3 Things to Know Before Buying an RV

August 3, 2022 by Chevron Federal Credit Union

As all forms of travel returned this year, more of us are ready to hit the road this summer. Nearly 80% of Americans plan some sort of road trip this summer vs. 50% who intend to fly. And to get them where they really want to be, more road-trippers are in the market for a recreational vehicle (RV) to take them there.

The proof? The RV boom continues to roll across America in 2022, as a new survey by the RV Industry Association (RVIA) shows that 65 million people plan to take an RV trip during the next 12 months. What are today’s top three motivations? A big interest in exploring the great outdoors, a desire to travel with children and family members and the flexibility to work or attend school remotely, the report found.

Could you be a prospective RV buyer now or in the near future? Check out these three tips for the information you need to make a smart financial decision.

Match your needs and wants

Generally, there are two broad categories of RVs: motorized and towable. And within them, there are different classes, which correspond to size, interior space and amenities. What’s more, manufacturers design RVs to fit into different consumer segments beyond that. To narrow your choices, consider exactly how you plan to use it most often and how much you’re willing to spend. For example:

  • Are you a road tripper, destination traveler or seasonal camper? The best RV for taking extended excursions won’t necessarily be the same as the best RV for weekend trips. People who intend to buy an RV plan to use it for a median of 25 days per year. So, consider which features are must-haves for your plans (heat/AC, ample seating, built-in cooktop or wet bath?) and which gadgets aren’t (walk-in shower, power awning, satellite system or sound bar)?
  • What budget range are you eyeing? Price points for new and used RV models can range widely from $10,000 to $300,000. Another consideration is the amount of funds available upfront — the average down payment for RV purchases is 18.2%, according to RVIA’s latest nationwide survey of financial institutions’ RV lending. That said, RVIA studies estimate that some RV models may allow a family of four to save up to 64% over other forms of travel (like air or car) and types of traditional vacations (like hotels or summer rental homes). That estimate depends, of course, on many variables and their cost.

Decide on new or pre-owned

A new RV will naturally have the most updated features and no mileage, while a used RV will boast a lower price but will have use and mileage from a previous owner. To explore current market values and specs of both new and pre-owned options, check NADA RV Guides as you shop around, to judge whether the pricing trends you see are fair.

Know the facts about RV financing

RV loan rates are often higher than conventional vehicle rates, and they also tend to have longer terms. And when you consider that RVIA data shows the average amount financed by households purchasing new and used RVs is $45,869 and $49,036, respectively, any competitive rate savings that you can capture returns measurable savings to your budget — whether it’s lower monthly payments or a shorter loan term.

Catering to happy campers everywhere

Whether this is your first step toward becoming an RVer or you’ve already had some experience, your reasons to buy now could include everything from better family bonding to more affordable adventures. Put yourself in the driver’s seat with Chevron Federal Credit Union’s competitive rates and flexible terms on loans for new and used RVs, campers, trailers and even van conversions. And don’t forget: If your idea of summer fun includes water-based excursions, we offer boat and personal watercraft financing to fit any budget, too.


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