There seems to be some discontent with the quality of RV’s being produced today. You always here old-timers say “they don’t make them like they used to”. And the same goes today for RV’s. Let’s face it, big companies are all about that bottom line. How much can they do with as little as they can get away with? What corners can be cut? Manpower? Who needs lots of manpower? We will just make employees work more and not make much more. And let’s make sure they are meeting quotas.
Besides some young lawyer making a name for himself and suing the dickens out of some of these manufacturers. Or some politician that actually RV’s themselves and works on some legislation to change things, it’s going to take a lot to change things. The number one tool on our belt it ourselves. We have to start holding the manufacturers and RV dealerships accountable. We have to help educate new RV owners of what to expect and what to accept.
So let me begin this “revolution”…
- Know that RV’s are not perfect. Far from it. 99.9% of every RV produced will have something wrong with it when you purchase it or it will develop the issue within the first year (or sooner). It’s just inevitable. Yes, I understand you worked hard for the 10’s or 100’s of thousands of dollars you just paid for you RV. But so did everyone else.
- Inspect. Inspect. Inspect. Got the idea yet? Yes. Spend as much time going over the RV you fell in love with. Open drawers, doors and slides. Inspect the finishes. Inspect the walls. Do the doors close and stay closed correctly? Are the walls straight? Check anything with a mount. Is it secured? Before you sign the paperwork, give a check and accept ownership of the RV, make sure that you and a tech go over everything in the RV. Make sure every appliance works. Make sure the plumbing works. Make sure the tanks drain. Does the A/C cool? Does the heater heat? I don’t care if it’s 110 degrees in Miami with 100% humidity, turn on the dang heater! Try the generator, does it crank up properly? Let it run for more than 5 or 10 minutes. Turn on the A/C, microwave , etc, with the generator going. Check everything.
- After you have checked everything, make sure you have an itemized list of the issues. Make sure you have a copy and the dealer has a copy. Set your expectations of when everything will be fixed. Do NOT let them trick you into believing it will take a month or so to fix things. Don’t fall into the game that they are having a hard time getting the manufacturer to approve things. Call the dealer daily. At a minimum a couple times a week. Stay on their butt about it. Call the manufacturer as well. Go over the list with them. It will only help get things expedited.
- Hire an inspector if you feel like you may miss something or might not know what to look for. When we buy homes, we hire inspectors to check things out. Sometimes the banks require it, but often it’s because it’s such a large investment. And lets not kid ourselves. Some of you own RV’s that cost more than your homes do or did. Protect that investment and spend a little money on a certified inspector. Don’t know how to find one? Go to http://www.nrvia.org (the National RV Inspectors Association). They will guide you into the right direction.
- Learn how to fix things. Eventually things will happen. It will happen while you are many miles away from home. Make sure you have a good standard toolbox with you. If you are not sure how to fix something, research it online. You can easily “Google” it or look it up on Youtube, where some poor soul has “been there, done that” and will gladly show you how to correct it. Make sure you have paperwork (printed or digital format) with you of all the manuals for everything in your RV. Don’t depend on “The” Rv manual, it will more than likely be generic and not a great help. Download apps that can help you. Lippert components has a great one called myLCI that you can download for your smartphone. It has videos showing you how to do fix things , manuals for the different components they manufacture, and a way to contact them if you have questions.
- And lastly, don’t be afraid to ask other RV’ers for help. The one main thing about RV’ers is their love for the lifestyle and their willingness to help. It may be a neighbor in an RV park or someone in an RV Facebook group.