So you want to buy an RV?

So you want to buy an RV? First of all, I am a novice. I have experience from when we owned a small pop-up camper and a 30-foot tongue pull trailer.

It has been more than 10 years since we had that travel trailer. Since my last experience, there have been many innovations and changes.

Living in our Travel Trailer

So you want to buy an RV?

The shiny new, and beautifully decorated Keystone Outback trailer was great fun when we first purchased it. We enjoyed many family trips to the beach and RV parks in it.

So you want to buy an RV?

However, we did not really know what we wanted in a recreational vehicle or what to look out for when buying a travel trailer. This travel trailer purchase turned out to be not a very wise decision in the long run.

On September 14, 2008, Hurricane Ike hit our home on the Texas Gulf Coast pretty severely, making it unliveable for over a year. We lived in that 30-foot trailer for more than a year while our home was being rebuilt.

So you want to buy an RV?

That “RV year” made me much less fond of our travel trailer. The trailer was spacious enough for a weekend or even a few weeks of vacation travel. Unfortunately, I found it very uncomfortable and cramped when we lived in it full-time.

In addition to working every day on repairing our home, I almost daily had to make minor repairs on the travel trailer.

So you want to buy an RV?

We want to buy an RV

We both like to travel, meet people and visit new places. However, today, in this COVID world, travel options are limited, and many restrictions still in effect. Our usual travel is to take a plane or cruise somewhere, but that became impossible. Hence, the RV bug hit us again.

So you want to buy an RV? But what kind?

We decided we did not want another trailer to pull around and then have to keep it in storage. This is how we came to explore the possibility of a motor home. Neither of us knew much about them and had had no experience with them, so our search started entirely in the dark.

Types of RVs

First of all, there are a zillion types of RVs to choose from. We had to decide which style would work best for us. It was quick work to eliminate the models we knew we did not want and knew we could not afford. Class C was the winner for us.

So you want to buy an RV?

We wanted something we could drive, but we were not sure which type we wanted. Most Class A and Super C’s were out of our price range. Those that were affordable to us were just too old. I didn’t want to spend all my time making repairs.

I wish I could go through all the different RVs out there, but that could be another million words, so this will only discuss our decision. As you know, we purchased a Class C 2017 Coachmen Leprechaun 319Mb with 8000 miles on it.

Traveling in a Motorhome. Great or Not so Great?

After shopping and shopping, we settled on this primarily because it was in our price range, in good shape, and the price was fair. This one was larger than most RVs we had been looking at, but it had everything we wanted.

This list, taken from our earlier blog post, On the road – in our RV, is a concise list of the most essential and first items to consider when purchasing an RV.

• Budget?
• What type of motorhome or trailer? Class A, B, C, Super C motorhome, towable pop-up, van, towable trailer, towable fifth-wheel, towable toy hauler?
• How large or small do you want your RV to be?
• Do you want a specific floorplan?
• What physical size do you want your RV to be?
• What is your vehicle’s towing capacity if you choose a towable RV?
• Where do you plan to store your RV when not in use?
• Don’t forget insurance.
• Accessories.

Facebook RV Groups

So you want to buy an RV?

The best thing that has happened in today’s RVing is Facebook groups. These Facebook groups are tremendous sources of good information. I suggest joining the Facebook group for the type/style model RV you are interested in and ask questions you want answers to.

Facebook groups exist for almost all specific RV brand names and Class A, Class Super C, Class C, Class B, trailer tongue pull, fifth wheel, and even pop-up campers. I am sure there are some I’ve never even heard of!

Are used RVs always a good buy?

A lot of low mileage used motor homes are available for sale. I think people buy them, use them for a couple of years, and then lose interest. It remains parked and unused for a year or two before finally being sold.

So you want to buy an RV?

Sometimes these are good deals, but not always. For example, a 4-year-old Class C motorhome may have only 8000 miles on it. However, if the maintenance was not kept up to date for those years by the previous owner, the motorhome will likely have mechanical issues.


Maintenance on an RV is a necessity and would have to be an additional expense. Fortunately, I have tinkered with tools all my life and most things I can figure out. Google and YouTube are always right there waiting for me if I can’t figure something out on my own.

