6 Questions to Ask Before Upgrading Your RV

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April 11, 2023

RV upgrades — what you need to know

As soon as you buy an RV, you start looking for your next one — that’s the joke you’ll hear from some RVers. Because no matter how much you love your current rig, you can always find things you wish to improve. The same could be said of your home or daily driver: there’s always something better around the corner. But it raises a valid question. How do you know when it’s logically time to make an RV upgrade versus just wanting the next, newest thing? 

Perhaps you need a bigger unit, a different floorplan, or additional amenities. Maybe you want to change from one type of RV to another, from towing to motorized, say. For whatever reason, dreaming about an upgrade is a familiar process to most RVers. Here are some questions to consider when deciding whether or not now is the time to buy.

What are the benefits of upgrading?

When considering the pros and cons of your current RV, perhaps the cons outweigh the pros, and it has become harder to justify the problems with your rig. Are there things about your RV that bother you enough to make your travels frustrating or less fun? If so, it’s likely time for an upgrade or trade.

To start the process, list the features of your current rig that you like and want to find in your next unit. Don’t lose the good with the bad. Next, create a wish list and a must-have list you currently don’t have. This way, you separate want versus need and have specific goals in mind when shopping for your next rig. This awareness will prevent you from buying based on looks and frills and will help you get closer to the perfect rig. 

Upgrading can be an exciting prospect. There’s nothing like leaving a dealership with a shimmering new RV. But don’t make a purchase like this based on new and shiny. Identify the core reasons for the upgrade. 

Can you afford an upgrade?

Arguably, the most challenging question to ask when considering an upgrade is whether or not you can afford it. When running the numbers, consider whether your insurance, maintenance costs, and property taxes will increase significantly.

Use a loan calculator to give you an idea of the interest rate and monthly payment you should expect. 

Also, consider whether a more significant RV payment will leave you less money to spend on travel. If an RV upgrade will upend your budget, it may not be worth it. However, if you have a little extra money each month and you love spending time in your RV, that’s more reason to consider an upgrade. 

How will an RV upgrade affect your towing situation?

Courtesy of Camping World

Upgrading an RV can greatly affect your towing situation. A bigger travel trailer may require a bigger tow vehicle. Too often, owners push the limits of their current tow vehicle to travel with a larger rig. They justify this unmatched situation as a temporary fix, intending to buy a larger tow vehicle later. But the added strain on the tow vehicle towing an RV larger than its ideal capacity, even for a short time, can lead to damage, safety risks, and value deprecation. 

Use a tow calculator to ensure your tow vehicle can pull a larger RV sustainably. If not, you need to consider buying a larger tow vehicle. This will be a significant expense on top of the upgraded rig.

If switching from a tow-behind to a motorhome, you’ll need to consider whether or not you’ll want to pull a vehicle. Not all vehicles can be easily towed behind a motorhome, and there may be additional costs with setting up a towing rig for the motorhome. 

How will an upgrade affect your storage situation?

Before upgrading, consider whether your current storage situation can easily accommodate your new rig. Check your storage spot’s length, width, and height to ensure it can handle a different RV. If you store it elsewhere, that will likely be an additional expense.

Will an RV upgrade be more reliable?

You will likely face more-frequent troublesome repairs if you have an aging RV. Some people enjoy the process of identifying and fixing issues as they arise, but most want to avoid the hassle and price of significant repairs. If you are bothered by the cost or time involved in making repairs, it may be time for an upgrade. And it may save you money in the long run. A new rig could provide more peace of mind.

How much is your current RV worth? 

If you sell or trade in your current rig to purchase a new RV, its value could significantly drop the price of the new RV, especially if you get the most money for your current rig as possible. The RV market fluctuates, and the amount you can get for your RV won’t be static. So sell it when you can get the best possible value.

The Good Sam RV Valuator provides a real-time market appraisal of your current RV, accounting for specific features that will increase its value to buyers. You can also consign or trade in your RV with Good Sam. To learn more, check out our comprehensive guide to consider the many factors that determine your RV’s worth so you can know what buyers are looking for. 

Courtesy of Camping World

To upgrade or not to upgrade? It’s never an easy decision. But think critically about why you are upgrading, what you can afford, and make the best choice possible given the information you have. 


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