7 Things to Know Before Buying an RV

For many people, living their best life means traveling as much as possible. Some people enjoy a planet ticket in their hands while others prefer to travel on the open road. However, taking long road trips in the car quickly becomes tedious and underwhelming. 

You either have to pitch a tent at night, sleep uncomfortably in your car, or pay for hotels. Furthermore, at what point do you shower and have the option of enjoying home-cooked meals?

For this reason, most people who enjoy traveling on the open road decide that buying an RV is the best option. You can combine the comfort and familiarity of living in your own private space while adventuring in parts unknown.

However, before you take the first steps toward buying an RV for the first time, there a few things you need to consider. We’re here to walk you through everything you need to know. Keep reading for our top tips on how to buy an RV.

  1. What is Your Budget?

First, you need to determine your budget. If you’re like most people, you probably don’t have the money to pay for your RV outright. In this case, you’ll need to look into RV financing. 

You can either do this through your bank or through the dealership by filling out a credit application. Regardless, determine what you can comfortably afford in monthly payments.

Avoid overextending yourself. Remember, buying an RV is all about freedom and enjoyment. Investing in an RV that nearly bankrupts you will be counter-intuitive.  

  1. How Much Space Do You Need?

Next, determine how much space you and your travel companions need in an RV. If you’re traveling alone, you can get away with a smaller model.

However, if you’re traveling with your spouse and kids, you might all be more comfortable with more space. Maximizing your space is also ideal if you’re planning on spending several months traveling or living in your RV full-time. 

Just remember that the bigger the RV is, the steeper the learning curve is for driving it. Fortunately, it’s easy enough to learn how to drive your RV safely. Though a special license isn’t required, it never hurts to get some instructions or take a course to improve your skills. 

  1. Should You Buy New or Used?

When buying an RV, you can either buy new or used. There are pros and cons to each option.

On the one hand, buying used is less expensive. However, a brand new RV has the latest technology and comes in perfect condition.

Regardless of if you decide to buy a new or used RV, you must know where to buy an RV. We recommend sticking with trusted and credible dealerships. 

If you’re buying used, you might be able to save money buying from a private seller. However, private sellers rarely perform quality checks on RVs before selling them.

Furthermore, most of them lack the mechanical or technical know-how to thoroughly inspect an RV. They may think they’re selling you an RV in great condition, but it could have underlying problems.

  1. Drive Train, Towing, and Capabilities

Before buying an RV, you need to think about everything you’ll be using it for. As noted above, how much you’re planning on living in it may dictate the size you need. However, you also need to consider its other capabilities. 

For example, some RVs, known as toy-haulers, have extra space specifically designed to house ATVs, UTVs, dirt bikes, and other motorized vehicles. You may also want to make sure the RV has towing capabilities. This is necessary if you plan to tow your regular vehicle, a boat, or a trailer. 

Finally, think about where you’ll be taking the RV. Depending on its size and clearances, you may be limited to where you can navigate and park.

  1. Heat, Air Conditioning, Electricity, and Appliances

Now it’s time to start thinking about comfort and logistics. Most people travel in their RVs during the summer. As such, it’s necessary to inquire about air conditioning. 

When traveling in an RV, there are some sacrifices you have to make, but your basic comfort shouldn’t be one of them. For example, if you’re down in Arizona during the summer, you’re going to need an effective A/C unit to keep you and your family cool. 

However, the same applies to traveling in the colder months. Find out what your options are for generating heat. Most RVs use either diesel generators to power a heater or propane heaters.

Additionally, before buying an RV, determine what appliances you’ll want on the road. Just as importantly, understand how they’re powered.

Most RV stoves and refrigerators are powered through propane. Electronics, on the other hand, are typically powered through a generator. You also have the option of installing a solar system, though those generally don’t come standard.

  1. Additional Costs

When buying an RV, it’s imperative that you account for all the costs involved in RV traveling and ownership. Upon purchasing an RV, you also need to pay for registration and RV insurance.

While traveling, you need to think about the cost of fuel. Most RVs get between 6 and 10 miles per gallon. You need to plan your trips accordingly, accounting for the various costs of fuel in different parts of the country. 

Lastly, remember that an RV is both a vehicle and a home. Both homes and vehicles require regular maintenance. In an RV, this means:

  • Oil changes
  • Transmission fluid/coolant
  • Tires
  • Winterizing (if it stays parked for the winter)
  • Electronics
  • Mechanical maintenance
  • And more

When traveling, always make sure you have extra room in your budget for random emergencies like engine trouble, blown tires, and anything else you might encounter on the road. 

  1. RV Storage

Finally, before buying an RV, plan ahead to determine where you’re going to store it while you’re not traveling. If you have an oversized garage or carport, it’s ideal. Keeping your RV out in the elements can be hard on the tire and some of the other components. 

If you can’t safely store your RV on your own property, look into other RV storage solutions. For example, many RV dealerships offer on-site storage options for a nominal fee. 

Are You Planning on Buying an RV?

If you’re ready to embark on a grand adventure and start touring the world in your RV, we would love to help get you started. If you’ve got the travel bug, the best time to buy an RV is now. 

Take a look at our inventory of new RVs if you’re looking for the latest technology and features. And if you want to spend a little less, we also have plenty of used RVs that have been quality-checked by our technicians. We look forward to working with you!