If you are not handy with tools, mechanical repair, or do not want to do it yourself, don’t let that stop you from enjoying an RV lifestyle. You can find these services at RV dealerships and repair facilities.

Department of Transportation (“DOT”) date on tires is critical information.

So you want to buy an RV?

It is best to replace tires on most motorhomes every six years from the DOT date stamped on the tires. The RV weight is supported by the tire sidewall, not the tread, and the sidewall will deteriorate from the sun and/or age. A bad sidewall is a time bomb, and blowouts on motorhomes can be deadly.

The roof

The roof is an essential part of an RV and usually doesn’t wear out for 10+ years. Regular maintenance must be done throughout that time, however. Caulking seals on the roof will deteriorate over time and create a leaky roof that can lead to costly repairs.

The generator

An onboard generator that has been sitting for long periods unused is a potential problem. Manufacturers recommend most onboard generators be run under load for a least an hour every three months. The generator oil must be changed every 100 hours of run time, six months in most cases.

Now have I scared you away from purchasing an RV? I hope not. They can be fun and enjoyable. You need to educate yourself about potential problems or maintenance requirements of the particular model you have your eye on.

Click here to see my RV buying checklist of items to consider when you are ready to begin shopping.

I hired an independent inspector to check out the first RV we came very close to purchasing. This can sometimes be pricey but is worth every penny. We did not buy that first RV, based on the inspector’s report.

Make it your own

Another issue with purchasing an RV is that, although it is what you want, you will find that you want it to be yours and not just like all the others. After a few trips, you will discover modifications and changes to make things more convenient and comfortable for your specific needs.

Coat hooks and cook station modifications

Here is the short list of what we have done to make this RV our own.

  • Installing a TPMS tire monitoring system
  • Installing a Progressive Industries Ems-LCHW30 Hardwired RV Surge and Electrical Protector – 30 Amp
  • We needed internet on the road, of course, so I added a WeBoost cellar phone signal amplifier.
  • A flag is a necessity. I built and added a telescoping flag pole
  • We aren’t big tv folks, so I moved the outdoor TV to the bedroom and turned the outdoor tv space into a cooking station.
  • The addition of a coat rack by the entrance door, using fishhooks!
  • I added wooden bathroom cabinet retention rods.
  • We purchased a tote to carry wastewater. This will also allow us to dump our waste and transport it to the dump station in this tote without having to pack up the whole RV.
  • Macerator pump. An RV macerator pump acts as a garbage disposal for our RV waste tanks. It grinds up solid waste, making it much easier to dispose of, and the pump allows contents to be pumped a further distance.
  • We purchased a used Jeep to tow behind the RV, so we always have transportation to get around.
  • I installed a brake assist package for towing a jeep. This is a necessity.
  • Of course, we had to purchase a tow bar for towing the Jeep
  • We bought an RV leveler device calibrated to RV level and communicates with a cell phone app through Bluetooth.
  • Our RV already had adequate USB ports installed, but I installed additional 120v wall plugs and 12v dc accessory plugs.
  • I recently applied a new roof coating to our roof. In addition to protecting and sealing, the roof coating should reflect heat in the summer.

There are other “purchases” and modifications we have made, but this illustrates that most RVs are not “plug and play.”

Always be prepared

So you want to buy an RV?

I also carry all kinds of “just in case” supplies.

  • Complete set of hand tools
  • Flashlights
  • Voltmeter
  • Spare fuses
  • Portable air pump
  • Extra oil and oil pan for motor and generator changes while we are traveling.
  • Miscellaneous screws
  • Glue
  • Duct tape
  • Electrical tape
  • Leveling blocks
  • Extra roof caulking.

If you have ever owned a boat, you will understand that an RV is basically a boat on land when it comes to repairs. There are amazing adventures and great times that go hand in hand with RV travel.

Research, plan, consider, and evaluate what you want in an RV or motorhome. RV travel is a fantastic lifestyle!

So you want to buy an RV?

3 thoughts on “So you want to buy an RV?

  1. Hi Steve, this is a great list for people to consider before buying a RV. One thing that you mentioned in buying a used RV is that the maintenance might not have been done as it should have. Would doing a pre-purchase inspection by a mechanic be a good idea, in your opinion?


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