Monthly Archives: April 2014

Determining How Much an RV is Worth

Determing Value of RVFair Market Value: Tips to help you determine how much an RV is worth if you’re thinking of buying or selling a new or used RV.

Whether you are in the market to buy a used RV or to trade in or sell the RV you already own, there are some research tips and tricks you need to know. You should have an RV appraisal performed on the one you are interested in buying to help determine its Fair Market Value, also known as the FMV, before you sign on the dotted line. Read on below for some tips on how to find this out, and how it can help you.

New RV Values

If you are considering buying a new RV, you will want to know the new RV FMV value before you make a decision. When it comes to determining an RV’s fair market value, it is easy to become confused because you don’t have the same information the dealer has. Without knowing how much the dealer paid for the RV, you have nothing to judge the Fair Market Value by. There are ways you can search to see what other consumers are paying for brand new RV’s, and this should help you to determine if you are indeed being charged a reasonable price. Remember, no RV is going to come cheap; however, you don’t want to be cheated by an RV dealer out to make a quick buck.

Determining Depreciation

If, as a buyer, you are trying to determine the depreciation of RV’s to determine how much you should pay for a new one, you can get a depreciation schedule online, or if you are good at math, you can calculate the figures manually. Our friends over at have provided some good information in this thread;

Just be sure you know what you are doing, so you don’t end up paying a lot more than you should have for your new RV.

Guesstimation Values

If you decide just to throw caution to the wind, and go out and find a new RV without determining the Fair Market Value, there are a few tips you can follow to help you guesstimate whether you are paying a fair price.

The dealer usually marks up MSRP’s; after all, they have to make their money, too. They mark up the price by about 40%, so you have some wiggle room to negotiate on price if you know this ahead of time. You need to be a good negotiator and not back down on what you think is a fair price.

Used RV Values

When you are thinking of selling your RV, the top thought in your mind should be what the RV is worth. The same thought should be running through your mind if you are looking to buy a used RV as well.

As a seller, you will need to look at the current market, statistics, and the condition of the RV you are trying to sell. The condition is the main thing. For example, you can get a lot more for an RV that still looks new than you can for an RV that is trashed and in need of work. You don’t want to set unrealistic goals for the price you want for your RV because you may end up being disappointed. You also need to check the blue book value for your RV. While it’s not the most dependable guide, at least it will give you an approximation and a starting point. The internet has also made it much easier to do some relatively quick comparisons. Sites like have a new/used sales section that provide a wealth of information to do some comparisons on what models are listing at what prices as well as providing some pretty good photos to get a visual on the shape of the camper.

There are a few factors to consider when you are trying to determine the value of a recreational vehicle, including the Airstream, which has maintained it’s popularity over the years. Some of these factors include:

  • The overall condition of the RV is important. You want to make sure all of the appliances work, the paint isn’t chipped, and whether it needs repairs before you can put it on the road.
  • Mileage is a very important consideration. You want to determine if it is above or below the mileage for the age of the RV.
  • What type of accessories the RV comes with will help you make a determination as well. From awnings to special mirrors, all of this will help you determine how much to either charge for your used RV, or how much to pay for it, if you are in the market to buy one.

Whether you are in the market for a new RV or a vintage Airstream, starting your search prepared will help ensure you get a fair price. If you are trading in an RV, be sure to clean it up and make any necessary repairs before you have it appraised. This will increase its value, giving you more money to put toward your purchase.

When RV Trips Go Wrong, They Can Go Really Wrong

The stories below have to be some of the worst RV trips I’ve ever read about. We’ve all had our “not so fun trips”, but every once in a while things can just turn on you.

Traveling the country in an RV can be a thrilling experience, but when things go wrong, they can really get out of hand very quickly. There is nothing quite like being stuck in an enclosed area for weeks or even months on end, and when things get tough, they can really test your mettle. I was reading some of my favorite blogs and forums and there were some pretty funny accounts of RV trips gone wrong. Here are a few of those tales of RV trips gone awry.

Raining Liquid Feces

A family went camping in Key West, hoping to enjoy the sights and sounds that this area has to offer. One day, they decided to empty out the tanks. Here is a snippet of Christy’s account, which is well worth the read for her personal flair in telling the story; “The black tank is the holding space for anything that goes down the toilet: y’know, the icky stuff. The gray tank holds all the water used for dishes, showers, etc … but instead of opening the BLACK tank valve to let it all out, he accidentally opened the GRAY tank. Not realizing his error, Foul sewer water pouring off the roof of Mayhem, down the sides, and cascading over the ground. Oh. Ehm. Gee. Is this for real?”

In order to empty out the tanks, it is important that you first open up the valve to the black tank and allow it to filter out before opening up the gray water tank. This will allow the water to rise out the sewer hose, as well as the tank itself.

On this day, instead of opening up the valve to the black tank, they opened up the valve to the gray tank and then allowed it to run while they disposed of their trash. The moment they walked back to the RV, they immediately noticed that sewer water was literally pouring off the RVs roof. The sewage had actually backed up into the air vents of the RV and it had then caused the waterfall to cascade down the sides of the vehicle.

While they were able to clean off most of the excrement from the exterior of the RV, they weren’t actually able to clean out the air vents, so the vehicle ended up smelling like sewage for the duration of the trip.

