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During 2020 more people than ever before have discovered the joys of RVs as a safe and enjoyable way to vacation.
Across the country, outlets have reported an unprecedented increase in the demand for RVs, with some agencies experiencing a 1,000% increase in rental requests.
Are you one of these enlightened folks who’ve fallen in love with the RV way of life and are now considering buying a new RV for your family?
Here’s how to make the right choice when shopping for your perfect new or used RV.
1. Know What You Want From Your New RV
Whether you’re buying a new RV because your faithful old model’s past it’s prime or you’re embarking on RV ownership for the first time, do your research thoroughly beforehand.
There are at least nine different types of RVs to choose from, so there’s bound to be one that’s ideal for your needs. The first order of business is deciding whether you want to tow your RV or drive it.
The downside of a towable RV is the fact that you’ll need a suitable towing vehicle and possibly a fifth-wheel hitch. When you have a drivable RV you’ll usually need to take a second vehicle along on your vacations.
It’s important to consider your family’s immediate and future needs when you buy an RV.
Will there be enough space for everyone in a few years or will the RV be too big for the two of you once your kids have flown the coop?
2. Know Your Prices
Once you’ve decided on a few models that tick all your preliminary boxes, do some investigations into what they’re selling for.
Compare new vs used RV prices at various dealers as well as online classified ads. You can also look at the National Automobile Dealers’ Association’s pricing guides for RVs to get an idea of fair pricing for various RVs.
Don’t automatically cross deals that seem too good to be true off your list.
No matter what the price of an RV you’ll need to check it out thoroughly before your commit to buying it. If one of these cheap RVs turns out to have only minor flaws you could end up with the bargain of the century.
Knowing what you can afford on your budget should help to trim down your list even further.
3. Consider Comfort
The safety and comfort of an RV are paramount. It’s safe to assume that new RVs are in a roadworthy condition. Yet, you should ask to see proof of all maintenance and certificates of roadworthiness no matter what type of RV you decide on.
While you can get a good idea of what to expect from an RV by utilizing available floor plan drawings, nothing beats inspecting the vehicle yourself.
Go inside each RV on your shortlist and see if you can picture your family co-existing happily inside it. Take a look at the storage space and make sure there’s enough place for all your vital holiday gear, clothing and camping equipment.
Is the refrigerator adequate for your needs? Does the kitchen have all the basics you need while on vacation? Is there enough space for food storage?
Get in touch with other RV owners and ask them about their experiences with particular brands and models of RVs, or ask about specific models via online RV forums and chatrooms.
It’s a good idea to rent an RV that’s similar to the ones you have in mind and spend the weekend in it to see if it suits your needs.
4. Inspect the RV Inside and Out
There are so many things to check when you’re buying a large vehicle like an RV, but some are more important than others. Here’s a checklist of some of the things to look out for while inspecting your prospective new RV:
- Faulty or rusted plumbing
- Loose bathroom fixtures
- Broken cabinets
- Mold anywhere on the RV
- Warped or unstable floors
- Corrosion on the exterior panels
- The age of the tires
- Sagging ceilings
- Old, crumbling caulking
These are the most important things to check as most of them result from moisture and leaks inside the vehicle.
Although aspects like worn upholstery or chipped furniture might also affect your purchase decision, these cosmetic aspects are easy to repair. Water damage is a costly and time-consuming fix.
Remember you can use an RVs VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) to check its history. This will reveal if it was ever stolen or involved in a serious accident.
Your best bet when shopping for an RV is to visit a reputable, well-established dealer. That way you’re assured of fair prices, good quality vehicles, and assistance if there are any comebacks.
5. Take It for a Test Drive
If you decide on a driveable RV, always take it for a test drive before you buy it.
It’s important that you feel comfortable handling it in traffic as well as parking and reversing it. Ask the owner or dealer to drive for a part of the way so you can judge the level of comfort for your passengers too.
If your partner will be helping with some of the driving duty during your vacations they need to take a turn behind the wheel too.
Make Good Choices
It’s difficult to remain objective when you’re confronted by rows of gleaming luxury RVs at the dealership so arrive prepared.
If you know what you want and how much you’re prepared to pay for it when you walk into the dealership, you’re more likely to make a good purchase decision.
Stick to your guns and you’ll walk out of there with a new RV that brings you many happy vacations to come.
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