RV living fascinates everyone who looks at a luxurious motorhome. You would have thought of buying an RV for you at some point. But do you know it’s not always as exciting as it seems?
While there are many advantages, owning an RV has its demerits too. Oh, you never thought about that, well not to worry. I have formulated a list of 15 reasons why RVs are a bad investment.
Go through these reasons and find out if you still want to invest in those large recreational vehicles and roam the world.
Why RV’s Are a Bad Investment – 15 Reasons
RVing is fun, but several factors are hinting at owning an RV is a bad investment. Let’s dig in.
1. RVs are Expensive
There is a tremendous addition in the number of RV enthusiasts in the last couple of years.
Almost everyone is buying or planning to buy a motorhome, a fifth wheel, or a camper trailer even though these are insanely expensive.
Do you know motorhome prices start from $40k and may reach up to $3M? And these are just the basic estimates without any bells or whistles. Customize your RV, and your bill would skyrocket.
On the other hand, camper trailers, fifth wheels, and pop-up campers are relatively more economical options. They start at around $10k and may top up to $60k.
And the fun part is, these are just the initial payments you make. A series of expenses and costs would follow up throughout the time you use your RV.
2. RVs are Gas Devourers
One of the significant expenditures that follow is gas. RVs are gas guzzlers. Class A motorhomes give your around 8 to 14 mpg, while class B or class C may offer 12 to 22 mpg.
Camper trailers are relatively better in fuel efficiency, but they aren’t cheap either. Pulling a massive fifth wheel or a trailer reduces the tow truck’s fuel economy by 20 to 50%.
Let’s try to get an idea if your recreational vehicle gives you ten mpg, a round trip of five hundred miles would cost you around $150 to $175 for gas only.
Imagine taking a 2000 miles trip across the country in your RV, and it’s no less than $500 to $600 for one way only. Making an asset is easy, maintaining it and the frills that come with it is often harder.
3. RV Accessories
If investing in an RV tempts you, considering it to be an economical option. Think again.
RV living is in no way frugal. If you live in a compact space, you cannot expect all the basic accessories included in their original shapes and sizes.
Thus, you must invest in accessories specific to RV living, for example, a tiny microwave, foldable accessories, stackable utensils, a washer, furniture to fit and sheets to fit the mattress, and much more.
Do you know, there are tissue papers specific to RV usage? As regular tissue rolls take a lot more time and effort to dissolve.
Similarly, while you camp, you need camping gear, grilling, and barbeque equipment, lounge chairs, etc.
Other important things to consider are generators, accessories compatible with hookups like hoses, filters, connectors, cords, adapters, leveling blocks, etc.
4. RV Services
Now that you end up buying an RV, there are several expenditures that no one told you about. For example, you have to pay for parking, hookups, and road assistance.
Some places offer free parking for RVs, but most of the time, there are no hookups available. To avail the hook up like electricity, water, sewage, and more, you can be a member of several RV clubs and book your slot at the campgrounds.
As for road assistance, you can buy subscriptions of several economic road assistance plans that offer numerous benefits such as unlimited towing facility, repair costs, etc.
Do you know, in case of a breakdown, towing your recreational vehicle to the nearest facility may cost you up to $1000? Moreover, you can’t say if you can get any help in a secluded area, you chose to camp for peacefulness unless you have a backup plan in the form of a road assistance subscription.
You may find this detailed article on ten best RV road assistance plans helpful if you wish to avail one.
5. Another Insurance Bill
Investing in an RV requires another insurance bill. If you want to stay street legal, it’s the pill you must take. Get your motorhome insured, which means around $1000 to $2000 a year. The bigger and more expensive the recreational vehicle, the bigger the bill.
Several factors affecting the rate may include your driving history, coverage of your personal belongings, roadside assistance, and lastly, your intended usage. Whether you want to use your RV for occasional trips or you, plan to switch to full-time RV living.
6. Expensive Maintenance
You need to maintain your RV regularly. Any place you live requires regular upkeep, so everything stays in shape and the right working condition. Now RV maintenance is not cheap.
