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Things to check before buying an RV
By Chuck Woodbury

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Here are some things to check when buying an RV. Each is important. Take the time to do these things and in doing so you will help ensure you get an RV that will work for you -- not against you!

Determine storage space. Is it adequate for your needs? Is there a place for your golf clubs or other large items?

Inspect cupboards: Are they deep enough to accommodate a standard-sized dinner plate? How are they put together – screwed, nailed, stapled? Do they feel solid or flimsy?

Sit a while in chairs and on the couch. Are they comfortable? Does the easy chair and/or couch have good head support?

Where is the built-in TV (or where would you place a portable one)? Can you see it without straining your neck?

Lie on the bed. Is it comfortable? Is it roomy enough for two? Is it long enough so your feet don’t hang out?

Sit on the toilet. Can you do so with the door closed? When you stand up, do you bang your head on a cabinet? Is there, in fact, a cabinet in the bathroom? How about a soap dish in the shower stall?

Where will you place a wastebasket? Is there an out-of-the-way space that will easily accommodate it?

Check heater vents. How many are there? Where are they? Is there one in the bathroom (incredibly, sometimes there is not). Is the heater itself powerful enough to heat the rig? And how about the air conditioner? Is it adequate?

Are there enough stove burners? And how about kitchen counter space?

Check for electrical outlets. How many are there? Do the locations make sense?

Ask about insulation. The RV may be warm and cozy the day you look at it, but what about on a 30-degree night?

Lean against inside walls. Is there any give? Is the plywood about 1/4 inch thick at best? If so, you’re dealing with a cheaply made unit.

Learn how much weight the RV can carry. Look for a notice inside the rig (often inside a wardrobe door) that tells its net carrying capacity — the maximum weight the RV can carry without overloading it. This is sometimes noted as the CCC. You will be amazed at how many RVs are so heavy for their chassis that there is little room for anything else without dangerously overloading a rig. Make sure the RV can carry you, your family and your stuff.

Check on the outside of the RV, usually right near the door, for the seal of the RVIA. If its there, you can be sure the unit was made according to standards set by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association. If there is no such seal, do not buy the RV.

Chuck Woodbury is the editor of This article is excerpted from the eBook Buying an RV the Smart Way.

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