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CostHelper > Cars  > Fifth-Wheel RV

Fifth-Wheel RV Cost


How Much Does a Fifth-Wheel RV Cost?

 
average costEntry Level: $15,000-$50,000high costLuxury: $50,000-$150,000

A fifth-wheel RV is a non-motorized recreational vehicle similar to a large travel trailer but with a raised front extension that connects into a hitch in the bed of a pickup truck. This makes fifth wheels more stable and easier to control in windy conditions than conventional travel trailers. Often designed for long-term or full-time RV living, fifth wheels tend to be the most expensive, spacious and heaviest of the towable RVs, with taller ceilings, full-sized kitchen areas and multiple slide-outs to expand the living space when parked. They typically are 21'-40' long and sleep 4-8 people.

Typical costs:

  • Size and amenities (like slides-outs, a full master bedroom with bath or full-sized kitchen appliances) are the biggest factors in the price of fifth wheel RVs. Expect to pay $15,000-$50,000 for a new fifth-wheel RV up to about 30' long, with many of the comforts of home. For example, the 30' 2011 Coleman RV CTF259RE CT259[1] sells for $29,000-$40,000 with an air-mattress sofa-bed in a slide-out area; a bedroom with a queen-size bed; bathroom with sink, shower and skylight; separate toilet stall; three-burner range and oven; microwave; double-door refrigerator; and more.
  • A fifth-wheel RV up to 40' long with features similar to those in a luxury home can cost $50,000-$150,000. These may have multiple slide-outs, a full master bedroom and bath, full-sized appliances, an electric fireplace and more. For example, the 35' 2011 Carriage Cameo 35SB3 sells for $56,500-$74,000 with three slide-outs, bedroom with queen bed and bath with shower, home theater seating or two leather recliners, sofabed, furnace, ceiling fan and more. And the 36'-37' foot 2011 Carriage Royals International Fifth Wheel lists at $135,000-$142,000 with a full master suite, a full kitchen, up to four slide-outs, solid-surface countertops, wood cabinetry and more.
  • Fifth-Wheel RVs start depreciating[2] as soon as they're driven off the dealer's lot, so a well-maintained fifth wheel that's a few years old can be 20%-30% less than its original purchase price.
Related articles: RV Insurance, RV Cover, RV

What should be included:
  • Fifth-wheel RVs are typically spacious and luxurious compared to other RVs, but are also heavier and require a pickup truck to tow them. ChanginGears.com provides a overview of fifth-wheel trailers[3] .
  • A fifth-wheel hitch uses a king pin connection, similar to those on semi-trucks. Wheelscene.com explains fifth wheel hitches[4] .
  • Hitching up a fifth-wheel RV typically requires an assistant. RV Education 101 provides a how-to video[5] for hitching up a fifth wheel. RVBasics.com lists safety tips[6] for towing a fifth-wheel RV.
Additional costs:
  • A pickup to tow the fifth wheel can cost $20,000-$50,000 or more. Towing a loaded fifth wheel will reduce the pickup's fuel efficiency by at least a couple miles per gallon, and could cut it by as much as half (or more). Some fifth wheel owners report getting 8-10 mpg while towing.
  • If the fifth wheel is wider than the tow vehicle, extended side view mirrors are legally required, starting at $4-$50 for a pair that clamp onto the existing side mirrors, or $150-$450 for permanently installed towing mirrors.
  • Maintenance and repair costs vary depending on usage. For a luxury fifth wheel towed by a medium-duty truck approximately 25,000 miles a year, RVersOnline.org estimates basic repairs for both the truck and fifth wheel of $1,250 a year, with new tires every two years adding another $2,400.
  • Campground or RV park fees can cost $10-$40 a night. Using a dump station to empty the fifth wheel's sewage system is typically included in the overnight fee; dumping without spending the night costs $5-$25.
  • RV insurance premiums vary significantly; get quotes before buying a specific trailer.
  • Renting an RV storage space can cost $20-$100 a month outdoors and $45-$450 a month indoors. A fifth wheel cover can cost $50-$1,200 or more.
Shopping for a fifth-wheel rv:
  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provides tips for selecting a tow vehicle[7] .
  • Prices on new fifth wheels vary considerably, and dealer prices are typically negotiable. Digital Federal Credit Union offers tips for getting the best price[8] on new and used RVs. RV Magazine explains how to negotiate and finance[9] an RV purchase.
  • For used fifth wheels, NadaGuides.com provides a tool to estimate prices[10] and Changingears.com describes determining a fair market price[11] with the Nada Guides as a starting point. As a reference, consignment seller PPL Motors posts its actual fifth wheel selling prices[12] .
  • ChanginGears.com provides a checklist[13] for road testing a fifth wheel. Roaming Times reviews[14] fifth wheels.
  • Find local dealers through the National Recreational Vehicle Dealers Association[15] or GoRVing.com[16] .
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External Resources:
  1.  coleman-rv.com/index.php?p=floorplans&model=CTF259RE
  2.  www.rversonline.org/ArtNewUsedRV.html
  3.  changingears.com/rv-sec-learn-type-fw.shtml
  4.  www.wheelscene.com/car-parts/auto-accessories/fifth-wheel-hitch.aspx
  5.  www.youtube.com/watch?v=jLxkhV03iCo
  6.  rvbasics.com/techtips/travel-trailer-towing-safety-tips.html
  7.  www.nhtsa.gov/cars/problems/equipment/towing/selecting.htm
  8.  /www.dcu.org/streetwise/boat-rv/rv-price.html
  9.  www.rvmagonline.com/features/0808rv-rv-buying-tips/negotiating.html
  10.  www.nadaguides.com/RVs
  11.  changingears.com/rv-art-determining-rv-fmv.shtml
  12.  www.pplmotorhomes.com/sold/fifth-wheel-trailers.htm
  13.  changingears.com/rv-checklist-road-test-trailer.shtml?sec-checklist
  14.  www.roamingtimes.com/fifthwheel/index.aspx
  15.  www.rvda.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Dealer_Info&template=/DealerSearch/Custom/dea...
  16.  www.gorving.com/where-to-find/dealers
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