After all your recreational vehicle is exposed to severe weather, the wear and tear caused by it and constant move on the road requires maintenance.
You encounter maintenance requirements with every vehicle you own, such as tire change, oil change, battery upkeep, keeping the brakes entirely operational, and much more.
Then there are maintenance requirements specific to RVs. Such as broken generators, slide motors, awnings, windows, furniture or accessories, and much more. All of these are expensive
7. Depreciation Value
It’s common knowledge that every vehicle you purchase depreciates. Well, RVs depreciate a lot. When you buy a recreational vehicle and hit the road, your motorhome loses 25 percent of its value. Furthermore, the expenses that follow, especially the first year of getting your brand new RV, are another.
The exciting part here is how your dealer may try to convince you, so you consider RV as a replacement for your house. Well, RVs do give a homey feel, but a house appreciates over time while RVs depreciate.
You can’t even expect to get half the basic price of what you paid in some cases, not to mention the additional accessories and customization expenditure.
You can think about investing in a used RV, as it is more preferable. This way, you get to pay almost half the price while several adjustments and fixtures are made by the previous owner to make it work.
8. Used Vehicles May Have Hidden Issues
Everyone, including me, suggests you invest in a used motorhome as it is more affordable. But used RVs lead to another significant disadvantage as well.
There may be several underlying issues with the RV you are interested in, for instance:
- The wiring could be brittle, fragile, or almost damaged.
- There could be a vibration that may lead from one issue to another.
- The gray and black water tanks could be damaged.
You cannot see and check everything yourself, especially the wiring. I would recommend you to hire a trusted mechanic to inspect the vehicle and get the best possible advice. Take a ride, so you know if there is any vibration or any other underlying issue.
While on one side, buying a brand new RV is extremely expensive and has its issues. Investing in a used RV, on the other hand, poses several other risks. You may think of investing in its renovation and repair, but keep in mind, it becomes harder to find spare parts of ancient models.
If you find a used RV at a very less price, don’t fall for it. It may have numerous issues that you can’t detect. Never ignore the red flags.
I do recommend investing in a used RV. However, there is no reason for anybody to buy such an old rig that is sure to have severe and costly problems.
9. Must be a Good Driver
It’s a crucial point to add to this list. RV is a good investment for you only if you are a good driver, or you have someone who is a good driver.
Driving an RV is nothing like driving a regular car or truck. It requires special skills and in-depth knowledge of handling such massive vehicles.
Driving skills for an RV are especially demanding when you need to park in a relatively congested space. Parking a fifth wheel or a camper trailer is even more difficult.
While you reverse, you must use mirrors and the equipment designed for this purpose. You cannot rely on your intuition or guesswork – like looking over your shoulder.
Reversing a camper trailer is even more challenging, as the rig moves in the opposite direction of your towing vehicle.
Another crucial aspect is driving on a downhill slope. You must learn to drive without hitting your brakes consistently on such roads, as no matter what you do, your RV won’t stop if you mismanage your brakes at a downhill slope.
10. Limitation (Urban Exploration)
While traveling on RVs, you can explore numerous beautiful places all over the country. However, RV isn’t a perfect choice for urban exploration.
You cannot move around the city in your heavy vehicle. Some cities have restrictions on big vehicles to enter specific areas, while others may be very crowded to let you RV in.
In such situations, you can either choose to stay on the outskirts or hire a city car to move around the city comfortably. Just park your motorhome at a shopping mall’s parking area or any other place with ample parking space. Don’t leave your RV unattended at a secluded home to avoid any unfortunate scenario.
11. Overnight Parking Limitations
Overnight RV parking is a huge factor to consider. You cannot park your RV overnight without local authorities’ permission. Unless it is a place designed for RVers to stay overnight like campgrounds etc. however, staying overnight at campgrounds requires payments.
