Big purchases always come along with a great deal of stress and worry. This is especially true when looking to buy a vehicle that will also double as a home.
The number one thing potential purchasers want to know is how long will their new-found motorhome last them.
How long does a motorhome last?
Motorhomes typically last around 20 years or 200,000 miles, whichever comes first. However, they can last a lot longer than that when cared for properly.
Understanding the differences between the range of class vehicles may help to guide your shopping decision.
It is also important to consider the lifestyle you lead as well as how your motorhome will fit into your lifestyle before making the leap.
Here is everything you need to know about how to get the most out of your motorhome so that you can get your money’s worth when it comes to how long your rig will be on the road.
Class A, B & C Motorhomes May Last Differently
If you are just starting your journey to finding a new motorhome that fits into your life, you will need to be able to differentiate between the available classes of rigs.
This will also determine the type of license and insurance you will need. Here are the most common types of motorhomes to consider:
Class A Motorhomes
The class A type motorhomes are the most common among people who are looking to use their vehicle for cross-country travel. It should be noted that this is also to most expensive, but for good reason.
These types of motorhomes mostly resemble large buses that feature plenty of living and storage space. You may be surprised to know that even though these motorhomes can reach as long as 45 feet, there is no special license required to operate one.
While a class A vehicle will last you for up to 200,000 miles, one major downside is the type of gas that is required. This, along with will frequent repair costs as well as insurance, put class A motorhomes among the most expensive when it comes to upkeep.
Class B Motorhomes
Class B motorhomes are a much lighter option for travelers who don’t need or want a lot of space. Also, because these are a more compact type of motorhomes, cost of repairs as well as fuel will be much lower than class A motorhomes.
Travelers often prefer class B rigs because there are far easier to maneuver and steer around the country. However, it should be noted that this class of vehicle won’t be suitable for families larger than two. This is because the space is rather limited which helps to add to its compact and sleek design.
Class C Motorhomes
This classic style RV is most recognizable among the RV traveling community. This one stand-out feature of this style of a motorhome is that there is a separate driving compartment with the living space located in the rear. This is a great option for travelers who want more space at a lower price point.
While there still will be high repair costs as well as fuel, the overall cost of the motorhome will be far less than a class A. The price point along with the amount of space you can find in a Class C motorhome is what helps to make this style of motorhome most desirable among travelers.
2 Easy Ways To Protect Your Pipes & Appliances
It’s important to make sure the pipes and wired inside your RV doesn’t crack or get over-loaded.
The best way to ensure this is to use these two little instruments when you connect your RV to water and electricity.
1) Protect The RV From Power Surges
RVs are not built to withstand a power spike. That’s why you should always let the power run through this little device before it connects to the RV. It will protect your RV from voltage spikes.
2) Protect The RV From (Too) High Water Pressure
You also need to protect the water pipes inside your RV. You can do this by making sure you don’t allow too much pressure on the water that runs to the RV.
This is especially important as the RV gets older!
It is done very easily by inserting this little thing on the water source before it runs into your RV:
It’s a cheap solution and here’s the model we recommend.
How Quickly Do RVs Depreciate?
Another side of the story is how fast RVs depreciate.
This depends on a long list of factors and we have looked at a ton of data to get the best numbers for you.
Here a guide we did with data on exactly how much RVs depreciate year to year. It’s a long read but we have included the numbers at the top of the article so you quickly can see what to expect.
How Will Lifestyle Options Impact?
Before settling on which class of motorhome will suit you and your family best, you will need to consider your lifestyle.
This will also help to directly determine how long your beloved motorhome will last on the road. Here are some important factors to consider before taking your life on the road:
How Much Will You Travel?
The number one thing that should factor into your purchase is what type of travel you are planning on doing.
Light and occasional travel will mean that you won’t be raking up as many miles so your motorhome will be sustainable for a longer time on the road.
Hearty travelers who are planning on spending the majority of the year on the road can come to expect their motorhome to not last on the road for quite as long. This is especially true once you consider the 200,000-mile limit that most motorhomes come with.
How Many Occupants?
Not only will the number of people who are traveling with you impact your purchase decision, but will also add to maintenance costs as well.
The more weight you carry, the more you will be spending in fuel as well as the more wear will be happening to the suspension of your motorhome. This will also encourage your decision as to which size of RV you will be selecting. Larger families can comfortably reside in a Class A motorhome, while smaller families can get along just fine in a Class C motorhome.
