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Motorhoming - commonly asked questions

How much does a new motorhome cost?

Type B motorhome — starts at approximately $42,000.
Type C motorhome — $48,000 to $140,000
Type A motorhome — $58,000 to $400,000
Luxury custom-converted private coaches, outfitted with upscale and innovative features, can cost well over $1 million.

What fuel mileage can I expect? 

Motorhomes average between 8 and 12 miles per gallon. They often hold approximatley 100 galllons of fuel. Many factors affect fuel economy, such as the motorhome's size and wieght; engine; chassis; tire pressure; and vehicle design and construction. Other factors: your driving style, driving location and whether you are towing a vehicle. Some manufacturers are starting to produce lighter, wind-cutting motorhomes designed to offer better fuel mileage. One maker, for instance, plans to introduce a 2010 Type A motorhome that exceeds 15 mpg.

Do I need a special driver's license to operate a motorhome?

In most instances, standard non-commercial operator's license is all that is required. But in some jurisdictions, a special endorsement may be required if the motorhome or the motorhome/towed vehicle combination exceeds a certain weight. In Maryland, for example, a Class B non-commercial license is required for motorhomes with gross vehicle weight ratings of more than 26,000 pounds. In such cases, you may have to pass a special test to qualify for the special addendum to your license. Check with the department of motor vehicles or department of transportation to find out about laws in your jurisdiction. Reciprocity (license only) is granted in all U.S. states and Canadian provices except Nova Scotia.

Is a motorhome difficult to drive?

Driving a motorhome can take some getting used to, because a motorhome is larger than other vehicles you're accustomed to driving. Take advantage of driver instruction classes available through your dealer, a community college or one of the many RV organizations. Practice and make sure you feel comfortable before driving the motorhome on long journey.

Can I tow my car behind a motorhome?

Yes. There are several methods of towing. You can use a tow bar system, which transports certain vehicles — standard or automatic transmission — with all four wheels touching the ground. You can also use a tow dolly, a short, two-wheeled trailer that transports the towed vehicle with two of its wheels off the ground. Another method is a trailer, which makes it possible to tow a vehicle with all four wheels totally off the ground. Each method has advantages and disadvantages.

Am I required to use a  supplemental braking device for my towed vehicle?

A supplemental braking system can provide the extra braking power needed to stop a motorhome and towed vehicle combination in everyday and panic situations. Some states and Canadian provinces have laws regarding brakes on a towed vehicle, but requirements vary. But for safe motorhoming, using a supplemental braking system is smart, even if the law does not require it. Here's why. A motorhome's brakes are rated for operation at the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR), which is the maximum allowable weight of the fully loaded vehicle including passengers and all cargo — NOT the gross combination weight rating (GCWR). The GCWR is the maximum allowable combined weight of the motorhome and attached towed vehicle and everything in and on them, as designated by the manufacturer. It is NOT the amount of weight that can be stopped by the coach's brakes alone. Two additional thoughts to consider: Will your insurance carrier cover you in the event of an accident involving a towed vehicle with no braking system? And, will your chassis be covered by warranty if you tow a vehicle of a certain weight without using supplemental braking?

Is the interest on my motorhome tax-deductible?

For most motorhome buyers, the interest on the loan is deductible as second home mortgage interest. To qualify, the motorhome must be used as security for the loan and must have basic sleeping, toilet and cooking accommodations.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) publishes two booklets that contain helpful information regarding tax deductibility of RV loan interest. Copies of “Publication 936-Home Interest Deduction” and “Publication 523 — Selling Your Home” are available online or by calling the IRS at (800) 829-3676.

What laws pertaining to the dimensions of my motorhome should I be aware of?

Motorhome length and width limits vary by state and province. In most U.S. states the width limit is 102 inches. The combined length for a motorhome and towed vehicle combination ranges from 60 to 80 feet. An overlength permit is available in some jurisdictions.

Can I park my motorhome in my driveway?

Always follow state laws, local ordinances and community association restrictions pertaining to motorhome parking. This applies even if you park your motorhome near your residence, temporarily (e.g. overnight) only to load and unload it. Parking regulations vary, and often change. Contact your city clerk, township manager or neighborhood association to find out about the regulations specific to your area. Never park in a manner that poses a risk to the public safety, health or welfare.

FMCA has a Governmental and Legislative Affairs Committee that can advise members who face restrictive parking regulations in their communities.

I travel with my dog. Are pets permitted in U.S. national parks?

In some national parks, pets are permitted only in parking lots and along roadways, and always on a leash. They're not allowed on most hiking trails, inside buildings or in the backcountry. There are exceptions, however. Visit the National Park Service Web site, www.nps.gov, for more info.

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