Skip to Content

After Buying a Fifth Wheel, Here’s Our Advice for Your Next RV Purchase

After Buying a Fifth Wheel, Here’s Our Advice for Your Next RV Purchase

Like many who RV for several years, we’ve bought a few different RVs.

The advantage of owning different RVs is that it’s given us the chance to learn a thing or two about RVs and the buying process.

Today, we want to share a few things we’ve learned, so you’re ready for your next RV purchase.

Let’s take a look!

After Owning Two Vintage Campers, Buying a Brand New Fifth Wheel Was a Big Change

We have fond memories of our travels in our vintage campers. We were able to camp in some epic boondocking locations and learn how to live on the road. However, once our daughter came along, we knew we’d need more space.

That’s when we decided to upgrade to a larger rig.

Our new 42-ft Alliance Paradigm 390MP is more than enough room for our family.

However, it’s not just the space that we love about our new rig. We also love carrying 100 gallons of fresh water, the washer and dryer hookups, and not having to vacuum since there’s no carpet.

Fifths wheel RVs parked in lot.
Fifth wheels can mean big adventure and big fun.

After Buying a New Fifth Wheel, Here’s Our Advice for Your Next RV Purchase

We learned a few things while buying our new fifth wheel. Let’s take a look at some of the things you should keep in mind before buying your next RV.

Research the Manufacturer

When you’re spending your hard-earned money on a new rig, you’ll want to do a bit of research. You want to know what separates each manufacturer from the rest. A manufacturer needs to create a quality product and stand behind that product after the sale.

You can research manufacturers by joining online groups for various manufacturers that you’re considering.

Take note of any consistencies in complaints or failures. You may not realize it, but many manufacturers also offer tours of the factories where they manufacture their RVs. This often enables you to see RVs going through the manufacturing process and ask questions regarding the manufacturer’s specific process.

Many of the major RV manufacturers are located in Northern Indiana, but there are also other manufacturers across the country.

RV Fifth wheel driving down the open road.
Take time to ensure you are buying an RV from a reliable RV brand.

Purchase From a Quality, Trusted RV Brand

When you buy from a quality and trusted brand, you eliminate the chance of your RV spending unnecessary time in the shop. This means you’ll have more time to go on some epic adventures and make memories.

However, because RVs travel down the road, things are bound to break. You want a brand that will stand behind its RV and get you back on the road.

This is not only the manufacturer but the dealer that you’re buying from as well. When things don’t go as planned, you want to know they’ve got your back.

Pro Tip: Cash might be king, but if you need to take out a loan to finance your RV you might be wondering What’s a Good RV Loan Rate? Let’s find out!

Choose a Layout That Fits Your Lifestyle

There’s no shortage of layouts when it comes to RVs. You’ll likely find a few common features when it comes to layouts, but some manufacturers set themselves apart from the pack. Make sure that whatever layout you select works for your family.

If you’re a family and planning to travel full-time in your RV, you’re going to want a layout with a bunkhouse. However, if you’re traveling solo or as a couple, a bunkhouse may be completely unnecessary during your adventures.

Knowing how you plan to use your RV is incredibly important and likely something you need to think through before even stepping into an RV dealership.

We’d encourage you to make a list of layout features that you think are important in your future RV.

You should then do some research and compare the various floor plans across any manufacturers you’re considering.

Don’t Go Too Small, But Don’t Go Too Big Either

Size does matter when you’re buying an RV. If you buy an RV that’s too small, you’re not going to enjoy your RV fully. While you may think you’ll spend a majority of the time outside of your RV, there are going to be times where everyone has to be inside.

This could be weather-related or simply to sleep at the end of the day. Feeling like you’re on top of your fellow campers isn’t a good way to have an excellent RVing experience.

On the other hand, buying an RV that’s too big can be frustrating as well.

You may think your big tow vehicle can handle that large RV, but it might not. Buying an RV that’s too big for your tow vehicle will increase the wear and tear on your vehicle and put you in an unsafe situation when towing.

Having a larger RV also makes it more difficult to get spots in some campgrounds as not all campgrounds can house large rigs.

Remember That You Might Not Get It Perfect the First Time

There’s a reason why many RVers change rigs within a year or two of buying their first RV. It’s nearly impossible to know what exactly you’ll need in an RV until you hit the road. So cut yourself some slack if you don’t get it right the first time.

You’re not the first RVer to not pick the perfect RV right out of the gate, and you’re certainly not going to be the last.

Single RV parked in parking lot.
Whether new or used, a fifth wheel RV can be an excellent addition for you and your family.

Planning on Expanding Your Family? Give Yourselves Room to Grow

We knew that traveling in a vintage camper wasn’t going to be able to last forever.

We knew that we’d need more space if we wanted to continue to travel as our family grew. So if you’re planning to grow your family, make sure you’re thinking ahead and factoring in the extra space you’ll need.

That big RV may seem like overkill now, but as your family grows, you’ll appreciate every bit of space you have.

Buying Used? Don’t Skip the Third-Party Pre-Purchase RV Inspection

Buying a used RV can be a great way to save money on your dream RV. However, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is not having a third-party pre-purchase inspection completed on the rig.

While these inspections can cost you several hundred dollars, if they can help you identify damage or issues with an RV, they can easily pay for themselves.

A third-party inspection is relatively common, especially when buying a used RV. If the dealer or seller has any issues with you having a third-party inspection and they haven’t done one recently, it should be a major red flag.

You want to make sure there are no structural or major issues with any used RV. If not, you’re not likely to discover the issues until you’re financially responsible for all the repairs.

Pro Tip: If you’re interested in buying a used RV, don’t over pay! This is How to Determine the Value of Used RVs.

RV parked in an RV campsite.
Always read reviews and RV forums before purchasing a specific RV model.

Learn from Actual Customers in RV Forums and Groups

There’s a tremendous wealth of knowledge available through RV forums and groups. You can learn from actual customers and see what issues they’re facing with their RVs. By learning from the mistakes of others, you can avoid making the same mistakes.

It also helps you go into the process with a better understanding of what to expect.

Buying an RV can be a nerve-wracking experience. Arming yourself with as much knowledge as possible from actual customers is a great way to ensure a smooth buying process. You can never be too prepared when it comes to buying an RV.

However, it’s important to remember that RV forums and groups are typically the first places people run when they need to complain.

If someone has little or no issues with their RV, they’re not likely to share that fact. So keep in mind that you’re more likely to hear the negative perspectives in these communities.

Do Your Research Before Your Next RV Purchase

Making an informed decision when buying your RV requires a bit of research.

However, your efforts can help save you thousands of dollars and a tremendous amount of stress. You want to be satisfied with your purchase and be able to enjoy your new RV for years to come.

What are some lessons you’ve learned when buying a new RV?

Discover the Best Free Camping Across the USA

To be honest with you, we hate paying for camping. There are so many free campsites in America (with complete privacy).

You should give it a try!

As a matter of fact, these free campsites are yours. Every time you pay federal taxes, you’re contributing to these lands.

Become a FREE CAMPING INSIDER and join the 100,000 campers who love to score the best site! 

We’ll send you the 50 Best Free Campsites in the USA (one per state). Access the list by submitting your email below:

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *