What to ask the salesperson?

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    Carol Holmes

    We (hubby and I) are not RVers — yet.  We are in the process of doing research.   We think we want a fifth wheel, mostly because of space and maneuverability.  We will not be full-timers. For the most part, our RV will act as a weekend place on ranch land that we own in the country. We plan to take one or two  trips a year, maybe more after Hubby retires in a couple of years. I am already retired from teaching. We would love to be able to take our grandkids (Dave, age 7 and Lily, age 5) with us on at least one trip a year and for weekends on the ranch.  We plan to go to a couple of RV lots this weekend just to get the lay of the land, so to speak. We plan to buy used, because I am assuming you can get more goodies for less money. I want depreciation to work in our favor, at least on the front end! LOL! So here are my questions:

    What should I ask the salesman besides how much?

    Are there some brands that are better built or depreciate less than others?

    What are the things you absolutely cannot do without? (I realize this is a matter of personal choice, but still…)

    What things are nice, but no big deal if you don’t have them (ditto as above)?

    What should I look for as far as faults or things that might be wrong?

    And anything else I need to know?

    Thnaks for your help. I sure am glad I found this forum!



    Carol Holmes

    Carol again. I should add that our budget is somewhere between $20,000 and $40,000. This is based solely on what I have seen on the internet. Anything more than 40 will make us wince. Thanks again.


    Welcome Carol. 🙂

    With a used fifth wheel the biggest thing to look for are leaks, leaks , leaks. Nothing will cost more to fix than water damage. Hear is an example of what can happen. This this is one of our members @eddie fifth wheel repair of the back wall that leaked. http://rvhappyhour.com/members/eddie/media/1318/

    Water damaged can be hard to find but avoid any RV with bubbled wall paper, stained ceilings, carpet or walls. Look in all the cupboards and closets for signs. Around all vent openings to the roof and AC. Best to actually get on the roof and look at all the sealant and roof condition. My advise is to find a veteran RVer that you can hire to look through the unit you are serious on before buying. Someone who has had many RVs over their life will be able to look at the rig with experienced eyes and well worth shooting them a few bucks to do so.

    It’s hard to advise on brands because they all make lemons. Most of the RV’s are just a collection of off the self parts from 2 or three part manufactures and the RV brands are just assembling them.

    Sometimes a brand will be very good and then they are purchased by another company and get really crappy. I feel the best approach is to search out a really good reputable dealer. A long time dealer wants to maintain a good rep and will try to sell the best product they can. A smart dealer in it for the long run knows they may be able to sell a customer several RVs over the course of their lives. This is especially true when dealing with  used RVs.

    Once you narrow down the RV test everything. All appliances, the slides, power jacks, fill the water tanks, empty them, and so on. If the sales place bawks at this then leave.

    Features I like:

    Power awning

    Bike Rack

    Black Tank Flush

    I have remote control slide, jacks, outside light, and awning. Haven’t used the remote in years.


    Finally check out my site http://www.loveyourrv.com/ and my videos on YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/user/LoveYourRV

    I have lots of info, you might  find my review of our trailer I did after using it 18 months full time helpful. Will give you some tips on what to look for. – http://www.loveyourrv.com/keystone-cougar-276rlswe-fifth-wheel-trailer-review/

    Cheers Ray 🙂


    You two are in exactly the same situation that we’re in. My wife’s a teacher too.  We bought a 1/2 ton GMC pickup and a new Cougar travel trailer and after a year we’re sold both and I’ve ordered a new GMC 3/4 diesel.  As for the RV, we’re in the process of shopping for a 5th wheel.  We’re probably going to end up with a 32 33′ 10,000 pounder.  I wished that we’d have gone this way to start with.

    If your looking at a used 5th wheel.  Ask if there’s an existing and transferrable warranty that might go with the unit.  Make sure that the unit is big enough for everything that you might ever want to do with it, so you don’t have to do what we did and eventually upgrade.

    I’m looking for auto-level and auto start LP generators as a must for our next RV.  I’m getting too old to be cranking on a little gas engine to get power to boondock.  With just about any new or used unit they’re going to have power sliders and awnings and your going to want this feature.

    I do think that a 5th wheel is the way to go, they’re much more maneuverable and also easier to tow.



    Another question to ask – is the manufacturer still in business.  Some trailer lines/manufacturers are discontinued so getting parts/repairs can be a headache.


    We don’t have a 5th wheel, ours is a Class C, but from what I’ve learned, read and know – be very honest with yourselves. How much room do you need to enjoy yourselves? What can you not live without? (That would be AC for me so a generator is a must!) What can you get later? We like the road so a C is great for us, but for not everyone. For some room to move around in the rig is more important. And take a lot of time going through the rigs you’re interested in. Ask anything and everything of the sales staff – even if the question sounds stupid , IT’S NOT. I also believe in sleeping on it, wait for excitement to settle and it (calmly) feels like the right choice! (And I’m the adventurous one in the family !) – Nancy

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