Some places offer free overnight parking facilities for RVs in their parking lots as well. Some examples are Wall-Mart, Costco, Cabela’s, Cracker Barrel, and many others. However, you must call the manager of the place you intend to park overnight beforehand to avoid any confusion of hassle at a later stage.
Sometimes the permission is on the company’s manager’s discretion while other times, it is due to the state orders. Several states do not allow overnight RV parking due to security issues. For example, Wal-Mart allows overnight parking in some of its outlets and doesn’t permit it in others.
Several apps assist the growing number of RVers if they are looking for an overnight RV parking facility.
12. You Can’t Escape Housework
There is no escape from house chores in a motorhome, well, because it’s still “home.”
Being on the recreational vehicle won’t exempt you from house chores.
You still have to do the dishes yourself—Cook food for yourself and your family. Keep everything in its right place.
When there is limited space, even a smaller mess makes a considerable impact. Everyone moving inside the RV with dirty shoes after a trip from outside makes you mad. But you need to clean and mop, so everything is in order.
How about doing the laundry? You cannot leave all the dirty laundry to pile up when there is constant movement in and out of the RV. Washing the load in that tiny washing machine, then drying it and storing it in that minimal space requires some patience.
If you like getting clean linen and cooked food like in a hotel while traveling, RV living is not for you.
13. Storage and Parking Issues
RV storage is an essential factor to deal with. You do not spend thousands of dollars only to get your RV damaged while staying idle. If you intend on full-time RV living, you may skip this part, but it is a matter of concern for you if you plan on occasional trips.
You cannot park your RV in your driveway as it’s not allowed by the authorities. Or a neighbor might report you on parking your RV in your driveway, considering it to be an eyesore. You need to have a massive garage to store your vehicle safely, or you must look for a storage facility near your vicinity.
There are several types of storage areas. Some offer concrete ground and a shed, but the RV is not fully covered, thus exposed to the severe weather conditions and rodent attack.
Check out these cool tips to rodent proof your camper.
On the other hand, some facilities do offer fully covered storage spaces for RVs. However, these facilities are comparatively more expensive.
Yet another critical reason why RVs are a bad investment, there is no time when you are not spending on your recreational vehicle, even when you are at your home while your RV is parked.
14. Nature Can be Unpredictable.
Although RV is generally safe to use, extreme weather conditions may become a point of concern sometimes. After all, it’s still a vehicle. You cannot expect it to be safe from tornadoes, wind storms, or severe snowstorms.
Your awnings, outdoor furniture, and other such stuff are vulnerable to be tossed around if strong wind hits. Any flying object can hit your vehicle and damage the exterior. Here are few tips to stay safe in such unpredictable situations.
Firstly, I would recommend you to always stay updated with the weather in the areas you plan to visit.
Secondly, always have a list of places where you might find shelter in extreme weather conditions.
Lastly, I would strongly suggest you keep a weather radio with you all the time, so you can call for help even if your phone’s battery dies.
15. Sewage Issues
Everything fascinates about RV living, but when you get to experience it, you may not find it as appealing afterward. One of the reasons that may cause such a change of mind is sewage in RVs.
There are two types of tanks that hold water. These are the black water tank and gray water tank.
For a gray water tank, you have to be very careful while consuming the water, so it lasts until you reach your next destination. This tank holds water for kitchen usage.
The black water tank holds water coming from the toilet. The reservoir can usually last for about a week’s usage of two persons. That means you have to stop by a dump station pretty frequently.
You must keep the tank in better condition by flushing frequently, using RV specific toilet cleaners and toilet papers as it helps the toxins to break down quickly.
Adopting the RV lifestyle is a huge leap. You may not be ready for what’s coming your way.
Don’t rely on hearsay; take the right amount of time, research thoroughly, and decide. Investing in an RV could be a bad investment, especially if you believe it’s an economical and frugal lifestyle.
These are some practical reasons showing why RV is a bad investment for someone who doesn’t know a thing, or who hasn’t conducted thorough research. However, you are free to weigh your options, think thoroughly, and choose wisely, as it is a massive investment.