March 15, 2019
Welcome, new RVers, and thanks for joining us for another great issue of our Beginner’s Guide to RVing newsletter. We look forward to getting you out on the road!
This newsletter is brought to you monthly by RVtravel.com and is funded primarily through voluntary subscription contributions from our readers. Thank you!
By Chuck Woodbury
If you’re planning to buy an RV, here’s the best advice you’ll find in a few hundred words.
First, be cautious buying from Camping World. It sells one out of five RVs in America, most of which are known in the industry as “stick and tin” models, in other words, cheap ones. The average selling price of an RV at Camping World is around $33,000, well below what you’d pay for a quality unit.
Cheap RVs might look fine, but they are built as cheaply as possible — cheap construction and cheap components. They look good, though, an art that RV manufacturers have mastered because they know that most new RVers buy the “bling” — what they see, without closely examining how the RV is constructed. Buying a cheap RV on impulse, which is often the case, is like marrying someone you met the night before at a Las Vegas casino. Trouble ahead. . .
Camping World is known for urging RV buyers to stretch their payments 15 or 20 years, and other RV dealers play the same game. If you need to finance an RV for that long, don’t buy the RV. Find a good used unit and buy it for half the price. An unwise buyer may figure he or she can afford $250 a month for payments, so what the heck, they’ll just deal with those 20 years of payments one month at a time. What they don’t consider is that an inexpensive RV will only last 5 or 10 years before it starts falling apart. Repairs do not come cheap. And there’s the cost of licensing, insurance, gas, campgrounds and, often, storage. So, in reality, they’d better plan to triple that $250 a month.
The RV Industry marketing people love to brag that RVing is the cheapest way to travel. It can be, yes, but most often that’s a lie. In college, I learned how to make such a claim in a class titled “Lying with Statistics.”
Camping World (if you should buy from there) pushes overpriced extended warranties. Don’t bite. Get a price from someone else and save a bundle.
Years ago, RV manufacturers would pay RV dealers to do a pre-delivery inspection (PDI) on an RV before the customer took possession. No more. And keep in mind most manufacturers do not even perform a final inspection on an RV when it leaves the factory.
Some dealers don’t even bother with a PDI. They figure the RVer can just bring it back, and then they can get paid by the manufacturer’s warranty. The RVer may spend weeks, even months, getting things right. Read the Facebook Group RV Horror Stories to see some examples.
To be safe, you should always have a new or used RV inspected by a professional before you sign your contract. And it must be someone not affiliated with the seller.
RVing can be wonderful — it certainly has been for me through the years. I just know from hundreds of letters I’ve received that many new RVers make buying mistakes that cause them headaches and heartaches down the road, not the pleasure they envisioned.
If you’re new to RVing, you’re going to want to know where all the dump stations along your route are (trust us on this). The new 2019 RVer’s Guide to Dump Stations is available and we highly recommend you keep it handy. Read more about it here or order here.
Why trailer weight distribution is so critical
In case you missed this in our RV Travel Newsletter recently, reader George Bliss flagged this YouTube video as a “must see” for RVtravel.com readers. It’s a truly graphic demonstration of what happens when you don’t keep enough weight over the trailer tongue. Click the image to play. Thanks, George, for a good steer!
Don’t trip the breaker!
With electricity expert and veteran RVer Mike Sokol
One of our readers sent this in and I think it’s a great tip. Here’s what George has to say: “Take small colored sticker dots and put one on each outlet that corresponds in color to a dot placed on a breaker in your electrical panel. When you plug in an appliance to one color dotted outlet such as a toaster, don’t plug your kettle into an outlet with the same color. This way you can avoid having two heavy-drawing appliances drawing current through the same breaker, thus avoiding a tripped breaker. In the event a breaker does trip, this should make it easier to find the thrown breaker knowing which outlet you were using.” Thanks to George Bliss! These 1/4″ diameter neon colored dots should do the trick and be visible in low light.
No, no. Power tip
When plugged into 15- or 20-amp power (a plug just like in your home) do not even plug in one air conditioner. You’ll destroy it if you do.
Want more quick tips? Be sure to sign up for our RV Daily Tips newsletter, which you’ll get in your inbox every Monday–Thursday. Tons of great tips and information you won’t want to miss! Sign up here.
RECENT ARTICLES WORTH READING
- The most recent RV Travel Newsletter
- The most recent RV Daily Tips Newsletter
- My go-to app to find a place to park my RV
- Forest River plant explodes in Elkhart, totally destroyed
- RV electricity expert Mike Sokol interviewed on radio program
- Battle brewing between campers, RV parks on electricity usage
- Southwest camping for 85 cents a day!
- Some thoughts about Camping World
- RV and RV-related recalls for February 2019
- Do I need a 30- or 50-amp surge protector?
Oh, and please tell us where you’re reading this newsletter.
WiFi endoscope lets you peep where your eyes won’t go
Ever wondered what the inside of your black water tank looked like? Is that “tank blaster” really doing the job? You can’t just eyeball the inside of the tank – or can you? With a flexible endoscope, you can run a tiny camera down for a “look around,” and get an eyeful of information on your tablet or phone. It’s pretty handy to have in the RV so check it out here.
VIDEO OF THE MONTH
An easy way to get your prescriptions filled while on the road
If you had to change a tire, would you be able to? Are you sure? Read the RV Doctor’s article here to see if you’re truly prepared.
MAKE LIFE EASIER
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Do you have a blog? RVtravel.com is interested in hosting your blog. Contact chuck (at) rvtravel.com to learn more.
New & interesting finds on Amazon
See what really cool stuff Amazon is featuring today. It’s a whole lot of fun just browsing through all these great items. The selection changes every day, so check back often. You never know what you will find, which is part of the fun of visiting here. Check it out.
UPCOMING RV SHOWS:
It’s always wise to attend a few RV shows before you buy — a chance to compare many RVs in one place, talk to salespeople and even factory representatives, and maybe even pick up a bargain (but not always, which is another story…). Here’s a comprehensive list of upcoming shows.
ATTENTION PROSPECTIVE RV BUYERS:
Join our new Facebook group, RV Advice, where prospective RV buyers can ask veteran RVers what they think of an RV they’re considering buying. Click here.
MAKE THE RV PARK LAUGH
You’ll want this shirt if you’re on a family vacation, this one if you own (or are buying) a Class C, this shirt if you haven’t mastered backing up yet, and this one you’ll want just because. It made us laugh out loud.
Did you miss last month’s issue of this newsletter? Read it here.
Beginner’s Guide to RVing Staff
Publisher: Chuck Woodbury. Editor: Emily Woodbury. Managing editor: Diane McGovern. Contributing writers: Russ De Maris, Bob Difley, Gary Bunzer, Roger Marble, Mike Sokol, Greg Illes, J.M. Montigel and Andrew Robinson. Marketing director: Jessica Sarvis. IT wrangler: Kim Christiansen.
ADVERTISE on RVtravel.com and/or in this newsletter. Contact Emily at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Everything in this newsletter is true to the best of our knowledge. But we occasionally get something wrong. We’re just human! So don’t go spending $10,000 on something we said was good simply because we said so, or fixing something according to what we suggested (check with your own technician first). Maybe we made a mistake. Tips and/or comments in this newsletter are those of the authors and may not reflect the views of RVtravel.com or this newsletter.
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