Knowing Your RV

Learning to know your RV can be confusing. Forums and web sites, in their attempts to give you information, can sometimes add to that confusion by making things over complicated. Most RVers do not really care how each little part of their RV works. They have no desire to become an RV repair technician. However, sometimes a little knowledge can go a long way toward relieving fears of the unknown and getting longer and better service out of your RV’s components.

Getting to Know Your RV

Examples

Knowing what to look for when evaluating your RV’s roof can save some costly roof repairs.

RV Tires are one of the biggest normal maintenance expenses.  It just makes sense to properly maintain them.

Learning how to maintain your batteries, both engine starting batteries and the house batteries can add life to those expensive components.

Information about your RV’s air conditioning system, and learning simple maintenance tips that should be done by you the owner, can improve efficiency and life spans of these units.  RV Air Conditioner maintenance.

When we started RVing we barely knew that we had holding tanks, not to mention black and gray ones. (One has to start somewhere in the learning curve). Learning when to dump each tank, which valves to leave open and which to leave closed can just make life more pleasant by NOT filling your RV with unpleasant odors.  RV holding tanks (more)   A little preventive maintenance that is quick and simple to do can also keep your tanks in good working order.

Some systems need regular maintenance. Others, like the furnace, as an example, are better left to the RV service technician. Learning to know your RV will help you decide which is which.

And what’s that ammonia smell coming from my refrigerator? How did that get there? What should I do about it?

What about solar panels. Do they really save you money? How do they work on an RV? What kind should you get? How do you determine how many you need?

Answers to these questions can give you peace of mind and increase your confidence level by several degrees. A really great web site that should be on every RVer’s list for good, sound, reliable information about the in’s and out’s of RV’s is Money Saving RV Repair. These good folks will help you learn about your RV, so you can not only do your own simple repairs and maintenance, but also know when to consult an RV specialist.

RV Detailing

RV detailing sounds like a good way to spend your break from sightseeing, so you pull into your campsite, set up your rig, and sit down for a minute to plan your work. That’s when you notice the small sign right out of your front window, “No RV Washing Allowed.”

If you find yourselves in Orange County, CA and feel the need for a little extra TLC for your RV, give Darren Priest a call at Expert Mobile Car Detailing – (Auto Fetish Detail) In the meantime, check out the site. There are lots of tips and techniques for doing your own thing as well.

Your RV will thank you!

 

 

RV Financing

What types of RV Financing are available and what terms are available?

RV Financing falls somewhere between mortgages and auto loans with the loan type being more in line with auto financing. There are similarities to both. As in auto financing, the depreciation factor falls into play. Your RV will, sadly, go down in value each year, similar to a car or truck. On the other side of the fence your car or truck is not a tax deductible expense unless you use it in your business. The RV interest is.

RV’s are looked upon the same as a stick built home in the eyes of the tax authorities. The interest is tax deductible, even if it is not your primary residence. So long as your RV has fixed sleeping quarters, permanent cooking facilities, and permanent bath and toilet facilities, it is considered the same as a second home or vacation home, meaning in most cases, tax deductible interest.

If you use your RV in a business setting, you may be entitled to a number of additional tax breaks.(check with your accountant).

RV Financing – Terms

Terms of 15 or 20 years are not uncommon in RV Financing. As of this writing, interests rates are running in the 3.5% to 5.5% range with a credit score of about 690 for a $150,000 RV with a 10% to 20% down payment, depending on whether you are a full-time RVer or weekender. This is an average, based on estimates from several financial sources obtained on line.

RV dealers will often tell you that it’s better to finance your RV than to pay cash, if you have the funds available. This is often based upon the interest deductions available to RVers when financing their RVs. In some instances, this may well be a true statement, depending on your tax bracket and also the funds you have available over and above your purchase.

For us in our circumstances, it seemed better to have our coach paid for with a smaller amount left for income producing investment. Everyone has different needs and therefore different strategies.

Our advice is to look carefully at all sides and go over the numbers with your accountant.

Here is a chart from the Good Sam Finance Center that you can refer to for their current rates. https://www.goodsamrvloans.com/rates/

There are other banks and financing institutions that have online charts as well.  Financing for all types of RVs is readily available and competitive enough to keep rates in a pretty good range these days.

RV Extended Warranty

There is no way to address the topic of an RV extended warranty without stepping on someones toes.  So put on your saftey shoes and we will jump right in.

RV extended warranties are not the same as a manufacturer’s warranty. A manufacturer’s warranty says the manufacturer will stand behind their design and workmanship for a specified time after you make the purchase.

An extended warranty is more like a bet that is placed on a football game complete with picking a winner and point spreads.  The warranty company is betting that your refrigerator will make it through the three years of the warranty, for example, and you are betting that it won’t.

They also are betting that even if your refrigerator does fail, they can somehow make it your fault.

You are betting that you can convince them that the failure should be covered.

RV Extended Warranty – Considerations

If your refrigerator, microwave, generator, or other component fails, would it put you in jeopardy to replace it yourself?  If you have a motorhome, would engine failure or transmission failure put you out of commission? When looking at those scenarios, is replacement the only option?  Could the problem be repaired?  Really, is it any different in an RV or a house? Life has few certainties.  Death and taxes, as the old saying goes, being the only ones.

That probably explains why about half of the RVers I have talked with like extended warranties, and the other half think they are a total waste of money.

