The Ultimate RV Shopping Guide—Part One

The dog days of summer are in full swing, and a lot of RVers are thinking about getting in one more camping trip before school starts. But if you’ve been thinking about upgrading your RV, or you’re looking into the snowbirding lifestyle, or you’re ready to purchase your first travel trailer, toy hauler, motorhome, camper or fifth wheel, the last days of summer and the early days of fall are a great time to find the best deals on both new and pre-owned models. Here at Guaranty RV, we’ve gotten new inventory over the summer and we’ve seen a lot of trade-ins hit our lot as people have bought new RVs. This means great savings as summer ends and school begins.

If you’re looking to make a purchase, there are some things to consider in order to get the best RV for the best price. In this two-part blog, we’re going to talk about the research you should do before purchasing your RV, and next week we’re going to give you some guidelines about how to check the condition of an RV. Let’s start with step 1: Research.

Step One: Research

Just like buying a car, the first step is to do your research. Think about your lifestyle when considering what type of RV you want to purchase. We encourage you to look at some of our past blogs to help with this process. Snowbirds need to consider if a motorhome or a fifth wheel would serve them better. Do you want slide-outs to give you more room? If you’re looking at a smaller motorhome, is a campervan or a Class C model right for you? Do you have mobility issues that you need to consider? Maybe you want to graduate to four-season camping and need to choose an RV that can keep you cozy in the cold. Or maybe you’re looking at truck campers and folding campers that will get you further off the beaten path.

Other things to consider are: what type of camping do you like to do, how many people are going to travel with you, what is your budget, what is the reputation of the RV manufacturer and models you’re looking at, etc. If you’re not sure how to answer those questions, give us a call and let’s talk about your options. We’re always happy to give you the benefit of our years of experience.

Once you have a sense of what you want, Google is your best friend. From the comfort of your favorite chair, you can read online reviews and visit YouTube for virtual RV walkthroughs of your favorite brands and models. If you’re looking to purchase your first RV and you’re not sure how to go about it, check out RVing blogs like the “Virgin’s Guide to Buying the First RV” over at Gone With the Wynns.

Here’s an insider tip for online searches: on our website, you can filter by make, model, class, new and pre-owned, and internet specials! Be sure to use these tools to save yourself time.

Step Two: When You’re Purchasing an RV, Consider Location

Whether you are buying a new or used RV, it is important to consider location in reference to what type of RV you should purchase. What kind of roads will you be driving on? Where do you plan to camp? Are you taking short trips or long vacations? Are you going to camp all year, or are you going to store your RV for the winter? For instance, if you plan to become snowbirds who spend winters in the deserts of the Southwest and summers in northern regions, your needs will be different than someone spending all their road trip and camping time in the Pacific Northwest.

Another point to consider regarding location comes into play if you’re buying a pre-owned RV. You need to know where that RV spent its previous life. If, for instance, it lived in New England, you’re going to want to look for salt damage from winter roads. If it came from the desert, check for sun damage. We are fortunate to be located in beautiful western Oregon, one of the greatest places for camping and road trips, but we get a lot of winter rain here, so if you’re purchasing a pre-owned RV from our area, you’ll need to look for moisture damage inside and out.

Step Three: Give It A Test

When you’re working hard to find the perfect RV, it’s important to test it as if you are camping in it. Don’t just take a walk through—sit in all of the seats, lay in the bed and spend time in the kitchen as if you’re cooking. This will give you a good feel of what will work on your next adventure.

Sometimes a sit-test isn’t enough. Test driving any RV will help you make your decision. Take note of how it handles on the highway and how it turns. See how you feel backing into parking spots. An RV is a major purchase, so take your time and test it thoroughly.

If you need more time with the RV, try renting a similar model first for a real life experience! Renting is a great way to get a feel for the RV, for how it handles on the highway and how you feel living in it at the campground. This will give you a better sense of what type of RV will work best for your lifestyle.

Whether you decide to test drive or rent an RV, make sure you constantly ask yourself what you love about the vehicle, and what additional features would help your overall experience.

Come back next week for tips on what to look for as you walk through potential RVs, and we’ll also talk a little about financing and insuring your purchase! And be sure to contact us if you have any questions.

For more information check out part 2 of our blog.


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