Tips for Buying an RV

Monday, April 27, 2015


rv-purchase-questionsOnce you have traveled the country in an RV, you may not settle for traveling any other way. RV enthusiasts get hooked on the free, relaxed pace of RV life, as well as its low costs relative to air or hotel travel.

If you are thinking about joining the ranks of RVers across Canada, here are some questions to help you hone in on your ideal RV before you buy:



How many people will be traveling with you?

This question will help you determine the amount of space you require – the number of beds you need, seating requirements, set-up, etc. Does anyone in your family or group have special needs? Are children involved?

How much storage room will you need?

Think about the amount of clothes, gear and extras each member of your party will bring, as well as what you as a group need for your planned activities. You want to be sure you will have the space to stow it.

Do you plan to cook?

Food storage, appliances and dining area seating are all considerations you should take into account.

Do you want an entertainment centre?

If you can’t live without your stereo or TV, think about how that system will fit into your new RV. What kind of space and hook-ups do you need?

What about carrying racks and towing needs?

If your planned activities involve specialized equipment or vehicles such as ATVs, kayaks, bikes, snowmobiles or the like – make sure your RV comes equipped with, or will accommodate, the racks or towing gear you need to bring them along.

Will you use your RV all year, or will you need to store it for the winter?

If you plan to use your RV throughout the year (and depending on where you travel with it), you need to consider things like snow tires and heating equipment. If you need to store it for any length of time, consider the cost and availability of storage space, too.

Where will you be driving with your RV?

Will your trips entail lots of highway driving or are you back roads travellers? Think, too, about where you intend to camp. Will you stay at campgrounds, with ready access to utility hook-ups, or do you lean toward remote locations where you need to be entirely self-sufficient?

Do you want an RV you can drive, or do you plan to tow it?

Some RVers tow so that they have a smaller vehicle to travel around in once they reach their destination. Others opt for the comfort and spaciousness of driving a motor home. If you decide to tow, be sure to check the towing specifications to make sure you get an RV your vehicle can accommodate.

Should you buy new or used?

Resist the temptation to buy the upgraded model from a dealer as soon as you walk in the doors. Buying a first RV can be overwhelming for a novice. Take time to consider what you’re looking for and talk to other RV owners about what to look for. A new model with all the bells and whistles is very tempting, but also expensive. A used model already has many of the upgrades, as well as many ‘wrinkles’ ironed out. If it’s been taken care of, chances are a used RV will serve you well for a number of years, and cost less too.

Does it pass the road test?

Once you find an RV you like, be sure to inspect it thoroughly, take it for a test drive or two and ask about the vehicle’s history. Unless you are mechanically inclined, you might consider hiring a professional to look it over for existing or potential issues that may require repair. The ‘open road’ is not an ideal place to break down.

Remember the importance of having RV insurance and travel insurance. RV insurance protects you from expenses resulting from on-road accidents and incidents, while travel insurance offers coverage for unexpected medical emergencies and more.

You will be spending a lot of time on the road, so make sure you are covered in the event of accidents or unforeseen circumstances. Ask your licensed insurance professional for more information, and then get out there and enjoy your new RV!

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on September 5, 2012 and has been updated for relevancy and accuracy.

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