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RVers have been complaining for years about the quality of their rigs. However, social media makes it easier for owners to share those opinions with others.
Unfortunately, despite decades of consumer complaints, most RV manufacturers have made few changes. So, what’s all the fuss about, and are the complaints valid?
Let’s look and see!
One RVer turned to Facebook to voice his frustrations regarding the quality of his RV. It wasn’t just about using cheap or lighter materials. For him, it was more about shortcuts workers often take while constructing rigs.
He was also frustrated that you could buy a small house for the price of some of the rigs you see on dealership lots.
Many of the complaints from this RVer aren’t anything new. They’re the same concerns and frustrations owners have shared for decades. The post generated quite a buzz in the community, and commenters didn’t hold back.
He’s Not the Only Unhappy Camper
If the commenters revealed anything, the poster isn’t alone in his frustrations. Many of the individuals who took the time to comment on the post shared similar feelings. However, not everyone blamed it on manufacturers.
There were quite a few who blamed RV owners for having unrealistic expectations. They’re too trusting of dealers telling them how living in a particular RV is just like a home or that four-season RVs are more capable than they are.
Overall, it was clear that the full-time RV community is sick of manufacturers and low quality. They want to see manufacturers take pride in their work and create better final products. However, as you’ll soon see, this is a significant RV industry problem.
Is It Really That Bad?
With so many complaints, there must be a problem with the manufacturing of RVs, right? On the other hand, many full-time RVers expect too much for too little when it comes to their RV. Some brands are better than others, so they have a premium price tag.
In reality, most RV manufacturers aren’t making their rigs for full-time living. Most are built so owners can use them a handful of times each year during a typical camping season.
Remember, RVs are recreational vehicles, not residential dwellings. However, while premium models often cut fewer corners, they’re still prone to issues. Even manufacturers that tout their RVs are built for full-time RV life still have major problems.
Biggest Complaints About RV Quality
So, what are the biggest complaints from RV owners regarding quality? Unfortunately, several issues tend to appear time and time again. Here are some of the complaints we often hear from fellow RV owners.
Lack of Quality Control
One of the biggest complaints from RVers regarding manufacturers is that there’s a lack of quality control. Despite some brands having extensive pre-delivery inspections, it’s common for new owners to discover a list of problems. Unfortunately, most focus on quantity instead of quality during production.
Many manufacturers heavily depend on dealerships to do further inspections and address any issues. However, it’s not the dealership’s name on the side of the camper, and manufacturers get the blame when things don’t work right.
Additionally, dealerships are often equally busy as manufacturers and don’t have time to double-check things that may not have been done correctly. This is why hiring a third-party inspector is a good idea whether you’re buying a new or used camper.
It’s also not uncommon for RV owners to experience electrical issues due to poor-quality craftsmanship. Something as simple as a loose connection may sound minor, but it can become a severe problem.
Regarding wiring and electrical systems, your connections must always be tight. If not, it can increase the amount of resistance, which creates heat.
This is most common when running high-powered appliances like coffee makers, microwaves, and pressure cookers. A loose connection or faulty wiring could lead to a dangerous electrical fire in a rig.
Another common complaint regarding RV quality has to do with the appliances that manufacturers install. To reduce production costs, some manufacturers will choose the cheapest appliances possible. While this may save them some cash, the future owners may have to replace them prematurely.
Replacing electric fireplaces, microwaves, or water heaters are typically affordable appliances. However, a refrigerator could set you back thousands of dollars. While many of these come with warranties, that’s another discussion we’ll get into later.
Slide-outs can maximize the liveable space inside an RV. We’ve seen some rigs with three, four, and even five slides. However, while these can be excellent features, they can also be sensitive systems. Not only do they require regular maintenance, but they can also experience severe issues during your adventures.
Recently, manufacturers have relied heavily on the popular Schwintek slide style. Unfortunately, while these are quiet and smooth systems, they can’t handle tons of weight.
