Top 5 RV Buying Mistakes
There is something incredible and adventurous about driving with the family and a cozy RV for a vacation in the outdoors.
However, the excitement can get overwhelming and lead to some basic RV buying mistakes.
So what do you need to consider when buying an RV for the summer? Well, you may be making a mistake right there. Let’s start with issue number one.
1) Not buying an all-seasons RV
If you are out to buy an RV with a summer vacation in mind, that’s a great treat for the family. However, you don’t want to get something that can only handle summer conditions. Don’t limit your potential to explore all year round.
All-seasons RVs are more rugged and able to withstand bad weather and colder temperatures. They are perfect for a cosy getaway to see the fall leaves or an off-season trip into the wilderness. Just remember that there isn’t an industry standard on “all-season”, so models do vary.
Here are some specifics on what to look for in a four season RV:
- Wall structure
- Heated, enclosed and insulated underbelly
- Holding tanks are warmed by the forced air heat which helps prevent freeze-ups
Check the specifications of the RV first.
2) Not checking the condition of the RV (RV RUST!!)
Buying used RV is a great way to get a good deal on a reliable RV. However, you don’t want to end up with something destined for the junkyard. It is essential to see the trailer in person and carry out a thorough RV inspection. You can check everything is in good working order and secure enough for your family.
This also means checking for rust on an RV. Rust on a frame isn’t just a sign of old age, and sellers can’t pass it off as part of a “vintage aesthetic”. Rust can be dangerous as it weakens the metalwork. It can also spread if it isn’t treated properly. So, check the frame and other metalwork for any signs. Here's why...
We had a customer buy a newer used travel trailer but it was from us. He has eaten through a set of tires quickly and thinks he has a bad axle or something. He brings it to us assuming he needs an axle replacement.
With all of our experience, we quickly recognized the type of splits in the metal. The splits originate on the inside and therefore are not from rust but the rust came after. All the splits are at weld spots because someone welded this incorrectly.
We called in a licensed and insured welder. We use outside welders for all the customer welding. The welder looked to see if there as anyway to replace any part of the frame work to save the customer’s almost $20,000 purchase.
The welder’s opinion was that they needed to get someplace to leave it parked for use because it sooner or later would fall apart on the road and be a dangerous when that happened.
We see that so often when people buy used. They don’t realize how often the camper was sold when the owner had a major issue and decided it would be someone else’s problem.
3) Not buying an RV with the optimal dimensions and capacity
The word optimal is key here. We’re not talking about getting something super cozy and compact like a retro teardrop trailer or anything spacious and high-end enough for a touring rock band. There is a sweet spot in the middle where everyone has enough room, but the trailer isn’t too cumbersome.
On top of this, you should consider the floorplan to make sure it is accessible and family-friendly, especially if travelling with young children.
The sleeping capacity of an RV is one of the most important aspects that RV buyers need to pay attention to. Be sure to sort your RV search by the maximum sleeping capacity that you feel you may need not only today but in the future.
One mistake that we run into quite a bit with buyers are those who forget to include guests in their buying decisions. Bringing along family members when traveling or your kids friends.
3) Not considering the weight or towing limits
The term carrying capacity may be new to first-time RV buyers. This is the weight limit inside the RV. Some models are heavy-duty enough to take several thousands of pounds, which means a lot of gear, provisional, and additional appliances. Others are more limiting. If you go too low, you will need to reconsider how you kit out your RV and what to pack.
There is a similar issue with towing limits. Your car or truck has a maximum towing limit determining the weight of anything you pull behind you. If your car can’t handle the trailer, you aren’t going anywhere.
5) Rushing the purchase
Whether you choose to buy a used RV or a new one off the lot, you don’t have to commit then and there. Go and take a look at the RV rather than relying on photos alone. That means really taking a good look at the whole vehicle.
Learn as much as possible about the model, its capabilities, and its limitations. This helps when determining the weight and towing capacity, as well as any all-season features. If you have concerns about the condition, get that professional RV inspection first.
Take a friend or family member with you for a second opinion and take photos. You can then discuss it with the family and sleep on it before making a final decision. Once you are sure it is what you need, you can start negotiating the price.
Take Your Time To Avoid These Common RV Buying Mistakes.
There is a lot to consider when looking for the perfect trailer for your family. Start with a checklist of all your requirements to make sure you can get the right capacity, features, and more. Take your time inspecting and comparing models until you are sure you have the right model. Then you can plan your next vacation with greater peace of mind.