Buying tips

Discussion in 'General RVing' started by shamilton, Apr 24, 2006.

  1. shamilton

    shamilton New Member

    I have never owned an rv before. I plan on buying a travel trailer 21-26 foot with slide out. I am trying to do my homework on buying new or used. From what I have learned it seems used will get me more for my money. I was told that stuff starts breaking after a couple years. I read somewhere that if you buy used, you should have a qualified person go over it with a fine tooth comb to make sure there is no damage and everything works. That makes sense, but how am I suppost to get an RV expert to go with me to look at a used trailer.
    I went to the local RV dealership and got the whole car salesman bit. I was looking mostly at Fleetwood. I read on an earlier post to try and stay away from Fleetwood and Forest River. Are they considered lower end, or do they have a bad reputation as far as quality. Also, is it a requirement to have a break controller when pulling a trailer. Thank you!
  2. Krazeehorse

    Krazeehorse New Member

    Buying tips

    You will definitely want brakes on that trailer so you will need a controller. Not a big deal. And it will be much safer and you won't wear the brakes out on your tow vehicle prematurely. There are a couple dealers on here that are nice guys and will give you good info. Have fun and welcome to the forum.
  3. Kirk

    Kirk Senior Member

    Buying tips

    The best way to get a quick, but in depth education on RVs and how to rate one, which are best and so forth, is to join the RV Consumer Group( They are the only organization that rates RVs and manufacturers who do not accept advertising from the industry to pay the bills. Because they do not, they do cost to join or to get their information. But most information is worth no more than what you pay to get it, so keep that in mind as you study.

    As to Fleetwood, they are the largest manufacturer of RVs in the industry and as such them build everything from the cheapest, low quality, RV to some that are of good quality and toward the more expensive end of the price range. As such, it is very foolish to just assume that all Fleetwood products are junk, or that they are all high quality. Most manufacturers build a range of products and if you get one that is cheap, you need to expect to have less quality than you would if you buy the one that costs most.

    There are manufactures who have a generally poor reputation, but to list them publicly is to invite attacks from those who own them so I will not do that unless you send a private message. At the same time, there are also some who have a better than average reputation and a few of those are Teton, Mobile Suites, Travel Supreme, Hithch Hiker, and Newmar. There are probably a few others. I did not mention those brands that are motorhomes only, since you seem to be only looking at trailers.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that your tow vehicle has limits as to what it can carry and what it can tow. If you buy a trailer that is too heavy for the tow vehicle, it will be dangerous and could also damage the tow vehicle. Your owner's manual will have the weight limits. Do not ask a sales person if you can tow that trailer as they almost always say "yes" and very likely do not know.

    One last point. RV sales people are paid a commission and that is designed to reward them most when they sell the RV that has the lowest dealer cost to a customer for the very highest price. And they are very talented at convincing you, or pressuring you to buy what they are pushing. It is never wise to buy any RV without leaving the lot to think things through before you sign anything or write any checks. There is no perfect RV and even the best choice will be available somewhere else if it gets sold before you choose. That is an old sales tactic to try and convince you that it won't be there tomorrow if you do not buy today. And it is pure BS.

    While there probably are a few truly honest sales people in the RV business, there are also some very talented crooks and since the best crook is the most talented one, you are not likely to know the difference. For that reason, always insist that every promise is put into writing and signed by the general manager! The very best policy when searching for an RV, particularly when you have no experience, is to never trust the sales person. It is not his job to take care of you and if you insist everything be in writing, that will not deter a truely honest businessman, but it will stop the crooks.

    Take a lot of time and do not buy until you have looked at every dealership at least once. I would consider the minimum time for good RV purchasing to be about three months. Of course, the more time each day that is spent on the process, you might be able to shorten that.

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