<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="65001"%> Tips for Purchasing an RV (Joe and Vicki Kieva)
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Subject: Ten Tips for Choosing an RV

Instructors: Joe and Vicki Kieva

[Ed Note 10/2011] While this presentation dates back to the early days of Life on Wheels conferences, it is absolutely timeless in content.]

It is always entertaining to attend a class given by the Kievas. Joe discusses some of their subjects, Vicki others, but each is always ready to add to the other's presentation. They spice their lectures with amusing anecdotes from their travels and this give-and-take results in a very well balanced picture of the RVing lifestyle. This class was no exception.

The first and most important step in choosing an RV is to consider your personal interests, needs and, as always, your budget. An RV should take you where you want to go, and let you do what you want to do when you get there. Your needs will be different if you are only going to use it on an occasional weekend than if you are planning to be a fulltimer. The more extensive the use, the tougher and larger the vehicle will have to be.

Who will use it? You alone, or with traveling companions? How many? Where will you go? When? If you travel in the summer, you will want an awning, and probably air conditioning as well. In the winter, heating considerations become paramount.

The amount you spend on your RV should be in proportion to the frequency and duration of your trips. Consider sales tax, registration fewes and insurance premious. Be sure that you own it, and it doesn't own you.

This decided, several auxiliary questions need to be addressed. There are advantages to owning a self propelled motorhome, such as easier maneuverability, and the convenience of a separate tow vehicle. A towed RV, either 5th wheel or trailer, allows the towing vehicle to be used when camped, as well as during the rest of the year when the RV is in storage.

What size RV should you get? Do you prefer to travel the back country, or would you rather camp in a fancy RV Resort? The size of the rig will depend on where you want it to take you. Again, personal interests are important. Do you want to go into small, out of the way places? Then a smaller RV is better. If you want more living comfort and amenities, and prefer larger luxury resorts, then go with the larger vehicle. If National Parks are your goal, a smaller rig will probably be your best bet, as some parks have size restrictions. Most RV "resorts" will accommodate rigs of any size.

Be sure that the vehicle is rated for the weight you wish to add. Overloading of the rig is one of the prime causes of tire failure. Know the maximum hitch weight the towing vehicle can safely carry. Be sure that a fully loaded towed vehicle does not pack too much weight for the truck pulling it. Even though a truck/car can easily pull a vehicle, it may be another story when it comes to braking.

Look at the "Livability" of the RV. Go through the entire rig, section by section. Are the windows where you want them. Is the floor plan suitable to your needs? Measure the bed. Is it large enough? Do the same for the closets. Some shirt closets are more suitable for Tee shirts than for dress shirts. Are there any "attack"corners. Attack corners are those places where, no matter your caution, you are always betting bumped. Can you comfortably use the bathroom? Some shower stalls are quite small.

Consider eating accommodations. Are you a gourmet cook who will want to take specialized pans along, or is eating out your idea of heaven? It will make a difference down the road

If you are interested in a previously owned vehicle, be sure to have it checked by a mechanic and service technician. The fact that a machine hasn't been used for a year or more may spell trouble (dry seals, leaking fluids, etc.).

Most importantly, learn how to operate and maintain your RV. Drive safely and "Enjoy the Journey".