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Important Features to Look For When Buying That First RV
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Important Features That Make The Lifestyle Work

  • Hydraulic Levelers: Without levelers built into the coach chassis: wood or plastic blocks must be used under the wheels at each overnight stop to balance the coach properly. Most refrigerators need to be level to work properly and to avoid expensive maintenance. In my opinion, this is the most important feature to look for.

  • Chassis safety options to improve driving comfort and confidence: Safety-Plus on the front end to ensure that if a tire blowout occurs, the coach can navigate safely to the side of the road. This also improves the ability to keep the coach riding in a straight line. Track bar (or similar) to keep the rear end from swinging during highway speeds. This is especially important if towing.

  • Ensure that the awning is encased in an aluminum or plastic shroud when closed for traveling. This eliminates the chance of losing the awning in high winds during travel.

  • Look for as much storage as possible. Check basement storage, inside closet space, and inside overhead storage.

  • If slide-outs are important to you:

One thing to look for is the vertical stance of the slide as it moves in and out. All slides have the same type of roller assembly at the outer wall but the slide should maintain its stability (with little tipping in or out) as it moves in and out. Poor stability can damage the floor and can affect the slides ability to seal.

On new and used motorhomes, carefully inspect top and side seals. You need to understand how the seal is supposed to work, how it is working and the prospect of how long it continues to work after years of use. If you are left shaking your head you probably don’t want to buy this motorhome. The areas around the slides are the most open areas of your motor home. Water, light, varmints, insects, etc. can get in if not properly sealed.

  • Pre- Purchase checkout regardless of whether you purchase a Class A or Class C motorhome, trailer or a fifth-wheel, always, always, always have an independent RV mechanic checkout the vehicle before you sign on the dotted line. This process can save you a lot of headaches and money later. See NRVIA.com to find an inspector.

Minimum pre-purchase examination checklist:

  • Air Conditioners (roof and engine-driven)

  • Awning

  • Batteries (test for life cycle)

  • Door lock

  • Engine

  • Hydraulic levelers

  • Propane system (test for leaks)

  • Roof coating and seals around vents, air conditioner, antennas

  • Slideout seals (if applicable)

  • Refrigerator

  • Water Heater

  • Window seals

Things you can check yourself:

  • Microwave

  • Window shades or blinds

  • Water flow

  • Toilet

  • Light fixtures

Some RV repair shops don’t charge for this checkout service, hoping they can charge the owner to fix the items that wind up on their check list. Other shops might charge $100 to spend the hour necessary. You may be able to negotiate with the owner to pay for the fixes, or drop the price.

If you purchase through an RV dealer (not recommended), this may be an issue to work out as one of their maintenance or sales people needs to drive the vehicle to the shop. Always make arrangements to be there personally during the inspection. Do not skip this step no matter what tale the sales person spins. If they refuse to cooperate, walk away.

 

 

 
       
 
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