Being on the road 24/7 puts many things to the test. Marriages, friendships, family and money are three things most at risk of being damaged unless careful measures are taken. Perhaps the biggest aspect of your new life that will fall apart on the road faster than you can imagine is your RV and the appliances and accessories that go along with it.
Think your big ticket RV is immune from fulltiming wear and tear? Think again. One of the most common refrains you’ll hear from experienced full-time RVers is that every RV starts to fall apart after a few years. From the six figure Foretravel motor coaches to more affordable Tab teardrop trailers, things do break and need regular repairs, even when you are diligent about regular RV maintenance.
One of the reasons Jim and I bought a new Northwood Arctic Fox fifth wheel is because of the four star ranking it received from the non-profit RV Consumer Group which has created a renowned RV rating system. Each year the group publishes RV ratings guides that examine the quality of on-board house systems needed to create the overall durability and comfort of a rig when used in various conditions, including full-time living.
Another reason we purchased a brand new Arctic Fox is because we were RVing greenhorns and wanted to make sure that we started fresh without anyone’s old RV problems. We happily signed on the dotted line for the new RV and accompanying $1800 extended warranty policy, and smugly assumed that we wouldn’t really need it because our rig would be resistant to the wear and tear that quickly shows up on lesser expensive, lower quality models.
We were partially right.
Our fifth wheel has definitely stood the test of seven active full-timing years, but a few things have broken and needed replacing much sooner than we expected. From a cracked bath tub and broken water heater fitting, to a roof leak around the air conditioner and broken leveling jack, the highways of America have impacted our very durable, four star fifth wheel and everything bolted to it.
Most of the repairs we’ve needed to do to our current rig were inexpensive and relatively easy to tackle. Overall however we’ve been so pleased with our Northwood RV that we are purchasing another one, just slightly larger than the 24′ we have now. When we sign on the dotted line, we won’t be purchasing an extended RV warranty, which would cost us around $1700. I hope I don’t jinx myself but we are both confident that when repairs come up in our new rig, now we can tackle them ourselves, quickly and affordably.
If you are new to full-time RVing and searching for your perfect rig, remember that all RVs will become products of their environment. From living with dogs in rainy weather to off-grid boondocking down bumpy gravel roads, this carefree lifestyle does come with a price tag. Those of you who are used to calling a 1-800-telephone number for home repairs should consider purchasing an extended warranty for your RV. As full-timing newbies without a lot of home repair skills under our belts at the time, our warranty was well worth the investment and over six years paid for itself almost two times over. If you’re as green as we were back then, you’ll probably find one of these contracts to be worth every penny. For more information see my previous Fulltiming Nomad post, “Are Extended RV Warranties Worth the Money?”Research Campgrounds, Plan RV Safe Routes & Turn your phone into an RV GPS.
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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.