Sure, you have a wish list for your next motorized RV: Length, weight, manufacturer, bedroom configuration, kitchen style, glass shower or step-in tub. But, what are the RV features – from the smallest class B to a behemoth land yacht – that you shouldn’t leave the lot without?
Make sure what you need for your motorized RV is included in the final sticker price because adding critical features can add up big time after the purchase. The list of included features in a motor home can vary wildly from manufacturer to manufacturer and dealer to dealer, so compile your list of must-have features before making your final decision to purchase.
Put safety first when it comes to features on your new motorized RV. Look for an RV that offers an RV steering stabilizing system. A front-end steering stabilizing system for your motorcoach can help battle of the effects of high wind and help you pull over to the side of the road safely in the event of a tire blow-out. If you’re towing vehicle or trailer behind the unit, look for an included sway control system.
While relaxing in the living room of your Class A or Class C motorcoach, it may be easy for passengers – especially children – to forget you’re barreling down the highway at 55 mph. If you’re traveling with family, look for a coach that has enough – and properly installed – seatbelts for all your passengers. In 22 states, all passengers in an RV are required to use seatbelts and in 26 states minors must be buckled in. While most RVs will have belts in the dining area, forward facing seats are the safest for travel.
Slide-outs add invaluable living space to an RV – even a compact Class B – but without proper care they can add headaches and expense. Before you sign on the dotted line, look for an RV that includes awnings for your slide outs. Awnings keep trouble makers like moisture and leaves off the top of your RV and reduce exposure to the elements. If your travels take you to places where heat and sun are going to be beating on your motorized RV, look for a model that includes window awnings. Make sure all awnings, including the main awning, are enclosed in an aluminum or plastic carrier for safe travel.
Most motorized coaches will include some form of sun shade for the cockpit, but don’t assume. Make sure your new RV includes sunshades – for both the driver and passenger side. Sunshades are critical for keeping temperatures down and privacy up.
Know how you’re going to use your new motorized RV to determine how much storage space you will need. If quick weekends away are a big part of your plan, storage space may not be an issue. Look for lots of storage – inside and out – if long, multi-season trips or seasonal stays are your plan. Many features of an RV – awnings, batteries, window coverings – can be modified but it’s almost impossible to find more storage in an RV.
Be sure the unit you’re considering features an adequate heating and air conditioning system. Research to see how many BTU’s your prospective home on the road needs to keep your cool and comfortable. Replacing a too small unit will be much more expensive than paying for the right number of BTUs at purchase.
An automatic leveling system is a must-have feature before finalizing the purchase of your new RV. It’s essential for a parked RV to be level for safety, comfort and for systems to work properly. Without an automatic leveling system, the RV fun is on hold while the cumbersome and difficult task of leveling with blocks is completed. While most Class A motor homes are equipped with an automatic leveling system, it may not be standard on some Class C RVs.
If you plan on boondocking – or camping off the grid – for any length of time look for a unit that is solar ready. The best bank of batteries will only power your new rig for 12 to 24 hours before needing to be recharged. Solar power can extend the life of your batteries and – depending on your solar set up – keep your living quarters powered in remote locations. Some modern units come solar-panel equipped, a feature that should be considered for those seeking solitude off the beaten path.
Inspections and Service
Whether you’re buying new or used, a full, comprehensive inspection of your RV is an important feature to consider. While some dealers may charge an additional fee, others will include this as part of the purchase package. Also, ask if the dealer has a preferred customer program for repairs and service. Getting to the head of the line can be a valuable feature when it comes to getting back on the road with a minimum of delay.