If you’re wondering, “Should I buy an RV?” then we have a truth bomb for you. There are good reasons not to buy an RV.
You may wonder why a company that sells RVs would want to discourage potential customers. Unlike other RV companies, we won’t hide the ugly truths about RVing just to convince you to buy an RV. Our goal is to give you the whole truth so you can find the right RV or even no RV at all – if that’s what’s best for you.
Here we’ll share 11 reasons not to buy an RV. With this information you can feel confident when you decide if buying an RV is the best way to get you out into nature making lifelong memories with the people you love.
Table of Contents
1- RVs are Expensive to Buy and Own
COST TO BUY AN RV
The initial price tag for an RV can be hefty. A used RV costs anywhere from $1,000 to more than $700,000. A new RV costs from $14,000 to more than $800,000.
Whether or not the upfront cost of an RV is worth it to you will depend how you use the RV. Rather than pay for plane tickets, rental cars, and hotel rooms, many RVers use their RVs for years of vacations and family time. When you consider rising travel costs (hotel costs alone have more than doubled in the last year) the upfront RV price may be comparable or less.
If an RV is a better choice for your travels, keep in mind that around 70% of RVers finance their RV purchase with a loan to distribute the upfront cost out over time. RV dealerships can help you find a loan or you can work independently with a bank.
If you decide buying an RV is right for you, and financing your purchasing is the right decision, read this guide to make sure you’re getting the best deal on your RV loan.
COST OF OWNING AN RV
The cost of an RV is more than just the upfront price tag or monthly payment. You will need to budget extra for accessories, insurance, and upkeep. You may also have to spend money for service charges when the RV has problems, if your RV is not covered by a warranty.
Fuel is also another cost you’ll want to have in mind.
Towable RVs decrease your fuel economy, so expect regular trips to the gas station.
As for motorized RVs – as RVers say, don’t ask how many miles per gallon you’ll get, ask how many gallons per mile you should expect. While this is a bit tongue in cheek, you can definitely expect to spend some extra dough to keep gas in your tanks.
The average fuel economy for a motorized RV is around 10 miles per gallon, which is much lower than the average fuel economy for a car.
If you’re towing an RV, the actual impact on your MPG will vary based on the weight and size of what you’re towing and the vehicle you’re towing with.
Read more about the costs of owning an RV so you can be prepared for any extra expenses.
2- Don’t Buy an RV if You Don’t Know When or How You’ll Use It
It won’t come as a surprise to you when I say that life is busy. Not everyone has free weekends or days they can use to get away into nature. If this is you, then buying an RV may not be the best way to spend your hard-earned income.
Even if you do have time to get away, you may not prioritize spending your time out away from the hustle and bustle of regular life. And that’s okay!
We understand that everyone uses their time differently. But, again, if you aren’t someone who will use your time to RV, you may want to reconsider RVing or work with an RV Outfitter who can help you find the best RV for your lifestyle, so you get an RV you can’t wait to use and spend time in.
Like someone who buys new running shoes thinking it’ll get them out running, sometimes RV buyers think that an RV will give them more motivation to get out camping.
This can be true, but only if you’ve thought it through. Using an RV takes time and planning. Here are some questions to consider about how you’d use your RV to make sure you have a plan to get camping so you don’t buy an RV you won’t use.
1- Where will you camp?
- Are there hook ups (water, sewer, power)?
- Will you need reservations, if so, how far in advance?
- Some campgrounds are first come first serve. Will you camp only on weekends, and will those campgrounds be full on busy weekends?
2- How much vacation time can you use for RVing?
3- Do you enjoy camping/the RV lifestyle?
- Consider factors like long driving distances, staying in RV parks or campgrounds, and tight living quarters.
4- What kind of effort can you dedicate to using the RV? Consider:
- Loading and unloading the RV every time you use it, or being willing to outfit the RV to use like a cabin.
- Will you store the RV elsewhere? How much time will it take to get to the RV when you want to use it.
