Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Thoughts on What to Look for when Purchasing an RV

Roy asked the following question on our facebook page.
 "...This too is our dream but in a few years...however...the quality issues you've experienced are very discouraging...especially in a DRV. The pics behind the panels showing the tangled "workmanship" is a joke. What advice can you offer for new comers before the purchase"

When I started writing out my response, I realized this would make a better blog post than a facebook response.  Hopefully Roy won't mind. 

Before we purchased our 5th wheel, we spent months learning about the types of RVs available.  We changed our minds about whether to buy a class A or a 5th wheel at least 10 times.  In the end we choose a 5th wheel because of the living space they offer.  

New or used?  We decided on new because we wanted a warranty for anything that might go wrong. 

We decided on the thing that were important to us.  Since we planned to live in ours full time we knew we needed a four season model. They have extra insulation and other enhancements like holding tank heaters that make living in an RV more comfortable in any season.  

We also knew we needed some things to make it easier for Rob to move around because of his medical issues.  We needed space to move around the bed easily, a large shower and room for his oxygen concentrator which is the size of a large suitcase and has to have good air circulation around it.  

I can repeat all of the things RVers say when asked how to find the right RV for you.  
  • Go and look at them, lots of them.  
  • Sit down everywhere, even the toilet.  Walk into the shower. Make sure you will be comfortable in all parts of the RV.
  • Have the owner or sales staff take access panels off so you can take a look at what's hidden inside.  You're going to spend tens of thousands of dollars on this so you should not be shy about looking at anything and everything. 
  • It's all about the floor plan.  Eventually you'll find the one that feels right to you.  
But, the most helpful information I can think of is to spend time on the forum for each specific make and model of RV you are considering.  We frequent the DRV Owners forum and a lot of information can be found there. It's time consuming to read but you'll begin to notice issues that are common to many owners of a specific make and/or model.  

Keep in mind they all have some problems and you will have problems with whatever you buy.  You are basically putting your home on wheels through a magnitude 3 earthquake every time you move it.  Stuff moves, jiggles loose, and rubs against other stuff.  Cabinet doors come open while moving.  Often when I open the refrigerator or freezer after we have moved, things tend to jump out and smack me right in the face. 

We are currently shopping for an extended warranty for our 5th wheel.  Our manufacturer warranty ended on 6/15/13.  With all of the problems we have had, it's a bit scary to be without it. 


  1. I purchased my last RV, a diesel pusher, at PPL. I highly recommend them. They also sold my old class-C. Even if you don't go see them, look at thier site to get an idea of what certain rigs are selling for. Check them out at

    1. Thanks for adding that information Dizzy. PPL does have a huge variety of RVs on their website.