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Buying A New RV

Most dealers do not provide the information necessary for an RV’er to get full knowledge of owning and operating an RV. One of the most important things for you to do, is plenty of research on the brand of RV you are considering to buy. Some RV’s look great, have extra large slide outs and wonderful floor plans. Unfortunately a lot of these RV’s are manufactured with poor quality and have many problems. Accessories such as leveling systems, tow bars, hitches and brake controllers should also be researched. Do not rely on the dealer to tell you what brands to buy because the preferred brand is always the one they sell. It is also recommended that you thoroughly check your dealer’s reputation for customer service.

Most dealers seem to love you when you are spending money to purchase your RV, but cannot remember you when you need service or have questions after the purchase. Call the Better Business Bureau and talk to other RV’ers about the dealer and the quality of the product you intend to purchase. If you intend to purchase a used RV, it is imperative that you have an unbiased quality professional thoroughly inspect your unit before the purchase, or you may call us at (850)866-6999 or visit http://www.rvtrax.com for a pre-purchase inspection. A used RV can be the most economical way to own an RV if it is inspected properly. Beware of most extended warranty service plans. Most are quite expensive and seem to represent that all repairs will be covered when it is not so. Always read the exclusions and what is not covered to understand what you are about to purchase. Extend warranty companies are trying hard to make excuses why they should not cover legitimate repairs. Too often, they will want to send an adjuster out, with delay, before any repairs can be made. This can be an awful experience, if it is 98 degrees outside and your air conditioner is not operating.

The most important thing to remember is not to be in a hurry. It is a good idea to rent the type of RV that you are considering purchasing.  Spending time driving and camping in the RV is a great way to verify that you are making the proper purchase. An RV is an expensive investment. Do not purchase and close the deal and leave your dealership until you ask your dealer many questions, verify all appliances, accessories operate properly and have a good understanding about the RV and operating the accessories. If the dealer will not spend the time with you or seem not to understand the items listed below, look for another dealer. Following are a few of the many steps that you should follow to have a great RV experience:

1. Learn how to use all the switches, gauges and cockpit controls.

2. Learn how to operate the energy management system, as well as the systems monitor panel.

3. Learn how to check and fill all fluids for the drive train, leveling systems, and other accessories.

4. Learn how to operate and maintain the generator and understand any safety precautions.

5. Learn how to safely operate the slide outs, as well as maintenance procedures.

6. Learn how to safely operate and maintain the leveling system.

7. Learn how to operate the awnings and power vents.

8. Learn how the 120-volt AC system works, including circuit breakers and GFI breaker locations, as well as reset procedures. Also, learn how to use shore power adapters.

9. Learn how to operate the TV and stereo entertainment system, as well as cable hook ups, antenna and satellite dish operations.

10. Learn how to safely light the oven range, stove and microwave operations.

11. Learn how to operate the refrigerator in the different modes of operation.

12. Learn how to operate the air conditioners, the climate control thermostat system and where the filters are located.

13. Learn how to safely operate the furnace, vent locations and safety precautions.

14. Learn how to safely operate the water heater’s gas and electric operations; the water fills and drain procedures.

15. Learn the locations, proper usage and reset procedures of the converter and inverter systems.

16. Learn how the 12 volt DC system works, fuse and circuit breaker locations, battery disconnect switches, battery locations, maintenance procedures, as well as the types of batteries the RV uses.

17. Learn how to operate the LP propane system, recognizing the rotten egg smell of LP gas, operating the LP detector, carbon monoxide detector and smoke detectors. Also, learn the location of the LP tanks, regulator and shut off valve operations.

18. Obtain instruction of the proper fire extinguisher operation, locations and all emergency exits.

19. Learn how to drain and fill the fresh water tank, city water connections, water pressure regulator usage, water pump operation and winterizing procedures.

20. Learn how to drain and flush the gray and black water holding tanks, checking the levels, deodorizers and types of toilet paper to be used. Always use rubber gloves when draining a holding tank. Know how to drain the fresh water tank and the locations of low point drains.

21. Learn how to properly clean and maintain your roof, interior and exterior finishes.

22. Many Toy Haulers or Toy Box models have a gasoline filling station built in. Learn the proper safety usage techniques. Learn how to properly secure the load and operate the tailgate.

23. Understand tire safety precautions, air pressures, weight factors, proper wheel lug torques and towing capabilities. Learn jack, lug wrench and spare tire locations. Verify the tire pressures can easily be checked. You may need to have valve stem extensions installed.

24. Verify that you have all the operations manuals and warranty forms. Also, ask for component locater and wiring schematics. The factory will provide this information if the dealer requests it. This will save lots of repair time in the future.

25. Always pay attention to your instruction manuals for your RV. Complete and mail all warranty forms; this will allow manufacturers to contact you about recalls and save time when obtaining warranty repairs.

26. If purchasing a travel trailer or fifth wheel, verify your tow vehicle GVWR (gross vehicle weight rating) and hitch capacity are adequate to tow the RV. Verify that you have the proper stabilizers, brake controllers, electrical connectors and chains. For more information visit http://rvsafety.com

27. If you are to tow a vehicle behind your motor home, learn about the GVWR, towing and hitch capacities, electrical connections and brake controllers of the rig. For more information visit http://rvsafety.com

28. Always inspect your tow bar and hitch for worn parts. Tow vehicles over 1,500 pounds need to have brakes. The best towing accessories, that we recommend, are the Blue Ox or Demco brands.

29. Hook up your rig and do a complete walk-around inspection for lights, safety items, secured cargo and accessories before driving.

If you would like a qualified professional to answer any questions or inspect the RV, for purchase call (850) 866-6999 or visit http://www.rvtrax.com.