Buying an RV: Research now and save thousands
Look at the car parked in your driveway. You probably did a bit of research before you settled on the make and model. Odds are you went with a manufacturer you know a little bit about, either because a friend recommended the company or you had driven one of their vehicles before. When you are doing a travel trailer comparison, you are dealing with a new set of manufacturers, some of which you may not have heard of before. If you want to know how to buy an RV, the first step is to research the various manufacturers. There are more than 600 such manufacturers in the United States alone. You can start to narrow that list by using this guide.
Travel Trailer Comparison: Do the Legwork by Model
When you think of an RV, odds are you picture a huge motorhome that almost looks like a bus with its inside fully stocked with all the amenities of home. While that model may be the one you see in movies most often, the truth is that there are a number of styles you may browse when researching how to buy an RV, including:
- Motorhomes: These come in Class A (the largest), Class B (built on a van chassis) and Class C (also known as mini-motorhomes)
- Travel Trailers: These are RVs that are towed either completely behind your vehicle or are known as “fifth wheels,” which have a gooseneck section in front that will extend over the back of your truck
- Toy Haulers: A Travel Trailer with a ramp door and “garage” or cargo space for your “toys” such as motorcycles or ATVs.
- Lightweights & Pop-Ups: Small Travel Trailers for minimalists or those looking for a Weekend RV. A fast growing segment easily towed by the family car or even a motorcycle.
You might find that certain manufacturers specialize in a particular model. Therefore, if you know you want a Class B motorhome, start researching the companies that are known for being the best RV manufacturers for that particular model.
Travel Trailer Comparison: Get Specific
Once you have narrowed your purchasing decision down to a model, you can begin comparing the manufacturers that you have deemed to be the best. This will also take a big of legwork. There are a few pieces of information you will want to gather through researching ratings on the exact vehicles you like from each producer. Getting these specifics is a big part of how to buy an RV correctly. Collect as much of this as you can:
- The ratings for both the construction and the dependability of the vehicle
- Customer satisfaction ratings
- How each vehicle rates when it comes to both design and style
- Payload ratings and a 15-year deprecation chart
Once you have all this information, you can start create a travel trailer comparison with how the vehicles and manufacturers stack up against each other.
get the facts before you buy & save
In addition to ratings, you can read reviews of manufacturers to see how consumers feel about their RVs. Find out what their purchasing process was like. This could vary from dealer to dealer. It may give you a good idea about certain items or hidden fees that may pop up when working with a specific manufacturer. If individuals ran into issues with their RVs, how easy was it for them to work with the manufacturer to resolve it?
If you do an Internet search of “Lightweight Camper Reviews” you may also get an idea for other items people look for from a manufacturer. There will be some individuals who consistently purchase or recommend the same company based on their experience. These reviews will be especially helpful for you if you can find an owner with similar interests. For example, a family with young children that rarely vacations may have different priorities from an older couple that travels often. Look for the reviews that seem to line up with your interests.
Look For Deals
Lastly but in many cases most importantly, certain manufacturers may offer deals such as cash back, trade-ins and zero percent interest rates. You can find out about these offers more often than not by working through the dealership. However, sometimes you can go directly to the manufacturer. While you want to save money when you can, it is also important to note that going cheap on an RV is not always a good idea. You want to be sure you get a quality vehicle that will last you for years to come.
Therefore, look for deals but beware of offers that seem too good to be true, as they usually are. Ask the dealer or manufacturer what kind of incentives they offer or special discounts for which you may qualify.
If you are looking into how to buy an RV, your first step should be determining which manufacturer you prefer. You can base this decision on a number of factors. Start with figuring out what type of RV you want, such as a motorhome or towable trailer. Then do some research as to which manufacturer specializes in that model. Look up consumer ratings and peer reviews to determine the quality of the vehicle. Lastly, make sure you are happy with the warranty you get. Figure out how you can save money on the purchase. Doing your homework may take time, but it will pay off with finding a quality RV that matches your interests.