Friday, May 6, 2011

RV Buying Dilemma

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
My wife and I are on the verge of becoming RV owners. The biggest roadblock turns out we cannot agree on which type of RV to buy. I want a 5th wheel and she wants a motorhome. I tell her we get a lot more living space in a 5th wheel for half the money. She wants to be able to get up and move around while I drive. How do others work this out and agree on a rig that makes everyone happy? Please let me hear from you soon as I have a tight wad of money burning a whole in my pants pocket.
--Anxious in Austin

Dear Tight Wad:
Keep it in your pants until you have sorted out all the options. It’s a buyer’s market and you can find a great deal on whatever you decide. There are many ways to look at how a rig will serve you and what is important to you and your wife. Size matters. Some folks like a small living space that is easy to drive and park, and others want the Queen Mary on wheels. You should consider fuel. Not mpg on the rig only, but total travel mpg. Example: Your 5th wheel might cost more in fuel over a long period of travel compared to a motorhome pulling a small high mileage tow vehicle. Most people put on many more miles sightseeing than when actually pulling a rig.

Be sure to ballpark total trip mileage if a fuel budget is a concern. Another factor would be gas or diesel. Manufacturers are beginning to produce shorter diesel pusher motorhomes (Ex: Allegro Breeze) and class C Sprinter body rigs (Ex: Winnebago View). A diesel truck is going to cost you more at point of purchase, but save you fuel costs over the life of the vehicle. If everyone who joined the RV family could try before they buy, I guarantee most would make a different choice than what they end up with. I would suggest you and your wife visit a few local parks and talk to people with various rigs. You will find most RVers approachable and more than willing to share their thoughts and considerations on buying an RV. You will also find a wide variety of camping options from pop-ups to slide-outs.

Another important factor often overlooked by first time buyers is an efficient floor plan. When buying a rig, looks are only skin deep. Make every square foot of living space count. Let’s not forget the ever popular “Toy Haulers.” Yes, RVs in America need a garage. Some people with a lot of toys find this a must. There is comfort in knowing your Harley Hog is sleeping right next to you in an adjacent room. Before you know it you and your wife will be on the same page -- totally confused. The point is, there is no perfect rig. You need to find the most comfortable, affordable options that make the two of you the most happy before you unroll that wad.
--Keep Smilin’, Dr. R.V. Shrink

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

A feeling of JOY in compromise!
Traveling in or with an R.V. is a
joy, if you to really get along together.Do what keeps you all loving each other and makes you happy.Life short, Love is sweet.
Do a lot of looking and asking lots of questions about R.V.s
Good luck and God Bless.

Anonymous said...

My friends wife got a ticket for no seat belt when she was walking in their motorhome on the road.

Roy said...

My wife and I had the exact same argument 7 years ago. I won because I'm cheap and didn't want to take the huge "bath" on the motorhome if we didn't like the lifestyle. We're now on our second 5th wheel and she loves it - me - I'm tired of using a crewcab dually as my runabout and want to buy a motorhome so I can haul (in an enclosed trailer) a nice little car for running around. I think the difference in attitude is the fact that we used to move every few days, lately we have been staying 2 - 3 weeks.
Roy Ellithorpe

Darryl Stevens said...

My wife and I looked at 5th wheels before we bought a new RV. I had a Dodge 1500 and decided if we bought the 5th wheel we wanted we would have to by a new truck. We ended up buying a new 40' MH. We are full timers and we are happy with our decision.

Anonymous said...

Does your wife know how dangerous it is to be walking around when the motorhome is moving? - what if you have to slam on your brakes or you get rear ended? - She is going to go flying!!- You two make your decision on what type of RV you want to buy, but don't make the decision on whether "she can get up and move around"

Anonymous said...

Almost everywhere in North America it is illegal to walk around in a vehicle that is in motion.. SEAT BELT LAWS.. it also means the driver cannot engage the cruise control and walk to the back to make coffee..

Anonymous said...

I am surprised that the RV Shrink didn't suggest the obvious to you.
This are the steps I would recommend:
1. Hold on to that money.
2. Rent a fifth wheel and take a trip.
3. Rent a MH and take a second trip, possibly to the same place so you can do a good comparison.
4. Compare and contrast the 2 trips.
5. Make your decision.

Anonymous said...

Insurance is much cheaper on a 5th wheel as it rides on the truck coverage. You also have one less motor/transmission to take care of, oil/transmission fluid changes etc. A 5th wheel has far more inside room than a motorhome..25 years ago we had the same choice to make..We are now on our 3rd 5th wheel and wouldn't have anything else.

Anonymous said...

This is a tough decision, My wife and I spent 10 years going to RV shows and asking a lot of questions. In the final analysis you must decide how you are going to use an RV. We in a few short months will become full timers. For our needs we decided on a Class A. The coach will be mostly parked in a campground while we sitesee with a dingy. We have already taken a few short trips and I would not suggest walking around in an RV while it is in motion. Pull over in a rest stop to have your lunch or to use the bathroom.

Anonymous said...

The trouble with a motorhome is that you spend the time driving in the same place when camping. I like two separate places. Also I like to park my trailer and then have my vehicle for doing local sight seeing.

Anonymous said...

I have been traveling and owning all types of RV. For over 30 Yrs. I am on my third Motorhome If that tell you anything.

Anonymous said...

I think you need to mention also that while you certainly can move around in a motorhome while it is moving, it is much safer to stay seated. If I need to go to the bathroom or something of that nature, I do but mostly I don't move around all that much while husband is driving.