Things to check before you sign on the dotted line:
Google the RV dealer you plan to buy from before you do to find out their reputation before you buy. Some are well know in the RV circles for being places people (once they were treated a certain way post sale) would never buy at again.
Make sure you can both tow your rig’s weight (there are charts) but also that you can stop it with your brakes. Sometimes a RV’s brakes can fail and you want to have the power needed to be able to stop should that happen. Don’t trust the RV dealership to know or tell you the truth in such matters. The sales people are often just that and not necessarily experts and have an incentive (their commission) to tell you it will be alright.
Go up and check the roof. If they won't let you, don't buy it. Roofs are a major source of leaks and you should know that it in general looks okay before you buy. A leak in a RV can ruin the walls and lead to mold making the RV all but unsaleable later.
Check your tires (brand etc) and battery before you accept delivery. Know if you have good ones while you can still bicker with the dealership. They’ve been known to put dangerous tires on (meaning the brand) or not great batteries in as a way to save money.
Check the frig for recalls. There’s been a rash of frig fires and frig recalls lately. Do a quick search of the RV you want to buy and it’s frig make model serial number before you buy that RV. A fire in a RV spreads quickly (So quickly by the time firefighters comes its often too late to save it) and often means a loss of the whole RV. So, this is a big deal to check on.
Things to know before you take it on the road:
Know how tall your rig is. Pay attention to bridge signs. Many a truck and camper has had their ACs or roof ripped off on low bridges. There are RV GPS that you can put your height, length and weight into so as never to end up somewhere you can’t safely be. See my Bad Bridges page for videos of what can happen and a few of the locations I know about.
If you are towing something like a trailer with chains, know that the chains MUST be crossed, you must have two chains and the safety pin must be in. If they are not crossed the whole thing can come off if you hit a bump. There are laws about it and you can get a ticket but more importantly you can loose your trailer down the road and/or kill someone if you don’t. Watch this video if you need convincing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCDt4tjxp-E
Good to know these exist:
I wrote a long blog post on all the must haves for a new RV, check it out here to see the list and my reasoning behind each item.
There is no regular gas at truck stops back where the truckers go. This is exactly why I started documenting the gas stations we went to that were easy to get in and out of. We don't leave on a trip without first plotting out which gas stations we plan on stopping a.
You can save on gas by using the app GetUpside It offers up to .25 cents back per gallon. My code Olivia8775 will get you an extra .15 cents back. For us were averaging about $5 back per fill up.
Knowing you are not alone:
There are FaceBook groups for newbie RVers that can booth answer your questions on the fly and offer assistance if you get into trouble. Being on them and reading what others are posting can be an education in itself.
We are a friendly bunch in general. If you have a question most people at any RV park will be happy to chat with you about how they do this or that. Many people do things differently but finding out the ins and outs of why they do this or that can arm you for a better journey.