5 Reasons Why I’d Never Buy A Show Model RV

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RV manufacturers have struggled to keep up with the demand for RVs. Despite cranking out more than 600,000 RVs last year, they can’t keep up. Some people looking to buy a specific new RV may have a hard time. 

A dealer may have a show model of the exact RV you want. You may even get offered a pretty sweet deal to take it. However, I’ve got five reasons why I’d never buy a show model RV. Let’s explain.

What Is a Show Model RV?

A show model RV is one that a dealership or manufacturer sets up at an RV show for display. These often have the latest and greatest features. 

RV manufacturers want to show off their newest models at these large RV shows. They let potential customers freely explore every nook and cranny of the RV. 

On any given day at an RV show, hundreds of people will walk in and out of show model RVs.

A variety of show model RVs at an RV show at a dealership.

Is a Show a Good Place to Buy an RV?

RV shows are a fantastic place to buy an RV. Many dealers will even offer special discounts or upgrades for those that purchase one from the RV show. 

However, I strongly suggest passing on a show model no matter how sweet the deal is. Find a dealership that still has your model on their lot elsewhere, or have them order it from the manufacturer. Keep reading to find out why I think buying a show model RV is a bad idea. 

Pro Tip: Buying an RV at an RV show is a great place for deals but if you can’t wait, check out the other four times we recommend for savings on your RV purchase.

Why I’d Never Buy a Show Model RV

When it comes down to it, I have a few solid reasons why I’d keep shopping and not settle for a show model. Let’s get started and see why.

1. Hundreds of People Walk Through It 

I like my space, and the thought of hundreds of people walking through it just doesn’t settle well with me. Dealers typically don’t let just anyone walk through the RVs on their lot. 

Most dealers will even ask for some contact information before letting you onto the lot. Even then, a sales team member will likely escort you from RV to RV.

RV shows can be chaotic, and anyone that pays admission can walk through the models.

Some of the busiest RV shows may have dealership sales teams pulling you in different directions. This means there’s typically little supervision for all those people walking in and out of an RV.

Having so many people in and out of your potential home-away-from-home can lead to my next reason for avoiding buying a show model.

2. Used and Abused by Customers

With hundreds of people walking in and out of a show model RV, they get used and abused during a show.

Everything from the cabinetry to the flooring and furniture will have more wear and tear than one from a dealership’s lot. 

Additionally, the added wear and tear likely will lead to issues sooner. Many customers walking through the RVs forget that the RV they explore will eventually be someone’s personal RV. 

The RV can get scratches and damage as people will be less careful than if they owned the unit. 

Dents in the fridge doors from being aggressively opened at an RV show
Dents in the fridge doors from being aggressively opened at an RV show

3. Not Properly Setup

You treat an RV differently when it’s not yours. At these RV shows, dealers typically have a limited amount of time and space to set up. Accidents happen, and rigs often get set up improperly. 

Scratch on the front fender of a new Super B motorhome while being parked at an RV show
Scratch on the front fender of a new Super B motorhome while being parked at an RV show

Dealers may even bring slides in or out when an RV isn’t level, which can cause damage to the slide’s components.

Some of the issues from improper setup may not appear immediately but can arise down the road. This will become your problem and not the dealerships.

Pro Tip: When purchasing an RV, reliability should be a key factor in your decision. These are the most reliable RV brands of 2022.

4. Not Getting the Most Knowledgeable Salesmen

Large Dealerships like Lazy Days RV or General may bring hundreds of RVs to the show. With so many options available they need all hands on deck to keep up with potential customers.

In order to meet with every potential customer and keep wait times down, dealerships often bring in contracted salespeople from all over the country. Unfortunately, they are usually only provided with a single day of training on all models before the show. 

A salesman with little experience in an RV increases the chances that a sales assistant will misrepresent an RV to you during the process.

When you make a large purchase like an RV, you don’t want to rely on inaccurate information from the dealer.

This $200,000+ motorhome's basement was flooded and dripping on the ground at an RV show
This $200,000+ motorhome’s basement was flooded and dripping on the ground.

5. The RV May Have Been Sitting for Awhile 

RV shows are a big deal for RV dealers. They don’t want to show up to the big game with nothing to show off to potential customers. 

To avoid this embarrassment, dealers will often prepare for the show for months to ensure they have all the models they want to showcase. This means that some RVs could have sat on dealership lots for quite some time. 

Some RV shows happen in the winter and the show model RVs are shipped from Indiana over rust-causing salt-covered roads.
Some RV shows happen in the winter and the RVs are shipped from Indiana over rust-causing salt-covered roads.

Confirm with Your Dealership Your RV Wasn’t a Show Model

If you buy a new RV, ask the dealership if they used it as a show model. Depending on the dealer, the chances are likely low. You don’t want to buy a new RV that might have damage or quick repairs. 

If a dealer can’t directly answer this question, consider finding a new dealer. You want to have faith in your purchase and buy from a trustworthy place. 

Buy an RV at a Show, But Not the Show Model

Buying an RV at an RV show can score you a killer deal. However, I think any potential savings from purchasing a display show model isn’t worth the risk. Take advantage of any special discounts a dealer offers on non-show model RVs. 

While it may take longer to get, you won’t wonder how many people were in your RV before you. Then you can enjoy your RV knowing it wasn’t used and abused on the show floor. 

Would you ever consider buying a show model RV?

1 comment
  1. So by this logic you would never buy used either. Only brand new units that have never been walked thru before and must have a production date during the summer with less than 45 days:on dealer lot?

    Sound about right?

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