs can cost anywhere between $35,000 to $300,000. As a result, you need to consider a few important things first, especially if you are buying an RV for the first time.
Here’s what you need to keep in mind.
One of the most important tips for buying an RV is to see what style fits your needs. There are different types of RVs you can choose from.
Motorhomes are self-contained and drivable rigs. There are three types of motorhomes, class A, class B, and class C.
Class A Motorhomes: They are the largest and most expensive rigs and often have residential-style amenities. They are excellent for weekend getaways and full-time camping. But, be prepared to pay high maintenance, insurance, and operating costs. Plus, you can’t drive these on narrow roads.
Class B Motorhomes: Usually built on standard van chassis, they are easier to drive due to their small size. They are also less costly to maintain, insure, and operate. However, they have a smaller living space and fewer amenities, making them suitable for just one or two people.
Class C Motorhomes: They are large enough for families but not as expensive as Class A motorhomes. They also come with extra sleeping space above the driver’s cabin. These rigs are moderately expensive to operate, maintain, and insure. But, they may lack a few luxury amenities.
Towable vehicles are easy to drive, operate, maintain, and carry a relatively lower price tag. The most popular ones include:
Travel Trailers: They are built on top of a standard trailer frame. They have many amenities but cost less than class A motorhomes. You can tow them to almost any type of truck, van, or SUV. But, they are quite difficult to maneuver.
Fifth Wheels: They are quite similar to travel trailers, save for a gooseneck connector, which offers better towing. Also, the overhanging section above the connector provides extra storage space. They come with many amenities but require a truck with an open or flatbed for towing.
Lightweight Trailers: They have a lower price tag, offer better mileage, and are towable with small vehicles. But, they are often small in size. As they use thinner materials, lightweight trailers are susceptible to frequent wear and tear.
Another important factor you need to consider is whether to buy a new or used RV. As both sides have pros and cons, you will need to decide carefully.
A new RV comes with a warranty, which offers peace of mind should something go wrong. It is also less likely to break down, which brings maintenance costs down. Financing a new RV is often cheaper as lenders charge lower interests, smaller down payments, and longer loan terms. And yes, it has that new RV smell!
However, new RVs come with a premium price tag and higher insurance costs. They also depreciate faster. So, you may have to resale your rig for a lot less.
Buying a used RV may not sound great, but it does come with a few benefits. The biggest one is the lower purchase cost. Used RVs also depreciate slowly. Sometimes, they may come with upgrades and repairs made by previous owners.
But, you could also end up buying a lemon, which would increase repair and maintenance costs substantially. Moreover, the choice is quite limited when buying used RVs. That said, financing a used rig is also often expensive because you have to pay a higher interest rate and larger down payment.
Whether you are buying a new RV or an old one, it is wise to get an extended warranty. RV repairs can be expensive, and the extended warranty protects you from unexpected expenses should anything break down. It can also help you fetch a better resale value. An RV extended warranty is necessary if your manufacturer’s warranty is about to expire.
In addition to this, getting RV insurance is also a good idea. It protects RV owners in the event of accidents, natural disasters (fire, flood, or a fallen tree), or even theft and vandalism. Together, they can provide you with complete peace of mind.
While having an RV with all the bells and whistles sounds great, this can open the door to more issues if things go wrong. So, consider making a list of what RV features you want. For example, if you like to cook fresh meals, having a full-blown kitchen would be better.
On the other hand, a built-in water heater is a must if you can’t live without a hot shower. The same goes for the HVAC system. If you are going out in very hot or cold weather, you will need a top-notch HVAC system to ensure comfort.
You also need to decide how much storage and living space you need. Usually, families require more space because they carry additional bedding, toiletries, clothes, and snacks.
But remember, the overall cost will increase as you add more amenities. Fortunately, most RVs are upgradable. So, you can always add new features later.
Think about what kind of trips will you be taking? If you are traveling up hills and on dirt roads, you are better off buying a small and easy-to-drive rig. Likewise, if you are camping in national and state parks, a smaller RV is all you need. In most dedicated RV parks, you can use external awnings or extendable slides for additional living space.
On the other hand, if you are camping in colder climates, you need a good-quality heating system. But while traveling in the desert, adding a few extra fans to your RV is a good idea. It will prevent your rig from becoming too stuffy or hot.
The bottom line is, take your traveling location, the number of campers, and usage (full time or recreational) into account before buying a recreational vehicle. All these factors will influence what RV features and style you need.
RVs require regular upkeep. Typical RV maintenance includes checking moldings, windows, slide-outs, doors, vents, skylights, and hatches for leaks. It also involves changing the oil, replacing the tires, and fixing general wear and tear. Furthermore, brakes, bearing, engine, electrical wiring, and appliances will require a brush-up every spring and fall. RV water tanks will need to be cleaned and emptied as well.
Although sticking to a maintenance schedule will make your rig last longer, it will cost you at least a couple of thousand dollars a year. Usually, the bigger the vehicle, the higher the maintenance costs. In other words, be sure to calculate how much the maintenance will set you back before buying a new RV.
RVing is a long-term investment. Apart from the upfront cost, there are expenses like maintenance, insurance, extended warranty, repairs, and parking. Given how much money and effort it needs, this is a decision not to be taken lightly. Hopefully, these six important things will help you in this regard.
If you are looking to buy an extended warranty for your new or used RV, RVing Solutions can help. Our extended warranties offer a wide range of benefits, including roadside assistance. Call us for a free quote today.
Published October 1, 2021