Useful RV Buying Tips From the Experts

If the RV life calls to you, it calls to you no matter how many times your mother-in-law says: “Why would you ever want to sleep in a vehicle?” There’s something about the open road that’s romantic. Something about the utter freedom that comes with being able to move your house whenever and wherever you want is hard to resist. (You can also tell your mother-in-law that RVs come in all shapes and sizes, some of them are pretty swanky).

Knowing you want to embark on an RV journey is only the first step of the process. When it comes to finding an RV that will meet your needs and purchasing it, a little research is in order. Find an RV at auction and you and your family will be hitting the road in a new RV. The following will break down some of the more useful tips we’ve found to help you out when you’re shopping and buying an RV.

There Are Different Types Of RVs

Like most motor vehicles, RVs come in a wide variety of options. Technically, RV stands for a recreational vehicle, so you can imagine a ton of different versions on the market. RVs can be broken into two main categories: towable and motorized.

Towable RVs are typically called trailers and are designed to be pulled by another vehicle. It’s important to note that not all vehicles can tow all trailers—the size and weight of the trailer will determine what sort of vehicle you need to pull it along. They can come in pre-designed formats. Alternatively, shows that customizable floor plans are also a viable choice. One of the significant benefits of this option is that you can detach your trailer from your vehicle and drive around without it whenever you feel like it (when going to park downtown a busy city, for example, or when you’re running to the store from your campsite and don’t feel like packing things up safely in the trailer so they don’t go flying on that one crazy turn that they really should have fixed by now.

There four main types of trailers:

  • Truck campers (sometimes also called cab-overs or slide-ins) fit nice and snug into the bed of a truck, and sometimes they have elements that reach out and over the top of the cab. They can also have compartments that slide in or out to make extra space. Almost always, a heavy-duty truck is needed to handle the weight of truck campers. You can easily find these outfitted with room for sleeping, eating, and preparing food. They can also come with a wet bath or toilet/shower combo. Given their compact nature, off-roading is possible with these guys.
  • Pop-up trailers (sometimes called fold-out campers) have a utility cargo base that’s kind of like a trailer and a canvas top and are raised using a manual crank or power system. They are typically seen as a great first trailer for those who want to make the switch from camping to towing.
  • Travel trailers (sometimes called pull-behinds) are towed with a bumper hitch that it’s in the front of the unit. There’s a wide variety of floor plans and rv bumper hitch available, from incredibly simple to trendy and luxurious.
  • Fifth wheels must be pulled by a truck using a fifth-wheel hitch in the bed of the truck. They’re popular because they tend to be more spacious than other options with higher ceilings. Again, they come in simple to luxurious options.

Motorized RVs are recreational vehicles with motors of their own. You might be familiar with calling them motorhomes. Motorized RVs have the driver’s area and the living space enclosed within the same roof. This option doesn’t involve hitching or unhitching and comes in classes A, B, and C.

Class A motorhomes are the ones that look like big busses. Due to their sheer size and weight, they tend to have poor fuel efficiency and are not so easy to maneuver if you’re not used to them.

Class B motorhomes can sometimes be called camper vans. They are built on a van chassis and tend to be the smallest and easiest to maneuver out of the motorized RVs. Because of their small size, there tends to be less living space.

Class C motorhomes have what’s called a cab-over, which is where above the driver’s seat there’s extra space overhanging that can be used for sleeping space or extra storage.

Brush Up On Your Driving Skills

No matter what option you choose, when you’re shopping for an RV, you want to make sure that you feel comfortable driving it around. For anyone who isn’t used to maneuvering a big vehicle, this might mean practicing a bit before purchasing one of your own. You might decide that parking or the way a vehicle handles will push you towards making one choice over the other. Take a look around; your local driving school might even offer lessons (and, as a bonus, this might even lower your insurance rates).

Consider Licensing

Depending on which type of RV you want, you might need to upgrade your license. Of course, the rules vary state by state, so take a moment to read about the requirements in your area. It might take time to get this organized, so start early.

Look Into Insurance

Speaking of lowering your insurance rates, if you’re taking the RV out on the road and living in it, you might need more than your typical car insurance. Reread your policy carefully and make sure you’re pleased with what is being protected. If there’s something crucial that isn’t covered, you might want to look into additional insurance or a different policy.

Learn About RV Maintenance And Safety

Bigger vehicles can sometimes have more needs. When shopping, especially if you’re looking at a used RV, give the entire thing a full check over. Ask the seller to break down the steps you’ll need to maintain the vehicle, prep it for movement, and tweak it for weather conditions. When shopping for second-hand RVs, it is crucial that you check for signs of pests, bugs, or rodents. These critters can cause massive damage by chewing wires, plastic, and rubber lines.

The above information should help you narrow down your RV options and get settled into whichever recreational vehicle you choose. It can be tempting to rush the process, but you’re shopping for a home in addition to a vehicle (even if you’re only going to be living in it a short time, you’re still going to be living in it).

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