Recreational vehicle sales spiked earlier this year and haven’t slowed down. RVs are available in many sizes, powertrains, and some of them are as fancy as an upscale hotel suite. However, some experienced owners, like over at Curbed, say that you should avoid buying a new RV.
One couple discovered that their RV’s suspension was bad from the day they bought it. Considering how expensive camper vans can be, the last thing owners want to do is shell out money for immediate repairs. Why are RVs so expensive if they break down more easily than other vehicles?
How much does an RV cost?
Campers that aren’t powered by an engine are the cheapest options for prospective RV owners. Some travel trailers and pop-up campers can retail for below $20,000 and come equipped with many standard amenities. A fifth-wheel trailer is more expensive at $50,000 while the luxury variants can cost around $140,000.
A motorhome powered by either a gas or diesel engine starts at around $55,000. The luxury motorhomes can cost almost $200,000, often equipped with multiple spacious living areas, plus Wi-Fi and satellite television. However, it’s important to remember that the more features your camper has, the more repairs it will require eventually.
Various quality issues
Since RVs are so pricey, owners want these vehicles to last a long time. This is difficult, considering the nature of assembly. Dealers explain that, unlike a car, RVs require a lot of manual construction. This means that there is a wider margin for human error.
As a result, many new RVs have a reputation for poor quality. Owners often find that the van is missing crucial components, like tank flushes. Some owners also reported that the doorknobs and latches were broken on their new models.
Manufacturers have also had to resort to using cheaper materials due to high tariff prices. In all likelihood, the growing demand for RVs may cause these quality issues to get worse. However, the RV Industry Association is reportedly opening an RV Technical Institute. The association hopes that teaching specialized RV building techniques will improve the quality of future models.
What RV industry professionals have to say
Troubling accounts from RV technicians prove that shoddy construction isn’t the fault of the consumer. According to one Reddit thread, manufacturers are aware that drivers will have problems after a certain amount of time. Another user responded that RVs are built too quickly, recounting one instance where one was built in just seven hours.
However, some users also chimed in to say that not all recreational vehicles are unreliable. One family member had purchased a LazyDaze model in the early ’90s. The user said that it’s is still running fine considering its age. Other users had success with Lance travel trailers as well as Dynamax motorhomes.
One thing mentioned in all these positive recommendations in the condition of the RVs. Users say that as long as you keep your camper in pristine condition, you won’t have too many problems.
How to make your RV last for years
Many first-time recreational vehicle owners think of it as a regular car, so they’re completely unprepared for typical maintenance. In reality, maintaining your model is essentially as important as making repairs on a physical home. This is even more important if you own a motorhome that may travel for miles on the highway.
In addition to routine car maintenance, frequently check on your water waste system, which should be flushed regularly. Since RVs are very vulnerable to leaks, keep an eye on the seams and roof seals. A little extra work in the present will prevent costly future repairs.