We love the freedom to travel that comes with RV’ing. We don’t love the frustration that can go along with buying an RV.
We have all bought automobiles and maybe even a home. Now consider combining both into one major purchase. With a quick search on the internet you will find some horror stories. So while we can’t guarantee an easy experience, we can tell you the truth about an RV that you are considering to buy. Information is power!
If you’ve ever gone to a dealership looking to purchase a new RV you may have walked away more confused than ever, or maybe you purchased your RV right on the spot. We’ve personally been to many RV dealerships looking at motor-homes. If there is one certainty across the board when it comes to all RV dealerships it’s that there is no certainty.
Finding Your Perfect Match
Let’s start at the beginning. You’ve spent months researching RV’s. You’ve looked all over the internet at new and used RV’s. There it is! The model you want to buy right in front of you on the screen. First you need to go look at it in person. Once you get to the dealership, you walk into what you believe is the perfect RV for you. The first thing you smell when you walk inside is a musty smell like mold or mildew. That can’t be! This is a brand new RV (you think to yourself). Understand when someone drives an RV, that RV has just been subjected to an earthquake. Seams and joints may come loose allowing water into the RV. The RV may have been sitting on that lot for a long time after that earthquake. Since this is a brand new RV these things should get fixed before delivery, but sometimes the problem gets masked to get the RV off the lot (especially if it’s been sitting there a while). If you noticed that problem, what else may be wrong with this brand new RV?
Maybe you look at other RV’s. Maybe you consider the one you just looked at as long as the dealer fixes the mold or mildew issues. Either way the very NEXT step is to get an independent Pre-Delivery Inspection of that unit. This inspection should be done by someone who is qualified to inspect RV’s, such as an NRVIA Certified RV Inspector. RV Technicians can be great at fixing RV’s, but they have been conditioned to inspect RV’s the way a dealership would. And by that, we mean a one or two page checklist that only takes a short time to complete. A Certified Inspector will get up close and personal with these vehicles spending about 6 to 8 hours taking pictures and video documenting. With this information you will know the things that must be addressed immediately and those that can wait. This information is power when negotiation time comes around. If you want to see an example of one of our RV Inspection, Click Here.
Negotiate Your Deal
The hardest part of buying a RV is sitting down and negotiating the deal. You are going to want to make sure any issues are resolved before the delivery of your RV. The information you have received from the NRVIA Inspection has just given you negotiating power. Maybe there is an issue that the dealership is unwilling to fix. This should give you the ability to lessen your purchase price. If your inspection comes back with a clean bill of health, then you have definitely found a good RV.
Drive Into Your New Lifestyle
Once you’ve made the deal it is time to take your vehicle off the lot. Knowing your RV is in good condition keeps you from worrying about the little things. You must understand that once an inspection is completed and the dealership has worked on it you are trusting that the dealership made all the correct fixes. Generally dealerships will give you the quick tour on how to do “this” and “that” like your leveling system, how to use your slide outs, or how to empty your black tank. It isn’t necessarily thorough and it goes by very quickly. We remember being very overwhelmed. Almost like taking the new baby home the first night. Some people like to have their inspector back out to check the repairs. Inspectors can also give a thorough walk-through explaining the operating systems and key points for maintaining your new home on wheels. After all, they have spent the better part of a day inspecting and becoming familiar with your RV.
Speaking of maintenance… Do you know how often you should be checking and cleaning different appliances and parts of your RV? Do you know the difference between the fresh water, gray and black tanks? How about when to empty them? Are you comfortable opening the awning? Do you know where the breaker box is? Is it clearly labeled in case of an emergency? Do you have a generator? How often should you change the oil in the generator? What about LP gas (Propane)? Do you have an ASME tank that requires the RV to be taken to be filled or are there DOT tanks that you can remove to take and be filled separate from the unit? How old are your DOT tanks and when they should be replaced?
Before you head out on the road make sure your RV is in the best possible shape to have the best possible trip. And be sure you understand the basics of maintaining your new house on wheels… Because INFORMATION IS POWER!!