So, you’re thinking about getting an RV or trailer. You may want to invest in this kind of vehicle for leisure trips, or maybe you want to hit the road for a majority of the year in it. No matter what your aim is, you must know that investing in an RV or trailer is a big decision to make and comes with a lot of responsibilities.
The first responsibility is picking the right RV or trailer for you and your travel needs. There are so many makes and models out there, though. How are you supposed to choose? And how can you maintain it properly? Before you make any big purchases, here are 10 important tips for buying and maintaining quality RVs and trailers.
Know What You Want
Before you go shopping for quality RVs and trailers, you need to know what kind of vehicle you want. There are different kinds of RVs and trailers that serve different purposes. Take some time to reflect on why you want an RV or trailer, what you hope to do with it, and how long you think you’ll want it for.
Do you want an RV or trailer so you can take occasional trips with the family? Or are you planning on doing some serious traveling with this vehicle and take it on multiple trips throughout the year? Some people are even opting to buy an RV or trailer and live in it year-round. They like the idea of being on the open road and traveling to new places whenever they want.
Knowing what you want to do with your RV or trailer will help you narrow down what kind of vehicle to look for. If you’re looking for something to take occasional family trips with, you may not mind looking at RVs and trailers that have a few years on them. However, if you’re looking for something to use frequently, you may want to look at newer models that have a longer life to them. Knowing your RV or trailer’s purpose will also give you insights into whether or not to look into something like trailer leasing or buying with cash upfront. Think about this long and hard before you walk onto a lot.
Do Your Research
Another thing you should do before looking at quality RVs and trailers is do your research. Look up RV dealers near you and other places that handle RV and trailer sales. See what kinds of merchandise they have and what kinds of reviews they have. Are there negative reviews? Are people saying they feel pressured to make a decision the same day they go to the lot? If you’re seeing consistent negative reviews, look for another place to go.
You should also research the makes and models of RVs and trailers to see which one would work best for you. There are some models that fit five people, while there are others that can fit more than ten people. Some need a lot of maintenance, while others are pretty low maintenance. Look up key features each model has and evaluate whether you’d be happy with these features down the line.
It’s also important to research the safety of each model. Are there any recalls on any models you’re looking into? Are there certain models that tend to get into more accidents than others? If so, take caution before you consider buying one of them.
Set Your Budget
When looking for quality RVs and trailers, you may see a lot of pricey vehicles. There are some that cost tens of thousands of dollars. When you’re looking at it right in front of you on the lot, it can be easy to get swept up in the moment and buy without thinking about if you can afford it. If you aren’t careful, you could accumulate a debt you can’t afford.
Before you go to a lot, set a budget for yourself. Take a close look at your expenses and be honest about what you can afford right now. Keep in mind that you’ll also need to pay for expenses that accompany having an RV or trailer. These expenses include trailer hitches, gas and oil, and insurance premiums. If you can only afford a $15,000 trailer, stick to that budget so you aren’t stressed about money. This trailer may not have all the features you want right now, but you’ll be able to upgrade it as time goes on. Don’t go broke now to satisfy your need for instant gratification. Be diligent with the budget and revisit the idea of upgrading it in a couple of years.
Decide If You Want To Buy New
If you are on a tight budget, you can still get quality RVs and trailers at a used lot. However, it’s up to you to decide if you want to buy a vehicle new or pre-owned.
There are pros and cons to each buying situation. The positives of buying an RV or trailer that’s pre-owned is that they’re typically cheaper, and if you put some work into them you could end up getting a return on your investment if you decide to sell eventually. These kinds of trailers or RVs could also be easier for you to customize and make your own. One con to buying pre-owned is that you may have to put money into repairing and updating your trailer or RV. There could also be damage beneath the surface that you aren’t fully aware of.
You can look up repairable salvage RVs for sale in your area and see what you can find. You may find something that’s in really good condition for a better price than buying new. However, when deciding whether to buy pre-owned or new, remember to keep your goals in mind. If you want something that you know is going to last a while, and you have the budget to do so, buying new could be your best bet. Whatever your decision is, make sure it’s what feels right for you and your goals.
Check For Cosmetic Damage
Even if you decide you want to buy a brand-new RV or trailer, you should still inspect it for damage. There could be quality RVs and trailers in the showroom that have unseen damage to them. Before you officially sign any paperwork or put any money down, inspect the vehicle for damage.
