10 questions to ask before renting a motor home

1. Do the dealer's mileage claims check out? Compare dealer's claims with manufacture's specifications, considered in light of age, number of miles, conditions.

2. How large are the tanks?

Know how much water, liquid natural gas, etc, the coach will hold, and compare with your projected usage of each commodity.

3. What does insurance cover?

My experience shows that amount of coverage can vary widely, as can the specific parts of the coach that are covered.

4. What happens if you break down?

Different dealers offer different arrangements for breakdown repairs. U-Haul promises a network of repair services, and some compensation for time lost.

Others offer to wire money for damage over a certain amount, or to reimburse for minor repairs, Keep your receipts.

5. Who fills the tanks?

Some dealers wil set you up with full natural-gas tanks. There are dealers who cannot by law provide this service. Almost all will give you water. It's nice to know this before you arrive to take your vehicle.

6. What are the hidden charges?

Ask about 'sanitation'' fees, dumping fees, allowances for fuel left in the tank after rental return. The big question is not, what does this cost per day or week or month? It's, what will the final bill be?

7. How much will you have to prepay?

Every dealer wants something in advance, often as much as the full rental. Compare prices with those of other dealers.

8. What is the maintenance record?

As far as possible, find out how new the shocks, tires, and other strategic elements are. Also, how often is it overhauled?

9. What kind of shape is it in?

It's not a bad idea to get in and drive around for a while and try to find the bugs. Does the horn work, do the lights work. . . turn signals, emergency brake?

10. Who am I dealing with?

Motor home rental is not a venerable institution, like car rental. Most dealerships are small, independent. Some chains are actually loose brokering consortia. Find someone you think is reliable; and don't be fooled by national name.

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