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How to Buy a 5th Wheel

If you’re in the market for a new RV, you might be considering a fifth wheel. Fifth wheels are popular among RV enthusiasts for their spacious living areas, luxurious amenities, and ease of towing. However, with so many different models and features available, it can be challenging to know where to begin when it comes to buying a fifth wheel. In this blog post, we’ll take you through the essential steps to follow when purchasing a fifth wheel, from budgeting to selecting the right model for your needs.

Step 1: Determine Your Budget

Before you start shopping for a fifth wheel, it’s important to determine how much you can afford to spend. Like any major purchase, you should consider your budget and make sure you can comfortably afford the monthly payments. You’ll also want to factor in the cost of insurance, maintenance, and any necessary upgrades or repairs.

When budgeting for a fifth wheel, you’ll need to decide whether you want to buy a new or used model. New fifth wheels can cost anywhere from $20,000 to over $100,000, depending on the model and features. Used fifth wheels are generally less expensive, with prices ranging from $5,000 to $50,000 or more, depending on the age, condition, and features.

Step 2: Consider Your Towing Vehicle

One of the benefits of a fifth wheel is that they are generally easier to tow than other types of RVs. However, you’ll still need a powerful vehicle to pull a fifth wheel. Before you buy a fifth wheel, make sure you have a vehicle that is rated to tow the weight of the trailer you’re interested in. You’ll also need a fifth wheel hitch installed in your truck bed.

If you don’t already have a towing vehicle, you’ll need to factor in the cost of purchasing one. Trucks that are capable of towing a fifth wheel can range from $30,000 to $70,000, depending on the make, model, and features.

Step 3: Determine Your Must-Have Features

When shopping for a fifth wheel, it’s essential to determine your must-have features. Do you need a large living area for entertaining guests? Are you looking for a kitchen with high-end appliances? Do you need a separate bedroom area for privacy? Make a list of the features that are most important to you and use this as a guide when shopping.

Some of the most popular features in fifth wheels include:

  • Large living areas with comfortable seating and entertainment centers
  • Spacious kitchens with full-size appliances, including refrigerators, stoves, and ovens
  • Private bedrooms with comfortable beds and plenty of storage
  • Bathrooms with large showers and plenty of storage space
  • Outdoor living spaces, such as awnings and outdoor kitchens

Step 4: Research Fifth Wheel Brands and Models

Once you’ve determined your budget, towing vehicle, and must-have features, it’s time to start researching fifth wheel brands and models. There are many different manufacturers to choose from, including Forest River, Jayco, Keystone, and Winnebago. You can research different brands and models online, read reviews from other RVers, and visit dealerships to see the fifth wheels in person.

When researching fifth wheels, be sure to consider the following factors:

  • Floor Plan: The layout of the fifth wheel is essential for both comfort and functionality. Make sure the floor plan works for your needs and preferences.
  • Size and Weight: Fifth wheels come in a range of sizes and weights. Make sure the one you choose is appropriate for your towing vehicle and driving needs.
  • Features: Consider the features and amenities included in each fifth wheel, such as appliances, entertainment centers, and storage.
  • Price: Make sure the fifth wheel you choose fits within your budget.

Step 5: Visit Dealerships and Take Test Drives

Once you’ve done your research and narrowed down your options, it’s time to visit dealerships and take test drives. This will allow you to see the fifth wheels in person, get a feel for the layout and amenities, and determine whether the model is the right fit for you.

During the test drive, pay attention to the following factors:

  • Handling: How does the fifth wheel handle on the road? Does it sway or bounce excessively?
  • Visibility: Can you see clearly behind the fifth wheel when towing?
  • Comfort: Is the living area comfortable and spacious? Is the bed comfortable?
  • Functionality: Do the appliances and features work as expected? Is there enough storage space?

Step 6: Negotiate the Price

Once you’ve found the fifth wheel that meets your needs and preferences, it’s time to negotiate the price. Don’t be afraid to negotiate, as there may be some room for the dealership to lower the price or throw in some additional features.

When negotiating the price, be sure to consider the following factors:

  • The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP): This is the price the manufacturer recommends for the fifth wheel. It’s a good starting point for negotiations.
  • Dealer Markup: Dealerships often mark up the price of the fifth wheel above the MSRP. Be aware of this markup and try to negotiate it down.
  • Incentives and Discounts: Dealerships may offer incentives and discounts, such as rebates or special financing rates. Be sure to ask about these and factor them into your negotiations.

Step 7: Finalize the Purchase

Once you’ve negotiated the price and agreed on the terms of the sale, it’s time to finalize the purchase. This involves signing the paperwork, arranging for financing (if necessary), and taking delivery of the fifth wheel.

During the final walkthrough, make sure to inspect the fifth wheel carefully, looking for any damage or defects. Make sure all the features and amenities are in working order and that everything is included as agreed upon in the sales contract.


Buying a fifth wheel is a significant investment, but with the right research and preparation, you can find the perfect model for your needs and budget. By determining your budget, researching different brands and models, and taking test drives, you’ll be able to make an informed decision and negotiate the best price. With your new fifth wheel, you’ll be able to enjoy the freedom and adventure of the open road, all while enjoying the comforts of home.


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