The Seven Most Common Mistakes when Buying an RV (and how to avoid them!)

Thinking of buying an RV? You’re not alone. Each year, about 400,000 Americans buy a new motorhome or travel trailer.

Many of these RVers have miserable experiences. They buy an RV that’s not really suitable for their needs. Or they lose thousands of dollars to an unscrupulous dealer. Or they overpay by tens of thousands on the financing. Or… the list of potential problems goes on.

On the other hand, savvy RVers have great experiences. They choose a coach that’s just right for them. They negotiate great deals from the dealers, paying thousands—or even tens of thousands—less than other people who bought the same models from the same dealers. And they get many happy years of use from their new coaches.

This site is designed to keep you out of the first group, and in the second group. Whether you’re a brand-new RVer or an experienced “road warrior,” this site is for you!

Here’s a summary of the 7 most common mistakes. Click on the links for more info on each one.

Mistake #1: Choosing the Wrong RV

The best RV for you will vary, depending on your experience level, desired price range, and plans for the RV.

The most expensive RVs are motorhomes, although many are priced in the mid-range as well. Many RVers swear by them, and won’t even consider an RV that doesn’t have a motor. Motorhomes come in three classes: A, B, and C. Learn more about motorhomes.

Travel trailers, fifth wheels, toy haulers, and tent campers are all forms of towable RVs. As a class, towables are the most popular RVs by far. They are available in a broad range of prices, from a few thousand dollars to well over $100,000. Learn more about travel trailers and fifth wheels.

Mistake #2: Choosing the Wrong Brand

Unlike the auto industry, which has consolidated into a handful of companies, there are still dozens of RV manufacturers.

Some are solid companies. Unfortunately, others are not. A few even specialize in ultra-cheap campers that fall apart fairly quickly.

Stick to the major brands, with a broad network of dealers to support you. Learn more about major RV manufacturers and travel trailer manufacturers.

Mistake #3: Choosing the Wrong Dealer

Most RVers don’t realize how crucial it is to pick the right dealer.

Some RV dealers are honest, hardworking, and passionate about RVs. Other dealers are little more than crooks.

Obviously, a bad dealer can cheat you out of thousands of dollars (and he’ll do it without you even noticing). But there’s more to it than that.

Remember, you’ll have your RV for years. So you’ll spend more time with the dealer after the sale (for maintenance and service) than you did before the sale. Again, a good dealer will make your RVing a happy experience, while a bad one will make you wish you’d never heard the word “RV.”

How do you tell the difference? Learn more about RV dealers.

Mistake #4: Not Knowing How to Get a Great Deal

On average, every day over 1,000 Americans buy an RV. Most pay much more than they should. If you don’t do your homework, you’ll be among them.

The good news is that it isn’t hard to get a great deal. You just need to understand how the RV industry works. Learn more about how to buy an RV.

Mistake #5: Falling for Sneaky Salesman Tactics

You might buy an RV once every 5 or 10 years. On the other hand, an RV salesman negotiates with people like you every single day.

Which one of you has the advantage when you walk on the salesman’s lot, or attend RV shows?

You need to educate yourself about the tactics that will be used against you. Learn more about the RV sales process.

Mistake #6: Getting Ripped Off on the Financing

Even experienced RVers can lose on this one. You haggle and haggle and work the dealer down to a rock-bottom price, and then you sigh and relax… and lose tens of thousands of dollars when you sign the financing contract.

But this is completely unnecessary. Depending on the RV you buy, you can easily save $20,000 or more on the financing. Learn more about RV financing and loans (and don’t forget your RV insurance either).

Mistake #7: Thinking You Can Avoid All This by Buying Used

Yes, you can sometimes get a great deal from a private party. But buying a used RV has its own set of traps, and you can lose your shirt here too if you’re not careful. Learn more about buying a used RV.

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