I am an RV enthusiast with more than 50 years of experience owning, driving, traveling and living in recreational vehicles.
There are many resources for obtaining information you may need when you're researching RVs. These include but are not limited to
- contacting RV manufacturers,
- talking to people who work at dealerships,
- doing online research,
- visiting with RV owners,
- asking questions of mechanics and
- spending time with RV salespeople.
Knowing how to identify and find quality travel units, dependable repair shops and safe storage facilities are just a few of the things people need in order to save money and avoid problems.
It takes a long time to build resources for these and similar things, but each one you add to your list can be a big money saver.
What You Need to Know
As you chat with other owners, you gain all sorts of meaningful information. If you keep track of it, sooner or later it will come in handy.
Dealerships want people to think that they are the only resources for parts, repairs and accessories, but with those who gather and save information know this is not always true.
They have earned, for example, that
they can save a good deal of money by hiring non dealership people to install carpet and draperies in their coaches,
there are many talented mechanics who do "side work" on travel units and create beautiful, less costly results and
not everybody demands top dollar for products that can be used in RVs
RV Manufacturers Are Good Resources for Info
If you know the year, brand and model of a travel unit you can easily find out about how it is constructed and which parts are used by contacting the manufacturer.
Knowing this information will make buying the products you need to have for repairs and upgrades much easier and will save money, too.
You can find their phone number in the owner's manual or with a simple online search. They can provide information about things such as
- the thickness of the walls,
- the amount of insulation,
- the type of framework used,
- the brand of chassis and the weight it is rated to carry,
- the roofing materials and
- whether the coach has full or partial body paint and the paint color used.
There is nothing as good as talking to the manufacturer to get a clear picture about how your coach has been constructed.
If you find an RV mechanic who is good at what he does and has been working on coaches for a long time, he, too, can be a valuable source of information.
One I spoke with recently who was repairing Prevost coaches told me that the biggest problems for RVs are their slide rooms. The brand did not matter.
Information like this is extremely valuable to keep in mind when buying or selling a travel unit.
Where to Find Info About Prices
If you want to buy or sell a unit, it's a good idea to research its current market value. NADA.com will help you to find basic pricing information about any recreational vehicle that has ever been manufactured.
The values you will see are not written in stone, but are good benchmarks for determining fair market value. How to Know What an RV Is Worth will give you more information about how to determine an RV's value.
You can also visit online RV forums and read classified ads when seeking this type of information.
It's always a good idea to keep track of your coach's value, and these are easy ways of doing so.
Owner’s Manuals Provide a Good Deal of Information
As noted earlier, the owner's manual can also be a very helpful source of important information. If you don't have one, an online search usually will produce one that you can download and use. Conversely you can contact the manufacturer to see if he has one he can provide.
The bottom line is that an RV's manual is an important resource for you to have. One of the reasons is that it often shows the schematics for the engine, plumbing and other important systems.
People tend to ignore these manuals because they seem complicated, but they can be extremely helpful,
For example, my husband and I were having problems with toilet clogs, even though we thought we were doing all of the right things. However, by checking out the plumbing diagrams in our manual, we discovered that the pipes that leave our sewer tank have two 90 degree turns in them that can stop waste materials from passing through easily.
Knowing this information helped us to find the part we needed to make the necessary repair and allowed us to resolve the issue.
People think that all structural issues are the same in RVs, but they are not.
For example, some allow all water from the shower and toilet to empty into one tank, while others separate the shower and sink water from the commode water so that they go into separate tanks.
This is important to know because in the first instance, the sewer tank fills more quickly than in the second, which means you need to dump more often or risk backup and flooding issues.
Owner’s manuals are chock full of meaningful information that will show you everything from which cleaning items are safest to use to how to contact the manufacturer if you need parts or assistance.
Call Your Insurance Agent
If you take the time to contact your insurance agent and supply them with the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) of an RV, they can tell you whether it has ever been in an accident, has been stolen or has any title defects.
With this info in hand you will be more prepared to keep an eye on potential problem areas so that you can get necessary parts for the types of repairs you will need to make.
This information is vital to know, yet few people ever think to ask about it.
Make sure that you do!
Save Money When Buying RV Necessities
It takes time and a bit of creativity to find the type of information you may need, but it is only by doing this that you'll know what needs to be done.
Then, of course, you will need to find the tools, parts and repair facilities that you'll need.
Many items and places can be found with internet searches, but you can also find them at yard sales, online stores such as Amazon, thrift shops and even stores such as Walmart. Talking to other RV owners sometimes yields finds as well because many owners have duplicates they'd like to get rid of.
The point here is that you shouldn't just depend on dealerships and RV parts sellers for buying RV necessities or gaining information that will help you to do so less expensively.
Recreational Vehicles are more complex than people realize, but learning about their statistics, systems, values and other information from good sources will help you have a good owner experience.
There is a world of information dealing with all aspects of RV ownership, so the more you know, the better off you will be.
- Did you know that there are campgrounds with full hookups scattered around the U.S. where you can stay for free?
- Are you aware of the huge savings you can get by joining certain discount camping clubs?
- Do you know how much you should pay for detailing or storage?
These things and more are all part of owning an RV, and you would do well to learn about them!
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2016 Sondra Rochelle