RV Tips Before You Buy – Do Your Research
My advice is do your research before you buy. I thought I did, but prior to this purchase, Joan and I had a van conversion too many years ago and owning a 40 foot fifth wheel is a monumental difference. I have yet to meet a fellow camper who has not had problems with their travel trailer, fifth wheel or mile-long land yacht. Issues can be from minor to major as a little inconvenience to a total malfunction leaving my fellow RV’er stranded along a roadside. I have yet to find a RV manufacturer that is trouble free. Some manufactures seem to have more issues than others. What seems to be a recurring theme with most RVs is quality issues regardless of price, feature or function.
RV Tips Before You Start Your Travels
I’m not writing this as a rant, but more to set an expectation for those who may be considering this wonderful and exciting lifestyle. Here’s a few tips before you start your RV travels.
- Do your research. Before you look at your first RV, Google the manufacture and model for your interest. Regardless of any manufacture, the Internet will be full of those who are looking for help, complaining or ranting on the latest problem. These issues are real. We has humans typically don’t put things in forums stating our world is perfect. Look for recurring issues. See if the problems are specific to one model, manufacture or year of a unit. As an example, I’ve talked to owners of older and new models of my 5th wheel and we’ve had similar issues and differences as well.
- Talk to other owners. Go to an RV show. Find those who may have a manufacture or model similar to your interest. It’s easy. Just stand near a unit for a few minutes and you’ll hear others talk. What I’ve found is we RV’ers love to talk about our rolling homes. The good and the bad.
- Read a manufacturer’s forum concerning the model of interest. These forums are rich in information, tips, fixes, remedies from the manufacture and more.
- Test everything before your first trip. So you’ve found that perfect RV. Congratulations. Take it home and park it. Next weekend, try everything that’s in and on the RV. Turn it on, off. Extend it. Retract it. Fill it up. Flush it. Open it. Close it. Not just once, but dozens of times. Spend the night in it. Trust me on this, if it’s going to break or malfunction, it’s better for it to happen in the driveway than a couple hundred miles from home.
- Read all the manuals. You should have received owners manuals for the RV and everything that’s been installed. If you don’t have them, then do a little Google search and download from the manufacturer. I know this goes against the male honor code, but read them. All of them. Not once, but twice.
- It’s now time for the shakedown trip. So we know how everything works. We know what each switch and lever does. We know what’s behind every door. Take a short trip to a campground an hour or two from home. I’ll assure you, if it’s not tight, it will shake loose. If it wasn’t sealed properly, it’s going to leak. Take a pad and pen and document everything. When you return home, call your dealer and set an appointment for repairs. Walk through each issue at drop off and pick up. From our experience, it took weeks to get a slot for repair and weeks to get the RV back.
- So all is well. The RV is back, repairs made and you’re ready to hit the road. As the title of this post states, it now time for Shake Rattle and Roll. Things are going to get loose again, fall off and knocked against. It’s ok. Don’t worry. It’s just part of the RV lifestyle. Keep a small tool kit and fix it if you can. Sometimes nothing more than a slight twist to stop the drip or a nail to put the molding back. Maybe a trip to the local Lowes or Home Depot to replace that cheap plastic thing installed by the manufacturer with a metal replacement.
- Lastly, don’t let the broken things build up. When they break, fix them when you get to your destination. If it’s something big, take care of it before the warranty expires.
One Last RV Tip.
Your going to be heading down the road driving thousands pounds and it’s long. There’s going to be road hazards. There will be things in the road or something will run out in front of you and an incident may arise when there is nothing you can do other than hit it. This thing is just to big to stop immediately or swerve out of the way. All you can do is hold on and hope it’s not going to be to bad. Make sure you have emergency road service and road hazard insurance. Also, watch your speed. I know the highway says 70Mph, but what if your drove 65 or less? It will take you a few extra minutes to reach your destination, the road will be much smoother and makes that Shake Rattle and Roll so much more manageable.
As they say: “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” Enjoy the time in your RV.
I love RV life. Jerry
Not sure about what RV accessories you need as you start RV travel? Check out our RV Accessories page where we have listed a wide range of products from essential items to those “nice to have” RV products to make RV life more enjoyable. Every item listed is being used or has been used by Joan and I as we’ve traveled across the country in our RV.
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