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Your Adventure is Out There

Posted on August 26, 2014 by Kim Fein

Flying on an airplane high above the countryside is a great way to travel. But the only problem is… you don’t get to see the countryside. Let’s make a change. But before going to purchase your boat, RV, motorhome, or motorcycle, make sure you are getting the most for your dollar.

The Basics

Whatever the vehicle is, buy practically for your needs. Bigger is not always better. Having a bigger motorhome or a motorcycle with a huge engine, does not always equate to more fun. Look at the odometer and manufacturing year to determine wear on the vehicle. Find something manageable with plenty of storage and the specifications you desire. Lastly, keep in mind that different states have different licensing laws for different vehicles, this is important to research beforehand.

Background Check

Always, we mean always, do a background check on the vehicle. Start with a service history request. Most dealers should have this on hand, but some private sellers may not. If the seller does not have this on hand then ask for the owner’s manual and factory toolkit. Checking to make sure everything is “stock”, or original, is imperative. A modified part might have been good for the DIY fanatic who owned the vehicle before you, but it could hurt the reliability and add extra maintenance costs in the future.

Signs of Neglect

A clean motor is a happy motor. When inspecting the engine or motor look for any signs of rust and corrosion. Boats especially are susceptible to motor and engine corrosion due to the constant contact with water. Another major issue that is frequently prevalent is dampness, or interior water damage. Dampness seriously reduces that value and safety of any RV, camper, or boat. So grab a damp meter and test before signing.  Motorcyclists should look for pitted chrome, frame misalignment, fluid stains, or paint chips.

These are expensive red flags. If the previous owner could not take care of the little problems, they probably did not give their best effort for the big issues. Cleanliness with well repaired, well maintained parts and accessories are signs of a responsible previous owner.

Test it out

This is a big investment, take the time to personally test out all the parts of your potential purchase to make sure it’s exactly what you want. Bring it in to someone you trust, a mechanic or friend, and have them inspect it as well. An extra eye might save you some cash later on. Take notes before and after the test drives of all of the vehicles in question to organize a thorough comparison to review later.

As you start to narrow down the right bike, boat, or motorhome for you and your family, keep in mind the additional costs of ownership: insurance, licensing, tax, etc. When it comes to financing, ask your credit union. Before haggling about price, talk to R.I.A. Federal Credit Union, get pre-approved for a loan, and have the upper hand before you meet your seller.

Go and enjoy your adventure!

Any more questions or comments about the adventures of buying a boat, motorhome, RV, or motorcycle? List them in the comment box.