3 RV Costs That Might Surprise You
Most of us go into RV ownership knowing that it costs money to maintain a rig. But these three common RV costs might catch you by surprise if you’re unprepared.
1. RV depreciation
New RVs are the best feeling. I know, because I once bought a new one. And even though I purchased a four-season Arctic Fox by Northwood, my fifth wheel’s depreciation took me by surprise when we sold it.
“The larger the camper, the more quickly it depreciates,” according to the experts at the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA). In their helpful article “How Much Do Campers Depreciate,” they give a rundown of the truth about RV depreciation.
For instance, did you know that RV class type is one of the biggest factors that influence how much money you will lose on your RV? “On average, fifth-wheels have the most rapid depreciation, followed closely by Class A and Class B vehicles,” they explain.
- Class A RVs drop the fastest. RV coaches sink 30% in value over three years.
- Class C RVs depreciate a little more slowly. Motorhome values drop about 38% over five years.
- Travel trailers hold a better value. Trailer depreciation is roughly 40% over five years.
- Fifth wheels tank the fastest. They shed 45% in value over five years.
How to avoid major RV depreciation
Unfortunately, if you buy a new RV, expect your rig to lose about 20 percent of value the minute you drive it off the dealer’s lot. If that type of RV depreciation is a major dealbreaker for you, let someone else suffer the RV depreciation blues. Consider buying a slightly used model instead. Learn more about 5 Things Making Your RV Lose Value in this Do It Yourself RV article.
2. Unexpected major RV damage
A good RV maintenance schedule can keep your RV like-new for many years. Neglect RV repairs at your peril.
For example, if you don’t remember to seal RV seams with Dicor on a regular basis, water can invade the layers of fiberglass and wood protecting you from the elements. The delamination process not only looks bad, but in many cases is irreparable. I know because delamination happened to our first RV.
Later, the slide-out on our second fifth-wheel fell slightly out of alignment. We put off that repair until we noticed water leaking into the living room. By then, some rot had occurred. That was the last big lesson we learned about ignoring RV maintenance.
How to prevent major RV damage
Making repairs cannot be ignored for very long without serious structural or cosmetic damage. Budget and stick to a regular RV maintenance schedule by using an online tool such as Maintain My RV. You’ll save money, enjoy more time on the road, and get more out of the resale price when you sell it.
3. Tire blowout damage to the RV itself
Our lives depend on the integrity of our wheels, so most of us expect to spend money on RV tires. But nobody expects a highway flat to cause major damage to the RV. Unfortunately, flat tire RV damage happens all the time. The costs to repair your rig can be shocking.
“$13,000 plus price of the tire $1100, $14,000 plus. I now have Tire monitors on all tires including toad.” – @J2Jake iRV2.com Forums
“Yes, it did some significant damage inside the wheel well on its way out.” – @LWBAZ
How to prevent RV tire damage
RVing friends argue endlessly about the best RV tires and the hazards of cheap RV tires. But there’s one thing none of us can argue: investing a high-quality RV tire pressure monitoring system can help prevent major RV tire damage.
A TPMS system will keep an eye on your tire pressure at all times. The TPMS won’t prevent flats, but it will alert you to a sudden drop in pressure. Then you can take charge much faster and decrease the risk of more severe RV tire damage.
These surprising RV costs might be expensive, but they’re not inevitable. Purchase your next RV with depreciation in mind, stay on top of maintenance, and never roll down the road without a TPMS, and you’re almost certain to avoid the highest costs of RVing.
Stay on top of your RV maintenance
Keep track of all your RV maintenance with an online tool such as Maintain My RV. Not only can you keep all your maintenance records and documents in one place, but you’ll also receive timely reminders via email when maintenance is due and potentially avoid a costly repair or serious accident.
Rene Agredano and her husband, Jim Nelson, became full-time RVers in 2007 and have been touring the country ever since. In her blog, Rene chronicles the ins and outs of the full-timing life and brings readers along to meet the fascinating people and amazing places they visit on the road. Her road trip adventures are chronicled in her blog at LiveWorkDream.com.