Are you in the market for an RV? No matter how many RVs you’ve owned over the years, buying a new one is a major decision. You’re going to put a lot of money into this purchase, so you need to choose wisely. The best way to make a decision you can trust is to do plenty of research beforehand. When you know exactly what to look for and what kinds of questions to ask, you can make an informed decision about which type of RV is right for you. Don’t end up with a rig you don’t enjoy. Instead, make a list of these six questions to ask before choosing an RV.
What Type of RV Do You Need?
The first step in the decision-making process is to ask yourself what kind of RV you want and need. How much space do you want? What kind of trips do you plan on making? For example, a couple who uses their RV for weekend getaways will probably want something different from the three-kid family that enjoys multi-week trips. Look at the different RV classifications to figure out which type of RV will work best for you and your travel plans.
Class A Motorhomes
When you think of an RV, do you picture a massive vehicle with all the comfort and glamour a life on the road entails? If so, you’re thinking of a Class A Motorhome. This is the largest type of RV. It’s popular among families and people who spend long trips on the road, as well as people who RV full time.
Class B Motorhomes
On the opposite end of the spectrum is the Class B Motorhome, often known as a camper van. Class B Motorhomes are much smaller than Class A, so they're best suited for solo travelers or couples. That said, they still often come with cozy features that make an extended trip more appealing.
Class C Motorhomes
Class C Motorhomes sit somewhere in the middle of Class A and Class B vehicles. These RVs are a fantastic mid-size, making them cheaper than Class As while still offering the space and comfort desirable for larger groups or longer trips.
Some people choose to haul RV trailers rather than drive a motorhome across the country. Like motorhomes, trailers come in many different sizes and styles. From massive fifth wheels to compact and convenient popup trailers, you’re sure to find the perfect RV trailer for your needs. Just make sure your vehicle has the necessary horsepower to haul your trailer on trips.
How Much Does It Really Cost?
Once you have a solid idea of what you want, you can start meeting with sellers and asking questions. Of course, price is one of the most crucial questions to ask before choosing an RV. You want to make sure the camper you receive is worth the cost. You also don’t want to choose an RV for its low sale price just to find extensive fees and add-ons during the transaction. Make sure you know what the ticket price includes before you make a final decision. What kind of dealership fees will you be facing? What about tax rates? When comparing prices of different options, you should also think about costs you’ll have to pay for later, such as registration fees or interest on the dealer’s financing options. Finally, take the time to look up the specific model you’re thinking about and compare its price with other sellers online. This will help you avoid a rip off from less-than-reliable dealers.
What’s the Warranty Policy?
Your RV’s warranty is one of the most important decisions you can make in the buying process. Every RV purchase—new or used—should come with some sort of warranty. Make sure you ask for all the details about the policy. How long will it last? What kind of service does it cover? Once you know this information, you can decide if the existing warranty is enough or if you want to purchase an extended plan. A more in-depth policy can save you a lot of money on repairs over the years, so do your research and choose wisely.
What’s the History?
This question is necessary any time you buy a used RV. It’s essential that you know how old the RV is, who has used it in the past, and how many miles it’s seen over the years. Ask the seller for a thorough record of the RV’s maintenance history, especially major repairs or accidents that occurred. Pay attention to the number of miles on the RV as well. You should also check the tread of the tires and find out when the last replacement was. Knowing the RV’s history will prove invaluable whenever you take it in for maintenance or repair. The more information you have, the more confident you can be in your purchase.
What Features Does It Have?
With the big questions out of the way, it’s time to start asking about some of the specifications of your RV. Depending on what you want, you might be looking for specific features or additions. How much sleeping space does it have? Is there extra built-in storage? What type of insulation is in the RV? Ask about the features that are most important to you and your RV experience. Keep in mind that you can add certain equipment and tools yourself if needed, such as heating pads for your holding tanks or heaters for your RV gate valve. Even bigger RVs must get clever with space and features, so there’s no guarantee the option you’re looking at will have what you want. Make sure you ask before making a decision.
Can You Test Drive?
The best way to tell if an RV is right for you is to take it for a spin. Ask the seller if you can take it for a test drive. If the answer is no, make sure the seller has a good reason why you can’t test drive it. In many cases, not being able to test drive the RV is a red flag. If you do get to take it for a ride, pay attention to how the rig feels. Is the size manageable? How does it handle accelerating, turning, and braking? Are you comfortable in the driver’s seat and would you be comfortable there for long drives? This is also a good time to keep an eye and ear out for any potential problems, such as unusual engine sounds or rattling within the RV’s interior. Taking your time and really paying attention during the test drive will give you a clear idea of whether or not it’s the right RV for you.