If you’re seriously considering becoming one of the millions of nomads living the American dream in an RV, this article is for you. Of all the advice online covering the topic, none is as important as knowing the best camper to buy — and which ones to avoid.
Of U.S. brands, the Winnebago-owned Newmar ranks among the top five. But not every owner is happy with their Newmar motorhome.
5 things these Newmar Bay Star owners hate about it
Endless RVing is an up-and-coming YouTube channel with more than 31,000 subscribers as of this writing. In the video “5 Things We HATE About Our Newmar,” the channel’s owners vent their frustration with their 1-year-old Newmar Bay Star. This model is a Class A motorcoach priced around $160,000 to $200,000.
The first thing Izzy and MJ disliked about their Newmar RV were the headlights. They drove their Newmar from the dealership at night and claim the headlights were so bad they could barely see anything. MJ explains they replaced the factory headlights with $75 aftermarket LEDs.
The second thing they hated was that their Bay Star didn’t come with a power cord reel. An RV power cord reel allows you to store your power cable compactly. Manual and motorized power cord reels cost between $150 to $400, depending on the model. Izzy points cheaper RVs come standard with power cable reels.
Their third complaint concerns cheap carpeting in the cockpit. They say that carpet shouldn’t be installed in the cockpit because it gets fairly dirty.
The fourth complaint on their list regards the radio and GPS unit. According to MJ, the Rand McNally GPS will “freeze or turn off mid-trip.” When this happens, they have to pull over and reset the GPS. Izzy is also unhappy with the sound system on the Rand McNally infotainment system. This option cost them an additional $2,200, making it an even bigger disappointment.
The fifth and final complaint about their Newmar motorhome is excessive squeaking. According to Newmar, Bay Star models sit on a Ford F-53 chassis, which uses springs and shocks. Having no air suspension means the more weight that’s added, the more noise the suspension makes. Short of switching suspensions, there isn’t much that can be done in that department.
Newmar has a solid reputation for offering outstanding customer service
For over 50 years, Newmar has built a solid reputation based on quality, innovation, and service. And in September 2019, Winnebago Industries acquired Newmar, adding Winnebago’s reputability to the brand.
Newmar earns a five-star rating on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website. Only eight complaints have been reported in three and a half years. Also, its customer service department has responded well to complaints filed on the BBB website.
Winnebago Industries has received only two complaints in three years on the BBB site. But the company isn’t BBB-accredited.
Test-drive an RV before you buy it
Because most dealers don’t allow you to test-drive their RVs for that long, the next best thing is to rent one. One good thing about renting an RV for a test drive is that it likely has plenty of miles on it already. Test-driving a brand-new vehicle won’t give you an accurate picture. Rental vehicles have usually been driven less delicately, giving you a better idea of what to expect when they have a few miles on them.
Driving a Class A-through-C RV is like piloting a city bus without a commercial driver’s license (CDL). Yup, you read that right: Most states don’t require you to hold a CDL to drive an RV weighing 26,000 pounds or less, Campanda reports. Class A RVs can weigh about 13,000 to 30,000 pounds, depending on the model, so be sure to check the motorhome’s weight. That way, you can test-drive vehicles before choosing to buy one without having to take a CDL class. And with high-end motorhomes averaging $90,000 to $400,000, it’s best to take the one you’re interested in for a spin.
Finally, YouTube videos can offer guidance, but take certain content with a grain of salt. In particular, be wary of videos with links to Amazon, eBay, and other product pages because the creators have plenty to gain from posting such content. The issues noted on Endless RVing’s channel are minor compared to more serious camper-related problems.