However, this hasn’t stopped manufacturers from using them for kitchens and other living areas. The weight of pantries, closets, and refrigerators can cause issues over time.
Some RVers experience the nightmare scenario where their slides malfunction when packing up their campsite. This can leave them stuck and unable to hit the road. This can cause further issues, especially if someone else reserved the campsite for that night. They may need to call a mobile RV tech or figure out how to retract their slides manually.
Just like the appliances, many manufacturers skimp when it comes to the furniture they install in campers. If you don’t believe us, one night of sleeping on the mattress that comes with a camper will convince you. This is why many RVers replace their mattresses shortly after their first trip.
Additionally, some owners discover that the materials and fabrics on the furniture tend to wear out quickly. It’s common to see peeling or cracking in the fake leather materials, especially after several camping seasons. This is one of the last things you want to see when paying a pretty penny for your RV.
Keep in Mind: Are you looking for RV furniture while staying within your budget? Here are 7 of the best places to find cheap RV furniture!
Corrosion and Rust
Many of the major players in the game have their headquarters and manufacturing facilities in Northern Indiana. Those rigs produced in the winter can end up with road salt and other gunk on them.
When left sitting on the metal components, these items can cause the frame and other parts to corrode and rust.
While it’s possible to address these conditions, it can be a physically demanding job. You’ll need to crawl under your rig, scrub the parts with a wire brush, and apply a protective sealant to avoid issues down the road. Some owners must hire a professional to do this as they cannot crawl under their rig and complete the job.
If your rig develops corrosion and rust, it’s not something you can ignore. The longer you do, the worse it will get.
Unfortunately, it’s possible that a brand-new camper could already have started to rust and corrode while sitting on the dealership lot. Again, this is another reason why you should hire a third-party inspector.
Customer Service and Warranty Issues
Many manufacturers and dealerships boast about their extensive customer service and warranties. However, poor customer service is a significant complaint from owners.
Some feel that manufacturers often leave them high and dry regarding customer service. Communication is often lacking, and experiences can be somewhat inconsistent.
Additionally, the warranties with RVs often give owners a false sense of security. Manufacturers or warranty providers often look for ways to avoid paying out a claim. They may require owners to pay for expensive annual inspections, or they’ll deny the claim. This leaves the owner responsible for footing the entire bill.
Keep in Mind: So who will do RV warranty work? Let’s take a look!
Are There Any Quality RV Manufacturers?
If you’ve done any research on RV manufacturers, you know some are better than others regarding these issues. However, you’ll have to pay a pretty penny for these rigs.
Focusing on quality instead of quantity costs more than trying to produce campers as quickly as possible.
If you’re shopping for a new camper, take the time to research any brands you’re considering. Sticking to a brand with a positive reputation can save you money and stress, making it easier to enjoy your travels.
But keep in mind that no matter what rig you go with, you will have a problem or two to face down the road.
Why Are We Not Holding RV Manufacturers Accountable?
At the end of the day, this Facebook post really got us thinking. Why can’t we hold RV manufacturers accountable for poor products?
The first problem we see is that RV manufacturers don’t have to follow the same rules as car manufacturers. Lemon laws don’t apply to RVs, and legal issues take forever to resolve.
Second, campers were breaking record sales even with a spike in poor quality and craftsmanship during COVID. So it didn’t matter that they were pumping out rigs with issues; they were raking in the dough.
Lastly, we’ve noticed a pattern when a new RV manufacturer hits the scene. First, they focus on quality, customer service, and building a loyal customer base. Once they’ve been around for a few years, they start to cut corners to lower costs. They’ve built a good reputation, signed on influencers, and have devoted customers, so now is the perfect time to lower costs and increase prices.
While we won’t name names, we’ve seen this formula play out a few times in the past seven years we’ve been deeply involved in the RV world.
We can’t hold manufacturers accountable when the laws aren’t on the customers’ side. All we can do is rant on Facebook and ensure we continue to spread the word to newbies about which brands care about people over profits.