- RV setup at the campground. Will you enjoy the process or find it overly stressful?
- Do you feel comfortable driving the RV or truck with trailer?
3- RVs Usually Depreciate in Value
We want you to go into your RV purchase with your eyes fully open. You need to know that your RV will depreciate.
An RV may even lose 20-30% of its value in the first year. If you’re looking at an RV as an investment that will hold or increase in monetary value – an RV is not for you.
An RV may be an investment, but it’s not usually* an investment for financial gain. Instead, buying an RV is more commonly an investment in making memories, spending time with loved ones, and having freedom and options for getting away.
If you can afford the depreciation and value the opportunities an RV provides more than the financial value of the RV, then an RV could very well be right for you.
Carefully consider how you think about the money spent toward your RV before you make the decision to buy.
*During the pandemic between 2020-2022, high demand for RVs meant some RV owners could sell their used camper for more than they purchased.
4- RVs Need Repairs
It’s not a matter of if your RV has service issues, it’s when. RVs are full of thousands of large and small parts, all of which could break or malfunction at some point.
RV manufacturers are always looking to improve the building and inspection processes, but an RV goes through extreme conditions on the regular – high speeds, rough roads, wear and tear from use. All of this combined means an RV will need repairs eventually.
Unfortunately, getting your RV serviced can be messy. With high demands for service, repairs can be expensive or take a long time. Put plainly, the whole process isn’t always what we’d like it to be and can often feel rather painful to RVers.
Shooting you straight – you can plan on 10-15% of your vacations being disrupted or maybe even cancelled because your RV is not working properly.
Many RV sellers are working to improve their service departments to better meet your service needs.
Here at Bish’s we’re testing new systems that get and keep you on the road. Learn all about Bish Fix, the free service program available for all Go Play RV owners, and how it’s helping RVers stay on the road and out of service centers.
5- RVs Can Be Difficult to Drive & Park
PROBLEMS TOWING & DRIVING AN RV
RVs come in various sizes, from small camper vans to large motorhomes. Regardless of the size, maneuvering these beasts can be a nerve-wracking experience, particularly for first-time RV owners.
The increased length, height, and weight compared to a regular vehicle require cautious driving and a sharp eye on low bridges, narrow roads, and tight parking spaces.
If towing or driving an RV is a concern for you, but you still think RVing is right for you, you may want to start out with something smaller. Consider a teardrop, small travel trailer or a Class B RV to ease into maneuvering an RV.
PROBLEMS PARKING YOUR RV
Parking an RV can also be tough.
Many popular tourist destinations and cities lack RV-friendly parking options, forcing you to search for alternatives. Even finding available campsites, especially during peak seasons, can be a real headache.
Limited space, booking restrictions, and the need for advance planning may dampen your spontaneous travel spirit.
While the learning curve can be intimidating, many people learn to safely tow or drive an RV. Consider test-driving or renting an RV to practice and decide if RVing is right for you.
Fortunately, technology is improving the ability to find somewhere to park your RV. Sites like Campspot, GoRVing, and Arvie can help you find and book campsites wherever you are – relieving this RV burden.
Not sure what you’re ready to tow? Learn about the pros and cons of towing a Fifth Wheel vs Travel Trailer.
Find out how much you can realistically tow:
6- RVs Require Regular Maintenance
Taking good care of your RV can extend its lifespan and keep you out of service centers. You’ll need to keep up with things like oil changes, tire rotations, and fluid checks.
Each year you’ll also need to winterize your RV when you put it away for the winter and dewinterize it when you’re ready to camp again.
Having a technician winterize your RV will cost between $85 and $150 a year. Dewinterization costs from $75 – $200 a year, but is easily done on your own for free.
Learn more about the costs of winterization and dewinterization.
If you purchase your RV from Bish’s, we’ll take care of winterization – for free.
Buying an RV from Bish’s makes you part of our Diamond Club which includes free annual winterizations for as long as you own the RV.