You can check for cosmetic damage first, since it may be easier to see at first. When looking at your RV or trailer, check for any dents, holes, chipped paint, broken appliances, and busted furniture. These may be simple fixes, but if you’re investing your time and money into this vehicle, you want to know what you’re getting yourself into. Plus, if you’re buying the vehicle new, you could knock the price down a bit if you notice cosmetic damage. If you decide to buy a vehicle that has some body damage to it, see if you can take it to an auto body shop and get it professionally looked at and repaired.
Inspect Under The Hood
You should also check your RV or trailer for any damage underneath the hood. This is especially important if you’re buying it pre-owned. You could see an RV or trailer at face-value and think there’s nothing wrong with it, but there could be issues underneath you can’t see. When you get your RV or trailer, take it to an automotive services business and get it checked out. Have the technicians check the battery, engine, and transmission. These are crucial parts of your RV or trailer, and if something is wrong with them, it could spell disaster for your plans.
Keep in mind that transmission repair or engine repair may be more expensive for RVs and trailers. These vehicles are bigger and may have a more complicated system underneath the hood. They may also need to be fixed by a specialist, depending on the issue. When formulating your budget, set aside some extra money in case issues like this come up.
Inspect The Roof Regularly
Even the top quality RVs and trailers can have maintenance issues after a while. One of the most important things to check on when maintaining your vehicle is the roof. The roof of your vehicle could sustain a lot of water damage, especially if it’s out in the elements quite a bit. The roof will may be made of aluminum or plastic, which means it could erode quickly under the right circumstances. It’s recommended to get your roof repaired once every six months to ensure all is well.
You can also use this as a chance to check out the overall exterior of your RV or trailer. If something looks rusty, bent or eroded, you know it’s time to make repairs. If left untreated, these issues could become bigger and get even more expensive to fix.
Maintain The Sewer System
RVs and trailers have a sewer system you need to monitor and service often. The sewer system in RVs and trailers works similarly to the way your home sewer system works, only it filters into a holding tank. Since everything goes into the holding tank, you’ll want to regularly check in and maintain it. You’ll also want to keep an eye on when it’s getting full and make a plan for emptying it so it doesn’t backup. There are hoses and drains you can get to help make this process easier.
You can also take preventative measures to make sure your sewer system works well. For starters, make sure no one is flushing things they shouldn’t be down the toilet. Second, make sure your shower and sink drains aren’t clogged, as that could lead to your holding tank getting clogged. You can also buy toilet paper that breaks down easier so that your holding tank doesn’t get backed up. It may seem like a lot at first, but it will be worth it when your sewer system is functioning properly.
Always Check The Tires
When you buy quality RVs and trailers, you may think the tires are good to go for a long time. This may be the case if you buy a newer RV or trailer, but it’s still important for you to check the tires frequently. Nearly 1.25 million people die in road crashes each year, and an additional 20-50 million are injured or disabled. You don’t want to risk being in a crash because you think your tires are okay instead of checking and confirming that they are.
You should always check your tire pressure before you take your RV or trailer on the road. It’s also important to check for tire cracks, erosion, and possible loose lug nuts. The last thing you want is to be on the road and suddenly get a flat tire. If you notice your tires do need to be repaired or replaced, contact your local auto repair services center and see what they can do to help.
Select Proper Storage
When investing in quality RVs and trailers, you also want to invest in a great place to store them. If you don’t plan on using them year-round, or you want to put them away for the winter, look into a storage facility that can properly take care of your RV or trailer. If you don’t want to store your whole RV or trailer, you can simply store the battery instead. If you leave the battery in during stagnant months, it could end up damaged. If you leave it in the RV or trailer during the winter, you also risk it freezing. Make sure you keep your vehicle and any parts of it in a place where you feel it’s protected.
There’s a lot to think about when buying quality RVs and trailers. You have to make sure you have enough money, that you keep up with repairs, and that you’ll get the vehicle that truly works for you and your travel goals. The selection process may seem overwhelming at first, but you have to trust yourself to make the right choice. This vehicle will be part of your life for a long time, so take your time making this choice. Your ideal RV or trailer will be there once you’re ready to make a purchase.