7 mistakes to avoid when buying an RV


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Whether you’re buying a new or used RV, avoid these common mistakes.             

It’s an exciting time when you decide to buy an RV—there’s the anticipation of adventure and planning for years of fun. In the midst of the excitement, slow down and make sure you avoid these seven mistakes.

Mistake 1: Buying without an inspection

A knowledgeable RV inspector can save you from buying a lemon. They know what to look for in terms of the integrity of the roof; evidence of water damage, mold and rot; the mechanical systems; and safety. In many cases, the inspector will walk through the systems with you to help you understand repair, operational and maintenance needs.

Mistake 2: Getting an RV that’s not sized right for its use

When it comes to RVs, you want to be like Goldilocks; get one that’s not too big or too small.

Give careful thought to how you’ll use your RV, where you’ll travel with it, and how your family will change in the coming years. Also, consider how much storage space you need. Make sure you get an RV with enough room for your camping equipment and gear like bikes.

If you can, rent an RV the same size you’re considering buying. There’s nothing like the in-person experience to see if an RV is sized right for you. 

Mistake 3: Overlooking towing specifications and RV’s height and width

With RVs that require towing—travel trailers, fifth wheels and pop-ups—it’s imperative to consider the RV’s weight and your vehicle’s towing capacity.

When calculating the weight of your RV, don’t overlook the pounds added by belongings like cookware and dishes; clothes and bedding; and other equipment.

Two more key pieces of information you need: the height and width of the RV. You don’t want to find yourself scraping a concrete underpass because your vehicle is too high or too wide to clear the passage. Be sure to include the height of antennae or other accessories in the overall height. 

Mistake 4: Taking possession when options are not completed

Buying a brand-new rig? Yay for you! Buying new provides the opportunity to get all the options you want. If all the options are not in place when the dealer offers delivery, hold off on accepting delivery or picking it up. The dealer has more incentive to complete the order while it remains in their possession.

Mistake 5: Not having the seller go over all the systems

The best time to learn the difference between your RV’s black and grey wastewater holding tanks is not after you’ve pulled into your campsite after dark. It’s before you seal the deal. Get familiar with the electrical, plumbing, LP gas and HVAC systems by having the dealer or private seller walk through each.

Mistake 6: Overlooking roadside assistance

Even if you already have roadside assistance as part of your automobile insurance coverage, it’s not likely to cover towing of an RV. When you purchase insurance for the RV itself, ask your insurance agent about your options for RV roadside assistance.

Mistake 7: Forgetting about storage costs

Unless you’re living in your RV full-time, you need a space to store it when you’re not using it. If you have space restrictions or community rules prohibiting RV storage at home, you’ll need to lease RV storage. Remember to include storage fees in your budget.

Get more RV tips

For more RV buying tips, check out our posts on What to Know Before You Buy an RV, Tips for Buying a Used RV and the Best Time of Year to Buy an RV.

Need financing for your RV?
You can get a Consumers recreational loan by working directly with us or requesting Consumers financing from the dealership. To learn more, call a Consumers loan officer who can help get you on the road to adventure at 800-991-2221.

Consumers provides banking services for more than 100,000 members. If you have banking questions, call us at 800-991-2221. We make it easy to bank how you want, when you want.

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Consumers recreational loans

If you want to head out in a new RV, Consumers has a loan option to help you every mile of the way! See how affordable our recreational loan interest rates are.

Learn more

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