The “Boxed Plague”

Living in confined quarters means that illness spreads pretty quickly, and there are few places more uncomfortable than an RV when that happens. A family taking a fishing trip experienced this first hand when five adults and two children went camping about six hours from their home. Within two days, both the father and the son weren’t feeling well. The son recuperated in about 24 hours, but this wasn’t the case with the father. In a short space of time, it plagued the entire family. Mocamper over at explains;

“So, 7 days in a 31′ camper and 5 of those days 5 people were sick. Our kids left on Friday just to get away from it all once they got better. I had to extend our stay until Saturday just so my wife could travel back home.”

The family actually considered selling the camper once they had returned from the trip, but decided that they had had great times previously, so they didn’t want to lose that entirely.

Short Sewer Line

Another horror story involves a sewer line that was much too short. Explains the contributor of RV Adventuring;

“My sewer hose was stretched to the limit as I had not parked close enough to the hookup. When I pulled open the valve on the black water tank, the other end of the hose jumped out of the drain and spewed the contents all over the lawn.”

According to the contributor, this happened earlier enough in the morning that he had time to clean everything up without anyone seeing it. So, I guess there’s a bright side to an otherwise crappy day.

RVs might be exciting, but when things go wrong, they can really go wrong, but this only adds to the sense of adventure out on the open road.

Do you have any RV Nightmares you’d like to share? Post up below.

Knowing The Lifespan Of The Detectors In Your RV May Just Improve Your Own Lifespan

Knowing The Lifespan Of LP Gas, CO, And Smoke Detectors In Your RV

rv carbon monoxide detector

Just like the equipment that you keep at home to warn you of fires and gas leaks, the devices on board your RV have a lifespan, and once that period is over you could find yourself with some faulty hardware. One of the biggest problems campers and travelers face with the detectors in their recreational vehicles is that it’s so easy to go on with your trip and never once think about those monitors hanging around inside until one of them goes off, or worse, until one of them doesn’t go off in time and there’s damage to your unit or even worse to a passenger on board.

Unfortunately, this story is not all too uncommon. Recently, Knoxnews reported that a couple traveling were found dead inside their RV. “The preliminary investigation indicates that one of the propane gas stove burners inside the RV had been left on accidentally. Police said there was a strong odor of gas inside the RV.” You can read the full story hear.

This is a sobering reminder to all of us who enjoy the RV lifestyle to take a few extra minutes in order to safeguard yourself and your family against unnecessary accidents — always replace these devices when the time comes.

Safety On The Road

It’s important to focus on the safety of your recreational vehicle, not only while you’re on the road, but before you set off on a trip as well. Planning ahead to have extra batteries for all of the electronic detectors on your vehicle should be a top priority, and considered more important even than packing your toothbrush. Before setting off it’s a good idea to start up your RV and test that all of your devices are working properly and ready to inform you if there are any problems with gas, carbon monoxide, or smoke. Remember that unlike other vehicles, you and your family will be sleeping in this one, so treat the alarms as you would the ones in your home and keep them up to date and properly maintained at all times.

LP Gas Detector

Any RV that contains a gas appliance as well as an electric system requires a detector, and under requirements for UL 1484 the detector used must be registered as a suitable unit for a recreational vehicle, and properly installed. This is for the safety of yourself and anybody else who might be riding with you. This is because although the gas has a fairly noticeable scent, if you forget to turn it off and go to bed you’re not likely to smell it and it could be fatal to those in the RV. Your LP gas detector should be replaced every five years so that you know that it’s in proper working order and can alert you if gas levels become too high at any time. Be sure to place them near all of the input areas that the gas feeds into the RV.

Carbon Monoxide Detector

Retailing for anywhere between fifteen and one hundred dollars in the United States, a CO monitor provides you with a powerful alarm should your vehicle floor with carbon monoxide at any time. Odorless, tasteless, and invisible, this substance can sneak up on you if you aren’t careful, and is considered to be highly toxic. It attaches to the hemoglobin in your blood and is two hundred times stronger than oxygen, meaning that it won’t take very long to take effect. These devices as designed for RV use, come as 12V operated or battery powered and some models have a battery backup should the 12V cut out. Most devices are recognized as having a six year lifespan, and each model should have this printed on the unit itself or the paperwork that comes with it upon purchase. Similar to a smoke alarm, your CO detection unit should have a “test” button, which you should utilize before taking off on any highway adventures. Place your alarms near the ceiling, but don’t forget to place one near the floor, as carbon monoxide has a density very similar to that of oxygen, so it could just as easily be low in the vehicle rather than high the way that smoke invades a space.

Smoke Alarm

Smoke detectors are the most common alarms to have in any home or RV, and are just as important on the road as they are back at the house. Most manufacturers will label their devices with a date which you should have it replaced by, but the standard is usually seven to ten years. Some companies encourage users to change the unit every five years to be safe, because ten percent of the effectiveness of the detector is lost each year that it remains active. When you think about it, this means that after five years your smoke alarm is only running at 50% capacity, which isn’t very safe for anybody involved.

A good tip to use with any of the above detectors is to write on the back of the unit with a permanent marker, the date that you’re installing and turning it on for the first time, along with the date that it should be replaced, if that date isn’t already located on the machine. This allows you to quickly and efficiently look at and replace each model that’s past its best before date.



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