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Tips for buying a motorhome

Our trusty motorhome

We have invested a lot of time and money into our “little” motorhome. Here are some things I’ve leaned to look for when shopping for my next RV:

– Check that the bathroom sink does not drain into the black water tank. It should go to the gray water tank. Don’t expect the salesperson to know the answer to this. Check with the service folks and have them pull the model’s drawings. If the sink does drain into the black water tank:  Your black tank will fill up realy fast; and, you’ll smell it while going down the road – yuck ooh! Don’t walk but run away from this unit.

– A cover for stove burners is more than a “nice to have”. It provides additional work space and protects the burners while you are going down the road. A large wood cutting board will work but you’ll have to install “legs” or something to keep it from bouncing off when going down the road.

– Check the height and depth of the kitchen sink. Just like at home, a counter that is too high or too low makes working in the kitchen uncomfortable. My motorhome the sink is at a good height but has a smaller shallow sinkn one side and a larger deep sink on the other side. Neither sink is comfortable or useful.

– Check the size of the shower stall. That’s right; take your shoes off and step in. Ladies, imagine shaving your legs in there. Gentlemen, imagine doing whatever you do. Does it work for you?

– Next, sit down on the commode/toilet/throne. I’m considered to be above average in height.In my motorhome, my feet dangle and my knees bump up against the dirty clothes hamper when the door is closed. Not comfortable.

– Think about the storage areas provided. I have come to the conclusion the folks who designs rvs don’t use them. Before you go too far, take a good look at where you might store your food stuff, seasonal clothes, dirt clothes, etc. I’m still trying to get my storage areas to be efficient and logical but we’ve only had this rig for five years.

– Another thing about storage, it should be easy to access. We had some potential good storage areas but getting to it was near impossible. A piano hinge and a couple of hydraulic arms made the space under the bed useful. Handles on the wood planks used to support the diner’s seats made that space accessible.

– Give a close look at the outside storage. Can you organize each cabinet for a specific purpose or will you have to mix purposes? We had to change out several containers for smaller or different shaped containers when moving from a travel trailer to a motorhome. Also, check for sharp edges and corners and do something immediately to prevent damage to your body parts. You might want to consider the lighting, or lack of it, found in these outside storage cabinets.

– Access to the fresh water tank is a must. It is important to be able to see exactly how much water you have in the tank and also to be able to easily open and close the fresh water tank’s open/close valve (our valve in under a bed with the only access thru an opening cut into the pile wood sheet used to hold the mattress up – very awkward).

There are probably more things I should be aware of if I go looking for a new motorhome. But after compiling this list I think I’ll just hold on to my current unit and avoid the hassles of a new one.

– If the unit you are looking at is a “Dually” (double wheels on one axle) check how well you can access the air valves. Our rig come with no way we could add air or check the psi for the inside rear tires. Extenders had to be purchased and jury rigged.

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2 thoughts on “Tips for buying a motorhome”

  1. Jeff says:

    What is your average MPG in your set-up?

    I always wonder about the different reasons to pull an auto with a bigger auto(RV). Why not buy a truck and pull a trailer?

    1. Suzi Dow says:

      Some people prefer driving a vehicle smaller than the truck you might need to pull a trailer. Other people find it easier to hook-up a car than a trailer. Still others may not consider a truck appropriate to their non-RVing life-style. Bet there are many more reasons but these are a few I have heard lately.

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Fred and Suzi Dow