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Old 06-17-2019, 07:54 PM   #1
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Default What's the most cost-effective number of years to keep your RV?

Now... I'm thinking that keeping your RV for 12 to 15 years is the best way to get all the value from the huge investment of money for your unit and drive as many miles as you can...

Why? It would be like buying a nice dress suit for a occasion and wearing it once or twice? That would be expensive too....

So...it stands to reason that the more miles you actually use your rig... the more enjoyment you get and isn't that why you purchased it in the first place?

Sure, there might be more repairs and maintenance, but, the cost of replacement, taxes, maybe financing ? Not everyone can pay cash....do you finance over 10, 15 or 20 years????

You can't take it with you...so, why not?

When the old RV gets too old or your tired of it? Again, still probably less expensive to repair what you have... assuming it's working for you???

So far so good on mine... but, I have had repairs and maintenance..... maintenance will always be there even on a new vehicle.

What do you think???
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Old 06-18-2019, 03:31 AM   #2
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An interesting question with as many answers as there are people who will reply.

I JUST sold my 24 year old Coachmen after owning it four of those twenty-four years and putting 40k miles on it. I made enough on the sale to more than pay for what I had into the Coachmen, buy my Airstream Interstate and put a few thousand in the bank as well. I'll drive it four or five years and find something different.

I look at this as a zero-sum game. If I can resell the coach for as much or more than I have in it and drive it forty or fifty thousand miles in the interim, I've made out just fine with my only cost of ownership being consumables and maintenance.

It's the depreciation that kills your finances.
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Old 06-18-2019, 04:39 AM   #3
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Default Maybe this works better if you buy an older RV?

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An interesting question with as many answers as there are people who will reply.

I JUST sold my 24 year old Coachmen after owning it four of those twenty-four years and putting 40k miles on it. I made enough on the sale to more than pay for what I had into the Coachmen, buy my Airstream Interstate and put a few thousand in the bank as well. I'll drive it four or five years and find something different.

I look at this as a zero-sum game. If I can resell the coach for as much or more than I have in it and drive it forty or fifty thousand miles in the interim, I've made out just fine with my only cost of ownership being consumables and maintenance.

It's the depreciation that kills your finances.
YES, depreciation schedule is really a big issue. ...
On the other hand, people like newer coaches with more updated safety features......

I purchased my 2012 RS Adventurous five years old in 2017...at least the most severe depreciation schedule had already passed. Still, it does continue to age and decrease in value whether you use it or not.
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Old 06-18-2019, 12:57 PM   #4
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On the other hand, people like newer coaches with more updated safety features......
I don't believe I've ever bought a car, truck, or pickup based on improved and/or updated safety features. I drove Jeep CJs for years. My purchase decisions are solely driven by finance considerations. That said, your thread is entitled "What's the most cost-effective number of years to keep your RV?" which is what I was responding to.

Buying a later model because of the advertising claims of manufacturers touting their new widgets is a completely different issue. And those widgets add cost to the purchase, complexity in operation, and sometimes exhorbitant expense, time, and frustration in repairs... few of which I'm capable of accomplishing DIY, and all of which keep me back in the early 2000's units that were still relatively simple with straight-forward systems (at least compared to the units produced since 2010 or so.)

Quite honestly, I don't know what I'll do after the '04 Interstate. It may be my last B-Van. Out-of-warranty repairs on the current crop of B-Vans will be nigh-impossible to do as the technology obsoletes and becomes unavailable, and will be (and actually already are) exhorbitantly expensive compared to the older generation of vans. And the system failures seem to be happening at higher rates as the complexity of the systems increase.
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Old 06-18-2019, 01:06 PM   #5
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I think that the number of years is going to be influenced a lot by what chassis it is on. The simpler units and ones with exemplary reliability records are not going to turn into money pits as quickly as the higher maintenance and part cost vehicles. The availability of aftermarket and used parts can be mean a huge difference in if you can afford to drive any particular older vehicle.


Once the warranties run out, all the costs get much more important to most of us.
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Old 06-18-2019, 01:22 PM   #6
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the system failures seem to be happening at higher rates as the complexity of the systems increase.
I actually don't think that this is generally true. Overall, vehicles are more reliable than ever before. The complex technology actually contributes to reliability, via prognostics, automatic recalibration during wear-in, etc. Automotive electronics themselves are generally quite reliable.

The problem is that there are highly-significant and highly-salient exceptions due to immature technologies and ham-handed engineering. In our little corner of the world, Sprinter diesel emissions systems are the obvious example. This is an egregious example, and significant enough in the B-van world so as to distort our collective perception.
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Old 06-18-2019, 01:39 PM   #7
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That’s a hard question, really. From a purely cost perspective (as the thread title suggests), the cheapest unit is the one you buy older- like 15 years older- and drive into the ground. Repairs will be part of the cost, but even a major drivetrain replacement doesn’t approach the first few years’ depreciation.

But doing that requires a certain level of mechanical aptitude and tolerance for unexpected breakdowns. As already said, it also requires accepting less-than-current vehicle safety standards.

Considering safety and reliability along with cost,, a good balance in my mind would involve purchasing a 3-5 year-old unit in good condition and keeping it to around 10-15 years. Avoid the heavy initial depreciation and bugs, and keep it until vehicle safety has gone through a generational shift and/or repairs start to interrupt travel plans significantly.
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Old 06-18-2019, 01:45 PM   #8
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Years?? How about "Until it ends up in the estate sale".

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Old 06-18-2019, 01:52 PM   #9
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The traditional rule of thumb is: If all you care about is saving money, it NEVER becomes cost-effective to replace a vehicle. Fixing is always cheaper.

But, as has been discussed elsewhere, in the past few years, active safety features (active braking, blind-spot monitoring, lane assist, etc) have made new vehicles so much safer for driver and passengers, that it can be argued that not upgrading to such a vehicle may be penny-wise and pound-foolish.

You can upgrade to these features only up to a certain point. Having experienced them, I personally would never routinely drive a vehicle without these features.
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Old 06-18-2019, 02:22 PM   #10
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The problem is that there are highly-significant and highly-salient exceptions due to immature technologies and ham-handed engineering. In our little corner of the world, Sprinter diesel emissions systems are the obvious example. This is an egregious example, and significant enough in the B-van world so as to distort our collective perception.
You're absolutely correct that the automotive systems are quite reliable, Mercedes wheel sensors and emissions systems notwithstanding; but there are enough anecdotal reports of electric and electronic coach systems failures from "immature technologies and ham-handed engineering" in unnecessary "luxury" systems (like power window shades for example) that make it to market that, when a coach is out of warranty (in comparison to the older, more reliable proven systems) it makes it a real gamble financially to take one on in the used market, at least for me.
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