Tuesday, March 8, 2016

RV buyer be aware

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
We have been looking at RV floor plans for a year. We are soon to retire and cannot seem to agree on size, layout, amenities, or even type.

We are all over the map. We have looked at motorhomes, trailers, fifth wheels in all class sizes. How do people make a buying decision? Is it just us? Can you give us any pointers?
--Perplexed in Pensacola

Dear Perplexed:
Don't feel like the Lone Ranger. Many people take the leap and discover they didn't do enough homework. My recommendations would be to try imagining how you will use your RV.

Will you do much entertaining? If so, what seating arrangements will you have available. Another important consideration is sleeping quarters. Do you want a dedicated bed or can you live with a convertible? Do you want separate beds? How about room on both sides of the bed so you are not climbing over each other when getting up in the night. ​

Is the bathroom roomy enough? Does the kitchen offer convenient working space, and adequate counter top real estate for prep work, dish washing and utensil storage? Where will you relax? If TV is important, at what angle is it placed? Many times it gets stuck wherever the manufacture​r​ can find some leftover space.

 Think about storage. Think about water and waste tank capacity. The smaller the unit the smaller the tanks become. This is only a concern if you plan to spend more time without hookups. The list can go on and on, but you really need to imagine how you will use the RV. Don't let a salesperson talk you into something that absolutely will not work for you.

You have to do your own homework. Most salespeople have never lived the RV lifestyle. They can make anything they have on the lot sound perfect for you if you haven't figured it out for yourself.

You don't need a doorbell that plays 50 songs, but you want function, quality and convenience. Sooner or later you have to pull the trigger and there is no guarantee you will end up with all the right options.

Once you get on the road you may discover your personal RV lifestyle is totally different than you imagined. Many people end up with several units before they find one that is close to their needs and wants.

Let me close with, "talk to other RVers." That is where you will find hundreds of opinions and give you food for thought. Just looking at all the "bling" will not answer the most important question you may not even have yet.​ ​
--Keep Smilin', Dr. R.V. Shrink


MrTommy said...

If I had to say what I thought was the MOST important item to check, I'd say "Sit on the toilet". While this may sound odd, if it doesn't work for you, you will be miserable several times a day.

Anonymous said...

Rent a couple RVs first. See what it's all about and what you may want different than the ones you rent.

Unknown said...

Don't forget to check where the gas filler is if you go with a motorhome. It never occurred to us to check that. It's on the back wall. We have to pass up a lot of gas stations with convenience stores to be able to get the filler within reach of the gas hose AND be able to get out of the station. Even dedicated RV lanes at some of the big truck stop gas stations (the car side - we're gas, not diesel) can be tricky.

Anonymous said...

I would seriously also check where the outlet is to the black and grey water storage tank is. Some are actually behind a tire or under the rig which makes it very difficult to reach each time you want to dump the tanks. Make believe you are cooking and getting the pots and pans out and fridge and room on counter etc. Check storage for what you would bring. Some huge rigs have NO storage to speak of so check it out.

Anonymous said...

Determine if you can use the facilities (fridge, bathroom, bed) WITHOUT opening the slides...we can't and it limits us in many ways...stop to make a sandwich, catch 40 winks at wally's world, make a quick pit-stop....you get the picture.
If you park and open and stay, no problem, but if you 'travel' instead of 'camp', you need to know what to look for in the floorplan.

Unknown said...

Can you spend some time at an RV campground / resort BEFORE you buy? Many have cabins you can rent. Check in and then, walk the campground. Talk to as my RVers as you can. Most RVers are happy to talk about their rig. Ask what they would change. What would they do differently? Can they report on the quality and reliability of their RV and its' manufacturer? Many RVers will give you the full tour, inside and out. Doing this will allow you to see many more RVs than any RV dealer could stock. Furniture in many RVs is very attractive eye candy but, when you sit / lie down more than a few minutes, you painfully realize that said furniture is NOT all that comfortable and, to BE really comfortable, you'll need to make some expensive changes. RV beds are often non-standard sizes. Your bed linens will either have a sloppy fit or, you'll pay dearly to get custom-sized linens. If you could attend an RV Boot Camp BEFORE you buy any RV, you'll be a better-educated buyer and, a safer RVer. Check out RVTrader.com to compare prices.

Sam said...

Buy used, at lease on your first couple of units. Depreciation on RVs is steep. Many RV resorts will have nightly rental units kinda like motel rooms. Stay a week and meet and greet. You will find a lot of nice floor plans in rigs well over ten or twenty years old that are still are providing a lot of joy to their owners.
Learn to read the manufacturing date on tire sidewalls. You do not want to experience tire failure. And have the brakes linings checked. If you can stop safely and not experience tire failure you're good to go.
Pass on all the eye candy. How many TVs do you actually need in a 300 sq. ft. home? Make sure you experience the rig in travel mode with all the slides in. If you still have to stop at McDonalds to use their bathroom, thats no good.
My wife and I enjoy the class A, ours is a 12 year old Flair 33R, because which ever one of us is not driving can bring the other hot tea and crumpets. (I have no idea what a crumpet is, BTW.) Also, I've been known to get a lot of serious naps back on our bed while she is charging down the highways and byways.

Jerry X Shea said...

Back off guys - you are looking to deep into a simple life sttyle. If you are going into the RV Lifestyle all you need is a table for 4.The 2 of you and one other couple for dinner, not the night. If you are coming from a 4 bedroom house that entertained 12 for dinner, go buy a condo - RVING is not for you. You should be buying your RV to go see America, not entertain friends. Because you brave put "so much time" into researching RV's I agree with others - rent one, try it out for a few months. It will help you discover what you need, want and don't need in an RV. If you don't kill each other living 24/7 in 200-400 sq.ft. you can then buy the RV right for you. Best of luck. Jerry X

Unknown said...

MrTommy knows what he's talking about. The bathroom is the single most important section of any RV. We have a Travel Supreme diesel pusher with a bathroom made to our specifications [TS would make just about any change you wanted] and a Koala 24' RBK, which we use for boondocking/remote camping. Look at the floorpan of the 24 RBK and you'll know why-GREAT bathroom with plenty of storage because of the outside kitchen feature. Win-win. I never understand RVers who look for good shower/bathroom facilities at campgrounds. You're better off if the one in your unit is one you're happy to use!

Dan said...

Please check the RCCC Realistic Cargo Carrying Capacity for any rig. Remember to subtract people weight from this number and then see how much you can carry. Some rigs are very low that you would want to run from buying.