Recreational vehicles are like houses on wheels. They are more complicated and much more sophisticated than regular automobiles. They are great for fun and vacations but they are a huge investment. And it’s a lot more complicated than buying a car.
Your first step in purchasing an RV is to ask yourself what you would like to do in your recreational vehicle. Are you using it to travel the country? What sizes and styles do you prefer? Do you want a new or a used RV?
There’s lots of information on the Internet, but the best way to learn about recreational vehicles is to speak with people who own one. Ask questions, look through the interior and examine various options so you can understand what’s available.
Another factor is size. If you are only planning to use it sporadically, size might not be an issue. But if you plan on living out of the vehicle for extended periods of time, then a larger RV may be more comfortable.
Visit RV Dealers
Once you’ve narrowed it down, start visiting RV dealers. After your research, you should be able to speak with the salespeople clearly and confidently.
If you plan on buying a new RV, look for a dealer who offers a factory warranty. Dealers who sell used RVs should also give you a factory warranty along with a used vehicle report. That will reveal the vehicle’s history, and any damage it may have sustained.
Incentives such as free upgrades or a good financing rate may be enticing, but you should always be skeptical about the deal that comes with them.
The best dealers have an on-site service department or contracts with reputable RV repair shops. You will need a service shop that will accept your warranty if your RV is ever damaged.
How to Enjoy the RV Lifestyle
Each person has their own vision of the RV lifestyle. Some want to camp in the wilderness — others want to drive around the country visiting family.
What do you want to do in your RV?
Before purchasing a new RV, think of your goals. There are all the destinations you want to see — national parks, lakes, landmarks, or big cities.
But you should also consider your social goals. Do you want to build relationships with family, friends and old acquaintances?
Having a clear idea of what you want to do will help you during the purchasing process.
Find the Right Vehicle
Everyone’s definition of the right vehicle will be different, so RVs come in all shapes and sizes. You can purchase everything from a tiny model based on minivans, to a full-size commercial vehicle as big as some houses.
You should also consider fuel efficiency and reliability. Those two factors will also play a big part in how you enjoy your RV-centered life. RV shows and local dealerships can help pinpoint your price range.
Also think about the operational costs. Every vehicle needs routine maintenance. Find out what costs will be covered under your warranty or maintenance plan.
Full- or Part-Time?
Most owners begin their new lifestyle part-time, using their motorhome for family vacations or fishing trips. Others decide to become full-time RVers, which means moving out of their permanent home and spending their lives on the road.
The more time you spend in your RV, the more carefully you need to consider your purchase. For full-timers, it will feel like you are buying real estate, but unlike a traditional home, RVs come without property tax, utility bills or yard work.
Accessories and Supplies
Decide which accessories and supplies will make your trips enjoyable.
Some people want a satellite TV, Internet access and upscale furnishings. Others prefer to minimize their equipment to keep things simple.
It all depends on your budget and preferences.
How to Choose
an RV Repair Company
Like all vehicles, RVs will need maintenance and repairs from time to time, and it is essential that you deal with a professional repair company. You will need experienced and excellent customer service. Your RV is a big investment. Don’t trust it to just anyone.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking ordinary mechanics can work on RVs. They might be able to handle basic repairs, but it is much better to find a company with the right tools and experience to handle an RV. Some models require specialized equipment or expertise.
Whenever possible, choose a mechanic who knows your specific make and model. They will be familiar with any problems or glitches. They will also look for mechanical issues you may not have noticed. The best mechanics will fix problems before they become major issues.
The best RV repair companies remember the customer is always the boss.
Their hours should fit your needs. The ability to drop off or retrieve your RV after work will be a huge help if you maintain a busy schedule. But while convenience matters, finding a top-notch pro is more important in the long run.
Try Them Out
When you think you’ve found a quality RV repair specialist, try them out. It’s much better to have this person do minor maintenance rather than wait until a breakdown. Do they leave the motorhome clean? Do they finish jobs on time? Do they stick with their estimated cost and call you before doing extra work?
Their performance on routine jobs will indicate what you can expect on a big job.
Some repair shops can upgrade your cabin with better materials or modern technology. Maybe you need a flat-screen TV to replace your old set, or your refrigerator has stopped working. A company that can handle interior issues as well as mechanical problems is a plus.
Your RV lifestyle can be everything you want it to be. Whether you want a basic motorhome in the woods or an upscale land yacht, owning an RV is all about making your hopes and dreams come true.