If you’re not intimidated by the time, money and effort required to maintain an RV or you want to have Bish’s take care of it for you – then you may be ready for RV ownership.
7- Owning An RV Can be Physically Demanding
Hitching up or maintaining an RV can be physically demanding. If you, or your RV companion(s) are not physically able to meet these demands, RV ownership could be more frustration than it’s worth.
Even a basic cleaning of your RV can get your shoulders aching! Be aware of the physical demands of an RV and what you’re able to do before you commit to a purchase of this size.
8- Camp Neighbors Can be Difficult and Campgrounds Can be Crowded
If your mental image of RVing includes secluded, picturesque campsites, you may be in for a surprise. Turns out, all sorts of people camp. Including people with varying levels of consideration and respect.
Boondocking can provide more privacy and seclusion. An RV outfitter can help you find an RV more suitable for boondocking if that’s your preference.
If you’re willing to risk meeting a campsite enemy or two, RVing and RV campsites can also be a great way to meet people with similar interests. You can even make new, lifelong friends.
Is it worth the risk? You decide. (But we think it is.)
9- RV Storage is Expensive and/or Inconvenient
Once you’ve purchased an RV, you’ll have to find somewhere to keep it while you’re not using it.
If you have a lot of property this may not be a big issue. If you’re like most people, however, you’ll need to pay to park it somewhere.
On average, it costs between $50 to $500 per month to store a camper. The more options and features a storage facility has, the more expensive it will likely be.
It may also be difficult to find storage near you depending where you live. Check online to find storage options before you buy your RV. You may also want to consider peer-to-peer storage options like Neighbor.
Learn more about the costs of RV storage.
10- The Great Outdoors Lacks Reliable Internet Access
Raise your hand if you’re one of the many taking a remote job to increase your flexibility.
Remote work means more travel options and workcations all over the world. Only one hiccup.
If your plan is to buy an RV so you can travel to super remote locations, but you still need to work, you may want to reconsider. RV internet is improving. Starlink is one option with promising results in remote locations. You can check out the availability map to see if it’s a good option for you.
If you’re planning your workcations with internet in mind, check out your options before you travel. If it can work, RVing may be a great way to give you the lifestyle you could have only dreamed of before.
11- You Want to Camp in a Tent
Finally, one last reason RVing isn’t for you – you love the rugged experience of camping in a tent.
We get it, camping in an RV may not be the outdoor experience that’s right for everybody.
For many, however, RVing means you can get out into nature when you want and when the weather is good. Then the RV provides a safe, comfortable place to rest (and use the bathroom!) when needed.
What to do if an RV IS Right for You?
RVs can be a great way to travel and see the country. But, no, an RV is not right for everyone. This is why it’s important to do your research to weigh the pros and cons carefully.
At Bish’s we’re on a mission to create a new kind of RV buying experience – a fully transparent one. We believe you deserve to know all there is to know about owning an RV, both the good and the bad, so you can do whatever is best for you. Even if that means not buying an RV.
If you still feel that owning an RV is the right way for you to enjoy unparalleled flexibility to travel at your own pace, create cherished memories, and enjoy nature – we’d love to help you find your dream RV.
Connect with an RV expert at Bish’s RV today to find your RV.
Look into all the options when you buy your RV. If you’re considering buying from Bish’s RV, learn more about our no hidden fees, 72 hour return guarantee, and Diamond Club perks to find out if we’re the right dealer for you.
Find the Right RV For You:
- Check out America’s best-selling Class B Camper Vans, Travel Trailers, and Fifth Wheel RVs for more help choosing your dream RV.
- Buying your first RV can be intimidating. Learn the 8 things Josh the RV Nerd thinks you need to know before you buy your 1st RV.
- Not sure where to buy an RV? Here are RVers favorite RV dealers by state.
Bish’s RV Content Writer & Editor
Thinks nature is great. Thinks it’s greater with a comfortable bed and working bathroom.