We felt the need to speak out about the bad rap that Thor RV’s get. We’ve had a couple of them with relatively minor issues. Perhaps we have just been lucky. I (Brian) talk to a lot of people about RV’s. It’s a daily thing for me. Whether it’s in forums, Facebook groups, twitter, videos or even in person. I love RV’s and the lifestyle. I wanted to give my opinion from those things I have seen or have heard. Feel free to watch the video. It is roughly 18 minutes long and there is some road noise. Some have made it clear that they couldn’t sit through the whole thing, while others have.
It’s Camping World’s Fault! – Yes, I believe that a lot has to do with Camping World. Not everything. But a good portion. Which theoretically points the finger back at Thor somewhat.
Here’s why…. Thor is the largest RV manufacturer in the United States. They produce a lot of RV’s under the Thor brand, but also other brands, such as:
- Cruiser RV
- DRV, Dutchmen
- Entegra Coach
- Heartland RV
- Highland Ridge
- Keysone RV
- Livin’ Lite
- Redwood RV
- Starcraft RV
- Thor Motorcoach
- Venture RV
Now some of those, I have never even heard of. But, I bet there is probably at least one, if not more on that list that surprised you and you didn’t know that Thor owned them. So how does Camping World become involved? Well, just like Thor is the largest manufacturer, Camping World is the largest RV dealer in the country. And they are not slowing down any. Camping World sells a lot of Thor products. It’s where we purchased our 2 Thor’s at ourselves. The thing is, and we are not making this up, we have heard the stories, is that Camping World does not properly go through the RV’s and fix things. They will wait for it to be purchased, before doing repairs or adjustments. Now there may be simple things that they will do, probably a salesman, that is easy to correct when it’s seen or pointed out. But for the majority, they will wait for the purchaser to point these things out. Camping World doesn’t receive the same rate to repair an RV from the manufacturer than what they will charge you. That’s why you often hear stories that people take their RV in to have manufacturer warranty work done and the RV sits there for long periods of time. It’s not a priority to them. They can make more money with paying customers. I can almost bet you that if you took it in and was paying out of pocket, that it would get done a lot quicker. Let me repeat, that this is all my opinion. I feel the need to state that often because people will forget it or might of overlooked it. What would be the benefit for them to repair things before a customer buys it? Nothing. It would cost them. They would rather take the chance that the customer won’t notice it, will forget about it, accept it or possibly will fix it themselves. It gives Camping World more time to focus on making more money by charging you full labor rates (well over $100/hr), full price (and sometimes inflated prices) on parts, shipping for the parts, shop fees, etc.
So, why I do feel Thor and every other manufacturer needs to step up their quality control, I think that Camping World (which has a bad rap itself) plays a lot into the game. And it’s just not Thor. Anyone that has owned other brands as well, will tell you that they all have their issues. Just the fact that there are more of a certain type being produced, it’s a no-brainer that there will be more complaints. If not just from a by-the-numbers(ratio) type of thing. But you also have to take into consideration that RV’s get transported from the plant to the dealerships, they get moved around between dealerships if they don’t sell within a certain time, they get moved back and forth to RV shows, and it’s possible that thousands of people have been in and out of your RV before you bought it. Things are going to happen along the way.
So here are some pointers for those purchasing an RV from a dealer, whether Camping World or not. It applies everywhere.
- Go over it with a “fine toothed comb”. Inspect everything. Every appliance. Every system (plumbing, electrical, generator if it has one, etc). Make sure what should be secured, is secured properly. Look for imperfections. Make sure everything is present that should be.
- Ask the dealership if the RV has been used before. Yes! Some may have been used in the past, but are still sold as new. That’s for another video and/or article. If it has been used, ask for a discount just based on that fact.
- Do NOT accept the RV, Do NOT pay for the RV (not even a hold fee or deposit), and do NOT sign any papers agreeing to accept the RV until everything is fixed to your satisfaction. You may get pushback on it, which will reinforce my opinions up above. If you do, then you know that dealership is not one you will want to work with. If they do it, then that is a win for you!
- Before agreeing to purchase an RV, get all the numbers. Compare to another dealership. Some may charge fees that they shouldn’t. Or inflated fees.
- Check for financing outside of the dealership. Just like cars, RV dealerships make money on financing. You may be able to find financing cheaper, elsewhere. And don’t let a dealership change the price on you if you don’t use their financing. And of course, if you can, cash is king.
- Learn how to fix simple things yourself. Things will break over time. Components will fail. Be weary of maintenance on things. Many places will not honor a warranty if they don’t have to. And not following suggested maintenance or showing any negligence in maintenance will give them the loophole to not fix something.
- Extended warranties. You will have to decide whether or not one is right for you or not. Do not decide when signing for the RV to purchase one then if you are going to. Comparison shop. Look at the fine print as to what they will cover and mostly what they will not cover. We have heard that extended warranties are about 75% or so for marketing and commission to the dealer. 12% is statistically what is the cost to do repairs on average. And the rest is profit and overhead. Yes, it could work out real good for you. You could be one of those statistics that put you where it paid for itself. Or you could be one of those that you wasted your money on it. Self insure if you can.
Check out the Thor Motorhome Owner’s Group on Facebook that we started at https://www.facebook.com/groups/thormotorhomeowners/
Note: The facebook group is not associated with Thor Industries or Thor Motorcoach and neither are we…. And once again, this is our opinion. Yours may vary.