Thursday, January 13, 2011

You Do NOT need a truck for your travel trailer or fifth wheel

Sheri and I don't own a truck but we own a 40 foot Open Range 399BHS fifth wheel.

Are we wrong?

First we full-time, and we have jobs where we must stay geographically close to our work. So it it VERY important to note that we are not 'traveling RVers'. We stay close to central TX due to work.

But when we tell people we don't own a truck, they look at us like we have ten heads. We've thought about a truck several times but keep coming back to some of the following thoughts.

We would need a Ford F350 dually to properly pull our 14,000 pound rig. People say you can do it with a 350 single but I think that does not give you the extra mechanical headroom that keeps your transmission from breaking, or loading your box to the max, or pushing your braking system to the max - yes - would be within spec - but right at the hairy edge.

So that means we're looking at somewhere in the range of $50K brand new for a truck and used - well, what if something goes wrong - these diesels are NOT cheap to fix. So I'll argue that what we save in price, we'll give up in maintenance. So I'm going to argue a wash.

So - monthly truck payment : $600.

We would need to trade a vehicle for it (cannot drive three) so we would give up AT LEAST about $100 per month in LESSER mileage and higher cost fuel. I drive a Honda FIT so there would be a difference.

Monthly total now to : $700

I'm going to add to my insurance, even if I take off a little car. Estimate - $50/month.

Monthly total now to : $750

I'm going to assume that in general, I'm going to get hit, by hook or by crook with at least $500 / year maintenance. I think that is low, but lets go with it.

Monthly total now to : $800

If I think about this yearly, it is roughly $10,000/year additional cost that I do not have now. I think the 'standard' on maintenance is higher on the big truck than on my FIT. If I'm wrong on the Fit I don't have a 20,000 pound problem.

What if I now need a truck?

It turns out in Austin Texas, there are a number of places I can RENT 1 ton dually's ready to go.

One place in Austin is Longhorn Truck Rental. The daily rate is $100. Yes, expensive. But I can rent it for 8 days and not go over what it costs me to have a truck for a month (without the 6-7 year commitment). Additionally, if it breaks down - not my problem. It is always ready to go (oil, transmission, hitch, etc.). Maintenance is not my problem. How cool is that.

Longhorn also has weekly rentals at around $500/week. They also have monthly rentals at around $1500.

So you see, I can even go vacationing in the summer for 2 months, spend $3000 on rental, and STILL be $7000 ahead of owning.

Now if we were traveling all over the US, and not driving to work everyday, then I think owning a truck makes sense. But if you own an RV, don't get STUCK with thinking you need a truck. Look at all the costs and commitments before you get yourself into a long term relationship.

No comments: