'Round The Campfire

Best questions to ask when buying an RV

More from Outdoor Living Newsletter December Outdoor Living Newsletter
Row of new RVs at dealership
Ask questions before you buy

It feels great to finally decide to buy an RV; thoughts abound of future family rv trips and nature adventures, of going on the road and getting away from it all. However, purchasing an RV is a major investment and requires some preparation, including knowing what questions to ask an RV salesperson. Asking the right questions not only lets them know you're serious about the purchase; it also helps you get the best deal and the perfect RV for your needs. So we've come up with twelve best questions to ask. Print out this page and bring it with you when you visit an RV dealer.

1.  We are a family of ____, looking to travel ___ times a month. Our kind of adventure is ______. What RV do you recommend?

This tops the list of questions to ask just fill in the blanks. There are different types of RV; each with its pros and cons and recommended use. Check out What type of RV is right for you for details. When the salesperson gets a vivid idea of your lifestyle, he is able to make the best recommendation.

2.  I have a budget of $_______. What is the best purchase within that price range?

Letting your RV sales person know that you have a working budget would prevent them from steering you into RV's that you can't afford. Some agents will try to sell you more expensive RV's than what you really need because it means higher commission for them. Set a budget and stick to it.

3.  What are the pros and cons of buying a brand new RV versus a used RV?

A good salesperson will educate their buyer on the advantages and disadvantages of buying either a brand new or used RV. Some jump into buying a brand new RV because it is less troublesome, while some go for a used RV because it costs less. Listen to the pros and cons and weigh them against each other.

4.  Should I buy a gas-powered RV or a diesel-powered RV? What do I need to consider?

This is a question for motorhomes buyers. Some gas RV owners appreciate the fact that gasoline is cheaper than diesel, while some diesel RV owners believe that they're getting more bang to their buck because they are able to travel farther in a gallon of diesel than in a gallon of gas. Ask your RV salesperson the great and not-so-great features of a gas RV and a diesel RV. To give you a head start, read Diesel vs. gas motorhome to get the main differences between the two.

5.  What can my vehicle tow?

This and the next question apply if you are planning on buying a Pop Up, Travel Trailer, Toy Hauler or Fifth Wheel. You need to make sure the vehicle you own can safely pull the trailer, or if you're going to buy a new vehicle that you understand what kind of vehicle you need to buy to pull your trailer.

6.  Do you sell and install hitch packages for towing?

Again this question only applies if you're looking to buy a trailer. You need to make sure you get the right hitch package. They can be complicated to install if you have never done it before.

7.  How difficult is it to maintain this RV? And how much should I budget annually to maintain one?

This is a great question once you have a shortlist of RVs. Owning an RV is no joke. You have to set up regular maintenance and servicing schedules to keep your RV in top condition. You also have to be able to factor in the maintenance costs in order for you to come up with the most practical choice.

8.  What problems might I expect with this RV?

Each type of RV has mechanical, electrical or structural issues. You have to know what problems you must anticipate with the RV you're buying so that you can better map out maintenance and servicing strategy. Similarly, when buying a second hand RV, you should ask what kinds of repairs have been done on the vehicle.

9.  What kind of insurance coverage must I get for the RV?

An RV requires insurance that is different from regular automotive. RV insurance coverage depends on the type and model of the RV. Insurance laws also vary from state to state. If you're thinking of using your RV as residence, ask your RV salesperson about Fulltime liability. You can find out more by reading How to get the best insurance deal for your RV.

10.  What kind of warranty can you offer and what does it cover?

There is a wide variety of warranty coverages for a recreational vehicle. There are many variables to consider when coming up with the best kind of coverage. Primary considerations are the type, model and age of the RV. Some warranties include wear and tear and obsolete parts. Also, if you're buying a second hand RV, inquire if the warranty of the vehicle is transferable.

11.  What financing can you offer?

RV dealers compete with each other not only through the vehicles they sell, but also through the financing plan they offer buyers. It pays to canvass from different RV stores to check which can offer you the best financing program. This is also beneficial in haggling your RV agent.

12.  Under whose name is the RV registered and what is its history?

The question is important to ask if you're buying a second hand RV. Knowing if an RV has a history of accident or crime helps you decide if you'll push through with the purchase or not.

One final point - make sure you receive a demonstration on how everything works before making your purchase. You need to make sure everything is in working order.

Remember, don't feel foolish asking questions. Don't make a purchase until you're satisfied that all your questions are answered. Enjoy your RV!

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