The one area in which there seems to be more consensus is in the type of RV extended warranty. The exclusion type policy seems to be the most favored.  This type of policy spells out what items are NOT covered if they fail.  The more exclusions, the lower the premium.  Also the type policy where the dealer or RV service center gets paid directly is preferred by most RVers.  That seems to take some of the options out of the company’s decision as to whether or not a component is covered.  Most  RVers prefer to know up front if the service is covered rather than having to be reimbursed afterwards.  Know for certain that there are people being paid to find a way NOT to cover your claim.

When we bought our RV we decided to buy the RV extended warranty the dealer offered, mostly because of fear of the unknown. We knew very little about RV’s or RVing and the idea of three years of coverage didn’t sound too bad. Of course we barely looked at the price of the overall policy, buying into the phrase , “If we had to replace an engine the cost of the extended warranty would pale in comparison.” Later we learned that the engine and transmission we have in our motorhome, if properly maintained, are designed to last upwards of half a million miles.  If we continue to travel as we do now, and we maintain our unit with proper preventative maintenance, we can expect to have to do an overhaul when we reach 105 years of age.

We did have to replace an AC unit.  The  RV extended warranty paid for that.  We had to replace a microwave oven unit.  Our policy did NOT cover that, because we were impatient to have our oven back, and ended up installing it ourselves.  This was apparently all the company needed to deny the claim.  If we had waited the three weeks for an appointment to have the service center install the unit, it probably would have been covered.  The total of those expenses hardly made a dent in offsetting our premium costs.

We have chosen not to renew our RV extended warranty when our initial policy is up.  We will instead put away the premium costs to build up a reserve for future expenses.  In our case the premium also increased from about $4000.00 for the initial 3 year policy to about  $2500 for only 1 additional year.  The older your RV, the higher the premiums.  Are we throwing caution to the wind by not renewing?  As many of our followers can tell you, we have had a tendency to do that at times. See our (about us page)  Only time will tell.  We will let you know whether our decision was prudent or folly.

If you choose to go with an extended warranty or service contract, carefully read the fine print.  Know what is and what is not covered in advance of paying out your hard earned money, and learn all the details of the contract and the financial strength of the company writing the contract.

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Is RV roadside assistance a good idea for RVers?  Yes and we highly recommend it. It’s truly nice to know that if your rig does breakdown you can call one number and have help on it’s way in short order.

We have only had 2 incidences during our relatively short full time experiences. Once for a blow out of a tire from a road hazard, and the other to replace chassis batteries that finally died unexpectedly. In both cases help was there quickly and we were back on the road without much delay.

Things happen! RVers are still subject to Murphy’s Law. (Laundered version: If something can go wrong, sooner or later it will) Just sit around a campfire with a group of RVers and listen to the stories of how things went wrong. Consider that these stories happened long enough ago that they have become something to laugh about. They usually are not so funny at the time. RV roadside assistance can make the event somewhat less painful in most incidences.

When our right front tire blew out while crossing a bridge it was not a funny time in our lives. I’m just grateful that Jo was driving. She calmly continued across the short bridge and pulled off the road safely, just on the other side. My adrenalin levels jumped instantly off the chart.

Thank God I was not driving. I would have probably been all over the road attempting to “fix it”. I was so shook up it took me a good five minutes to find my Roadside Assistance card which was, of course, in the prominent place in my wallet where I had put it for easy access.

Within 30 minutes of our phone call, a tire service truck with a new tire was parked in front of our motorhome. In another 20 minutes the tire had been replaced on our undamaged wheel and we were on our way again. After another 30 minutes, I was finally calm enough to talk rationally.

We have Good Sam Club roadside assistance. There are other good roadside services. Pick the one you like the best. It is a relatively inexpensive service that might prevent a heart attack when Murphy’s law suddenly catches up with you.

 

We all need to at least consider RV insurance. Even if you own your RV outright you should have a good  insurance policy in place for liability issues at the very least.

And when you consider replacement costs if some tragic event costs you your RV, how do you get another one? Could you afford to just go buy another? These are individual questions that need specific answers to your own situation. RV insurance rates vary from state to state just like auto insurance. There are policies for the occasional or week-end RVer and also for the full timers.  Many companies that insure autos also have some type of RV policies available.  insurance rates for RVs, as with autos, vary from state to state and often zip code to zip code.

There can be a substantial difference between companies. Sometimes the best way to tackle the issue is have an independent insurance agent that you trust find the best rates for you. Make sure they understand your type of RV lifestyle. They often can find lesser known companies with better rates. Then look at and get your own quotes from the larger companies like, Good Sam Club insurance, RV America, Foremost, Progressive, Geico etc. and compare with the rates from the independents. If you are a full timer you should probably go with one of the companies that specialize in RV insurance for full timers. A full timer policy will incorporate some of the coverages of home owners policies, as well as insuring your RV. A full timer policy will include liability issues when someone comes to visit you in your RV, for example. You can also select coverage for the personal contents of your RV, similar to that of home owners policies.Be sure to select the exact same coverage from each company you get a quote from. For example, if you select 250/500/100k coverage on the liability portion from one company, do the same for all. Also select the same deductible amount from all on the collision portion. You should also select the same amount for personal contents coverage. That way you are comparing apples to apples as the saying goes. If there is no substantial difference in rates for the same coverage, you can simply go with the one that you trust the most or are more familiar with. If the difference is great, you might want to go over the coverage statements carefully and then check out the company to see how they rate with the ratings agencies like A.M. Best.

We do not in any way hold ourselves out as experts in buying RV insurance. In fact, buying insurance has never been a fun thing for me, but I have found that if I go through the process the best ways I can and settle on the best choice I can make, I can then just forget about the whole thing until I need to file a claim.

Here’s hoping that you find your way to the best policy for your circumstances and then never have to use it.

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