There are two primary circumstances in which you might visit your local RV dealership for assistance: when you’re in the market to buy a new Class A Gas RV or other upgraded motorhome, or if your current RV needs service. To make the most of your RV dealership experience, shoppers need to take ownership of the encounter, asserting their preferences and asking insightful questions that can help them make the most informed decision. If you’re not sure what kind of inquiries to make, check below for a list of 10 key questions you may want to ask your RV dealer when visiting their business.
Questions to Ask When Buying an RV
If you are new to the RV scene or looking to trade-in for a new RV brand at a dealership you haven’t previously visited, you’re obviously going to have a lot of questions. You might want to bring a notebook with questions you thought of and wrote down ahead of the visit, and leave space for taking notes. Here are a few topics to get you started:
Which brands do you recommend and why?
Even if you have already decided which brand you want, your dealer may be able to provide input on why one brand may be superior to another, especially when the dealer knows how you intend to use your new fifth wheel camper or other unit.
Can you provide a unit tour?
A salesperson at the dealership should be able to walk you through and fully demonstrate the unit(s) you are most interested in to show you the different features and how its various amenities work.
Will my current vehicle be able to tow this?
A quick check of your vehicle’s towing capacity versus the full operating weight of the RV can let you know if you need to scale back on the RV you choose. Your salesperson can direct you to a good match. Or, if you’re uncomfortable towing, the dealer can show you motorized units.
What is my full cost if I purchase this vehicle?
As it is with buying a car or truck, the sales sticker on the window of an RV is the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP). There’s usually some room for negotiation. Ask if there are any discounts, special offers, or manufacturer rebates for the new Class B camper van or other RV that can help with your bottom line.
Do you offer a warranty and/or maintenance package? If so, what is included?
Whether buying new or used, dealerships normally provide at least a limited warranty on parts and service. Find out how long it will be in effect and what it covers. You may also want to ask if they have an extended warranty. In addition, some dealerships offer discounted routine maintenance packages or services like oil changes to keep your RV running in top condition and to avoid potential problems if issues can be spotted early.
Do you offer financing?
Dealerships may be able to provide financing plans that are equal to or better than what you can get from your financial institution, and it might be easier to just have the dealership handle every aspect of your purchase. If they offer it, it’s worth finding out what the rates and terms are before you make a financing decision.
Can you provide past customer referrals?
Dealerships that go above and beyond to serve their customers regularly get testimonials from previous buyers who were thrilled with their sales and service visits. Referrals provided by the dealer can supplement online reviews of the business, providing a well-rounded look at the dealership. Remember to not take any one review too seriously; instead, look for themes across multiple reviews and testimonials.
Do you offer any perks?
Dealerships sometimes offer freebies such as RV camping club memberships. Take advantage of every bonus you can get when buying a new toy hauler RV or a motorhome.
What are your favorite destinations?
RV dealership personnel are also usually RVers themselves. They can provide you with some starting points based on their previous experiences, especially areas that might be better suited for newer drivers/campers.
Mindy Hinkel, who has been RVing full-time for five years with her husband Brett and their most recent addition, Daisy the Golden Retriever, also suggests that if beginner owners are uncomfortable driving a new rig for the first time, they should ask if the dealer can drive and park the RV at the closest appropriate campground, then you can arrange for driving lessons with a professional.
Servicing Your RV
What Do I Need to Know About Maintenance & Repairs?
One additional question you should ask during your purchasing phase is if the dealership offers after-sale service. There are a number of maintenance items the dealership can teach you to do, such as how to:
- Hook the RV up for towing
- Dump gray and black water
- Fill the unit with fresh water
- Operate any equipment or systems such as the inverter, solar, stereo, cameras, TVs, DVD player, furnace, propane, and generator (if equipped)
However, when it comes to routine maintenance or repairs, especially if your new Class C RV or other vehicle is still under warranty, it’s good to know if you can return to the dealership for all of the services your unit may need.
“In hindsight, we wish we had asked our dealer more detailed questions about the difference between how repairs for recalls, one-year manufacturer, third-party manufacturers, and extended warranties are handled,” says Hinkle. “Also, confirm where those repairs for each would need to take place and options for when on the road and in need…like when your slide won’t close.”
If the dealership has a service facility on site when you’re ready to purchase your RV, you can also ask for a tour. According to Hinkle, a tidy shop with a knowledgeable and experienced master tradesperson at the helm is a sure sign that the RV dealer takes their customer service seriously. If the dealer wants you to be a loyal customer for many years, they need to be invested in more than just the sales phase. And if you’re ready to start comparing RV listings and contacting dealers, start shopping today on RVT.com.
By Barrett Baker
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