Thursday, December 8, 2022


Concerns of soon-to-be new RVers


Dear RV Shrink:
rvshrinkWe are close to making a buying decision on a new motorhome. We have studied them to death. It’s a very expensive step, and I want to make sure we do it right the first time. I have read your comments about making sure the thing fits our needs, and that we both agree on the floor plan and options. Before we make the jump, can you give us anymore input?

We are extremely nervous. Any help would be greatly appreciated. —Anxious buyer in Boston

Dear Anxious:
Besides the usual concerns about finding the right unit for the way you want to travel I suggest spending some time studying the manufacturer and the dealer. These will be people you will be entering into a relationship with. There are things you want to discover ahead of time such as how you will be treated after the sale, quality reputation, service record, organization, and parts availability.

By talking to as many other RV owners as possible you learn quickly if the dealer follows through on new owner concerns, if the factory stands behind their product and how timely they are in correcting issues you might have.

Most new units are going to have some issues, so you want to be sure whoever you end up working with is going to have your best interests in mind. Having service work done at the factory, parts availability and customer service will become very important in the future. You might want to call your potential manufacturer’s service contact before making a buying decision and see how you are treated with a few questions.

I think once you have done your homework and feel comfortable about craftsmanship and business reputation, pulling the trigger will be much easier and less stressful. —Keep Smilin’, RV Shrink

The RV Shrink is not really a psychologist (or professional RV technician). But he does know a lot.


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Jerry X Shea
6 years ago

Oh boy, my immediate response to anyone that spends a long time researching “anything” thinking they will get “just what they want — ” it never happens.” I agree with the folks that are saying rent an RV, close to the size you want, and find out if the two of you “really enjoy RVing.” Here is a thought to consider:
If you found your perfect “RV” but there was just one thing you didn’t like, would you pass and say “NO.” If your answer is “yes” – you will never find the right RV/Motorhome.
1.Will you pass up the perfect RV because it only has a 2 burner stove?
A 3 burner gas BBQ with a grill will solve your cooking problem.
2. You don’t like the location of the TV.
You can add a TV to other places.
3. You think the refrigerator is to small.
They sell portable freezer/refrigerator that can handle overflow.
4. Seating for dinner can only accommodate 4.
Your days of a sit down dinner for 12 are over – it will be dinner for 2 or going out with a group/relatives to a restaurant.
Bottom line. Just buy a RV that come as close to your needs as possible and then adapt to your other needs. Oh yes, RVing will be everything you imagined or your trip to HELL. Only time will tell. Good luck.

Myra Johnson
6 years ago
Reply to  Jerry X Shea

This has been interesting reading. We are on our third rig in four years. You are not going to find THE perfect unit or rig. If you do you are one of the lucky ones. You have to find what is BEST suited to your needs. Just my opinion from asking a ton of questions over the years.

6 years ago

I have a second comment. Look at where you will get your RV serviced before you buy. You want a service location close to your home base that will do warrantee service (unless your RV is out of warrantee). Then try and get independent reviews of that service location. I have a friend that bought a Tiffin motorhome but now he must drive an hour and a half or more to get warrantee service. Now Tiffin is a quality motorhome and their factory service is legendary but he should have realized where he would go to get warrantee service before he bought.

6 years ago

I echo the previous comment. rent before you buy.
I rented a trailer after researching trailers for years. I ended up buying a motorhome. That trailer rental saved us big time. We have been happilying RVing in that motorhome for 8 years now. I am not recommending motorhomes over Trailers or Fifth wheels, just the concept of try before you buy.

D Mason
6 years ago

One little detail that never entered out minds as we looked at a number of units (Class A) was the location of the gas filler. We looked at floorplans, features, etc. but never thought to look at where the gas filler is. We have to be very careful which gas stations we pull into, even if they have dedicated “RV Lanes”. Our gas filler is on the back (not on the side near the back, ON the back). Since we also tow a Honda Fit, we have to be sure we can get all the way through a gas stop. Small detail, but important, too.

6 years ago

From an “End User” perspective, here are a few other ideas…

1) Take the factory tour if you can and see how these units are put together. Different manufacturers use different techniques. Some good. Some need improvement. Most of the dealers are located in the Elkhart, Indiana area. Spend a week. Most all have no issues with touring. Besides, you will get to see where everything is located when you have to work on it…

2) Dealerships are dealerships. They are more interested in your money than anything else. Do they ever invite you for dinner? Do they drop by to see you every once in a while? They say they are your friend. DON’T believe it!

3) Get on the different blogs and look for clues about product quality. Ask questions.

4) Try to buy your 1st unit the 1st time. Not the 3rd time. really talk about “how” you will be using the unit. Are you a weekend’r. Will you be full-timing? Will you be taking extra company along (Kids or grand-kids)?

5) If you are considering a 5th wheel or pull behind, understand that you’ll have additional concerns if you are over 30′. A lot of parks are older and not designed for larger units.

6) When “negotiating” the sale, be sure to consider the hitch, water and sewer hoses, electrical cords, washer dryer.

7) Then there are the many details you need to check into about the unit. many manufacturers skimp by on ratings. Add a few “goodies” and you’ll be over limit in nothing flat.

A) Which tires are on the unit? There is a HUGE difference in tires and load ratings?
B) Check out you axle ratings. Do you have 7000 lb or 8000 lb axles (on a 40′ unit)?
C) What kind of batteries do you have? 12 or 24 volt? 1, 2 or 4?
D) Do you have 1 AC unit or 2? Are you going to the coast or to the mountains?
E) Is there a backup camera?
F) IS YOUR TRUCK PROPERLY RATED TO CARRY THE LOAD? G) What about the tires on your truck? Are they E or G rated?

Then, there are those items that fit your unique needs:

8) Can you get to the bedroom and bathroom when the slides are closed?
9) What kind of refrigerator are you getting? Residential or LP/Electric models? There are huge differences depending on how you intend to use the unit.
10) Where is your water filter located? Can you get to it?

This is just a partial list…There are many other considerations…

Don’t rush into anything! The average RV buyer now takes about 3-4 months to “decide” which unit is right for them. The, you may spend another 3-4 months “negotiating”.

Be sure you do a thorough walk-through before you drive it off the lot. It’s your final chance to have things fixed. Once you drive off the lot, that baby is yours! You’ll have to deal with warranty afterward.

Do you need a warranty? Can you fix things yourself?

Have you considered an RV Inspector? They will very likely identify problems you may not know about. Many are mobile and serve different areas of the country. There may be one near you. Just like a Home inspector, they are trained to look for problems.

But once you decide and make that purchase, you’ll be having a great time in your new RV!

Happy Trails!

6 years ago

Not every person has the same wants or likes.. RENT a unit similar to the one you want to buy first.. and see how it works over a few weeks for you.. Yes renting cost $$$ but is way cheaper than making a mistake.