Buying an RV isn’t a matter to be taken lightly. There are many factors to consider from where you’ll store the RV when you’re not using it, to whether or not your truck can tow it safely. We’ve put together a list here of what to know before you buy an RV.
- (From Kevin, Sales Manager) It’s not as daunting as you think. Use a reputable dealer and they’ll walk you through pretty much everything you need to know!
- How much can your vehicle safely tow or haul? Sometimes you’ll hear from car salesmen, “Oh you can put that truck camper in the back. It’ll be close to capacity but just add some airbags.” Or “yeah you should be able to tow this RV with that SUV. It might be slow going up hills but it’ll be fine!” Do the research. Look at the sticker on the inside of the door. What’s the cargo capacity? What’s the tow rating? Is there other information in the manual or inside the glove box about towing and cargo capacity? Do some research and decide for yourself if you’re willing to go all the way to your vehicle’s max capacity or if you’re better off looking for lighter weight models. It may even be time for a vehicle upgrade if that’s the best option.
- There will be registration fees for travel trailers. This might seem obvious to some, but if you’ve never purchased a travel trailer before you probably haven’t thought about that. You’ll have to register it and get tags for it just like you do with your vehicle. Truck campers do not have registration fees in most states as they’re considered “cargo.” What to know before you buy an RV.
- You’ll need to make sure your truck has a tow package, or that you have on installed. If you do this some place other than an RV dealership, make sure you’re clear about what you need: You’re going to be towing an RV. You’ll need a 7-pin trailer plug; this is different that the 4-pin you often need just for smaller cargo trailers.
- There will be lots of accessories and fun things to buy such as: leveler blocks, a sewer hose (if you have holding tanks), (optional) solar panel, generator, back-up camera, cell-signal booster, Wifi ranger, tire pressure monitors, sway control systems, storage boxes, a patio mat, and lots more. We want you to know, before you begin your search, what you may have to buy. That way you can build it into your budget. Many trailers these days come equipped with solar panels, so you may not need that. If you don’t plan to boondock often then a solar panel or generator won’t be an issue. Most of the other items are optional and not necessary. The sewer hose and leveler blocks you’ll definitely want, but aside from that the other items mentioned are things you MIGHT want to buy, not things you have to buy.
- There will be a learning curve! If you’re upgrading to a different style of RV you’ll have to get used to some new features. It’ll take a few trips before you’re fully comfortable with where everything is located and how everything works. If this is your first RV have some patience learning to back the camper into sites and learning to empty the holding tanks efficiently at the dump station. Remember, you’re in this for the long haul (no pun intended). Take your time and enjoy the experience!
- (From sales specialist Chris): Buy your 2nd camper first. Think about your current needs, but also your FUTURE needs. In the next few years are your options for travel growing? If you know you’ll be traveling more, and for longer, in the next few years, buy the camper for that now. That way you’re not going through this whole process again in just a few years.
- (From sales specialist Chris): Have realistic expectations. RVs traveling down the highway or on backroads take a lot of wear and tear. Screws shake loose and sometimes things break. We keep a small tool kit in our camper and, every so often, walk around tightening screws. It’s no one’s fault; when towing at 60mph some items break. Know that ahead of time. Be prepared to stick that valence back over the window or tighten the screws around the spice rack.
- If you’re getting a truck camper, check with the dealer to see if they have specs for the installation system your camper will need. All truck camper installation packages are made specific to that year’s trucks. If you have a brand new truck there’s a chance it will be a few months before installation systems are available.
- Owning an RV makes camping even more awesome! What to know before buying an RV? That owning one can make your camping trips even better! Everyone has a place to go to get out of the rain. There is room to play games or to read. It’s warm and cozy. The campfires still happen. The marshmallows still toast. You sleep better. You have more options for cooking. Everyone is happy!
We hope we’ve answered some questions about what to know before you buy an RV. If you’re starting your RV search, make sure to read our other blog posts like Which RV is right for me.