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Post Info TOPIC: RV Maintenance Costs - A Two Year Perspective

RV-Dreams Family Member

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Posts: 297
RV Maintenance Costs - A Two Year Perspective

We've just finished our second year and I thought it might be time to report back on our maintenance costs during our two years.  We travel in our RV only half the year with the Winters spent away from the RV in Mazatlán, Mexico.  The first year we circled the USA and put 11,000 miles on the RV.  This last year we slowed down and kept our total to 6,000 miles.

We own a Monaco LaPalma motorhome that was 11 years old when we purchased it.  It was in great shape and had 48,000 miles on it.  A year before beginning our early retirement we purchased the RV because I wanted time to get to know the RV and to make any updates I wanted before beginning our travels.  I spent round $5,000.00 making changes and that included $2,700.00 worth of new Michelin tires.  By the time of retirement I was confident that any bugs were out and we were ready to go. 

During that year before retirement we accumulated our "emergency fund".  I knew from reading this forum that things would happen and expenses would be incurred as we rolled down the road.  I can remember several discussions/arguments on this forum about what would be needed to maintain the RV travel lifestyle.  I choose to believe the group that suggested setting aside a substantial amount of funds for those times.

So here's my personal report.  $8,325.00 in two years for RV maintenance.  That included:  $4970.00 to rebuild the transmission, $2,100 for complete brake system maintenance,  refrigerator repair, furnace service, tile repair, entry steps repair and new house and engine batteries.  I was doing great until last month when we lost reverse in our transmission.

If I were to give advise to anyone driving an older RV my budget number would be set aside $10,000 and add $350.00 per month.  I don't think our experience is abnormal, I have read about others that have had far more expensive repairs.  Again this is just my experience and advise.  I was grateful to have the funds ready when stuff happened.

So when someone is asking about budgets and costs to enter and maintain the RV lifestyle what do you think the "emergency fund" amount should be?



Russ & Terri Ranger

Travel since July 2013

Home base: Buckeye,AZ

Wandering the USA & Canada in our Holiday Rambler Endeavor 40' PDT Motorhome

Travel so far: 49 States - International Travel -19 countries


RV-Dreams Family Member

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Posts: 1756

Interesting question, we've also just finished 2 years but we've been full time, year round, up and down the Western US. We have only spent $3500 in RV repairs that weren't covered by our extended warranty and another $1400 in maintenance (including checking brakes, having tanks steamed cleaned, carpet cleaning, water filter replacement several times, miscellaneous parts that needed to be replaced or upgraded), and another $1000 in truck maintenance including oil changes. Some of you might remember we had to have the engine replaced on our truck, but it was all still under the original 100K warranty, so cost us very little out of pocket.

We've also spent 4k between the truck and 5th wheel replacing 10 tires. We're figuring we have at least another 5 years now on the 5th wheel and 7 years on the truck before we have to worry about tires again and truly hope we get a little time separation between the 2 events. Replacing 10 tires in a 2 month time frame was a little painful. Our original plan was to replace the truck tires in April, 5th wheel tires in Oct but when one of the tires on the 5th wheel started shredding on I-5 in early June our time frame quickly changed. We were thankful to have our emergency fund in savings as it wasn't in the budget to do all tires in 2 months.

We bought a 2 year old 5th wheel that was in pretty good condition but needed a major repair to the fridge, then an issue with the axles, and more recently a repair to the hydraulic system that is still not 100% fixed.

We've also had upgrades (solar and the auto flex system) to the 5th wheel and truck that we counted as one time major expenses.

We've budgeted $100/mo for truck maint, $200/mo for RV maint and have been pretty close to those numbers, with a 10K fund set aside for emergencies. I've not been increasing the emergency fund since both truck and 5'ver are still under the extended warranties we purchased, figure that emergency fund needs to increase once the warranties expire.

So, I'm interested in the responses on how much more we need to be setting aside once we don't have extended warranties.


FT - July 2013


2010 38TKSB3 DRV Mobile Suites

2012 Ford F450


Dale and Ruth Travelling with Tazzy Kat!







RV-Dreams Family Member

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Posts: 403

We have 9 years records and have recorded every penny spent.

I guess we have been very lucky. Included in our costs are all tires, oil changes on tow vehicle, replacement refrigerator, microwave, shower, toilet ,etc. In other words every penny we spent on maintenance on tow vehicle and trailer. Granted, we saved a lot of labor doing lots of this ourselves.

Our total for 9 years is $8687.38 or $ 82.74 average per month.

I often laugh about that amount, because when I had a regular house in cost $90.00 a month just to have our pool cleaned!


2005 Dodge 3500 - Dually- Cummins
2006 Outback 27 RSDS
Two rescue dogs: A Catahoula Mix & a Chihuahua mix.
Full Time since June 2006

RV-Dreams Community Member

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Posts: 16

Russ, from my experience your advice is perfect, even for a newer motor home.


George & Nancy Finlayson

Holiday Rambler Vacationer towing a Honda CR-V

Homepage:  http://gfstryder-moose.blogspot.com 

RV-Dreams Family Member

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Posts: 1661

Dale, you may have already considered this... get a quote for a renewal of your existing extended warranties (a ton of companies out there that do this.) Take that offer(s) and simply divide the total by the number of months covered and put that amount in as additional to your current allocation toward reserve/emergency funding. Now you are self-funding your extended warranties. Combined with your decently sized funds on hand you should be good to go.

FWIW, Brian


Brian, Cindi & Josie (our fur baby)
2017 RAM 3500 Laramie 4x4 CCLB, CTD, Aisin, B&W hitch, dually
2020 Keystone Montana Legacy 3813MS w/FBP ,
MORryde 8k IS, Kodiak disc brakes, no solar  YET!

RV-Dreams Family Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 117

We just finished 3 years FT This month. However I just have records for the last 2.5 years. Most of our maintenance has been on the used truck (38,000 miles) we bought, a 2008 F450. In 32 months we have spent $14,300 on maintenance. We have driven the truck 50,000 miles and the new 5th wheel about 25, 000. I count washing the vehicles inside and out as maintenance too. Simple breakdown is as follows:

Oil: $1,000
Misc filters: $1,000
Tires: $2,200
Brakes: $500
Fan Clutch: $500
Oil Cooler: $2,800 (Long story, but this was probably not necessary)
Batteries: $300
AC Condenser Replacement deductible: $100
Rear Pinion Seal Replacement deductible X2: $200
Belt and Pulley Replacement: $300 including deductible
Thermostat Replacement: $600
Total: $9,500

5th Wheel:
Tires and Wheels: $2,500 (This was really and upgrade to 17.5 wheels and Load range H tires)
Washing: $300
Satellite System Repair: $500
Misc: $500
Grey Tank Repair: $200
Slide Repair: $300

Total: $4,300

Grand total: $13,800 or $460 a month. If I take off the Tire/wheel upgrade and the unnecessary oil cooler replacement totaling $5,300 the numbers are $8,500 total for 32 months or $266 a month.


Full Time Since August 4, 2012

2008 F-450 King Ranch 4x4 crew cab DRW

2013 Sanibel 3500 5er

Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.

Mark & Patty

Our Blog: http://markandpattyrv.blogspot.com/

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