People who are traveling alone or with one other passenger will be best suited for a Class B RV.
How Long Distances Will You Travel?
Not everyone who purchases a motorhome is looking to travel cross country with their family in tow.
Many travelers are just looking for a motorhome to park at the beach or their favorite campsite for the season. This will greatly impact the longevity of your motorhome.
However, it is still important to note that while you may not be filling out those 200,000-miles quickly, most motorhomes will only last up to 20 years.
Where will you travel?
If you will mainly be using your motorhome for going to the beach to surf your motorhome might be impacted by the salt water.
The salt in the air will impact the vehicle and make it rust faster. Salt is probably the number one factor to shorten the life of your vehicle. So if you want the metal and bodywork of the car to endure longer you might want to avoid parking directly on the beach.
Regular Maintenance Is Important
The biggest factor when it comes to the shelf life of your motorhome is how well you maintain your beloved RV.
Motorhomes need to be treated with a special amount of care in order to function properly. There are some of the regular maintenance orders that you should expect to frequently take care of with your motorhome:
- Oil change
- Fuel injections
- Tire rotation
- Brake pad change or replacement
- Engine cleaning
- Suspension check
- Fluid replacement
While these types of maintenances are nothing new for vehicle owners, updated services will be more frequent and costlier when it comes to RVs and motorhomes.
Also, regularly scheduled repairs will help to ensure that your motorhome will last for the full 200,00 miles.
A Few Things You Should Bring To Be Prepared
RV roofs will start leaking somewhere eventually.
It’s important to be prepared for that by having a patch or two with you.
These are rubber patches you can quickly apply on the roof of the RV in case it starts leaking. It takes no time to apply and you will be ready to move on in a matter of minutes.
We also recommend you insert a surge guard between the rig and the power outtake at campgrounds.
This is to make sure you won’t have voltage spikes coming into your systems. That can cause severe damage to your appliances or burn your whole system.
We recommend the surge guard from Progressive Industries. There’s a link to it at point #4 on our list here with recommended products.
How to get the most for your miles?
The lifespan of your motorhome will be directly reflected in the way you care for the vehicle. However, there are certain things you can do to help ensure that you are getting the most for your miles.
We have made a guide here with numbers on exactly how much mileage you should expect when towing a camper trailer.
Here are some ways that you can help your motorhome last as long as possible:
Always Plan Ahead
When routing your next adventure, keep in mind the miles that you will be putting on your motorhome. The more miles you travel in one period, the more stress you will put on your rig.
The best way to makes those miles count is too try to fit in as much adventure with as little travel as possible.
Do Regular Updates
Make sure that while planning your trip, you are considering the maintenance stops that you will need to make. Knowing the locations of certified motorhome specialists along the route can keep you from being left high and dry in the case of a breakdown.
Scheduling these necessary updates during your long trips will be vital to the lifespan of your motorhome.
Storage During The Winter Months
It is also imperative that you consider where your motorhome will rest when not in use.
This is especially true if you live somewhere that experiences all four seasons. Parking your RV with as little weather impact as possible will not only ensure that your motorhome will last longer but will also help to cut down on repair costs.
What Type of Terrain?
While with motorhomes, you shouldn’t feel limited when it comes to travel, the rougher terrain will lead to higher repair costs as well as higher fuel costs.
Parking your motorhome by the ocean will lead to some amazing sunsets, it will also mean that you will have to frequently wash your vehicle to avoid salt damage. The same thing can be said for off-roading style terrains.
Travel without Worries
While the 200,000-mile limit on your dream motorhome may seem daunting, do not let it discourage or limit you.
Motorhomes were designed to be on the road and are the perfect vessel for checking off those bucket list destinations you’ve been planning your whole life for.
It is important to note that the 20-year lifespan doesn’t have to be the end of the line for you and your travels. Plenty of motorhomes can extend this average limit with the right amount of care and maintenance.
You are in control when it comes to helping your RV last for as long as possible. It is also important to remember that everyone is different and the same thing can be said for their experiences.
What worked for one traveling family might not work for yours. Customizing the way you use and treat your motorhome will directly impact how long you can keep your RV rolling.
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Morten is the founder of GoDownsize. He has filmed and interviewed people living in tiny houses and RVs since 2011. He grew up on the coast where his dad took him boating from a young age. He has completely rebuilt two RVs in which he travels with his family for months at the time. Read more about Morten here.