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Here’s another RV dealer perspective on the quality of new rigs

Our recent story on the quality issues associated with RV manufacturing continues to stir a lot of interest among the RV industry as well as RV owners and potential owners.

Josh Winters of Haylett Auto & RV Supercenter in Coldwater, Michigan, later posted a video on YouTube (see below) with his take on quality issues in the RV business. We strongly suggest that you watch the video. It’s one more window into the current mindset of RV dealers in the U.S. who must continuously balance the quality of rigs they receive from manufacturers with the quality they want to provide to their customers.

To be clear, we at RVtravel.com are not in any way “out to get” RV manufacturing companies. Without them, there isn’t an RVing lifestyle for any of us to enjoy. We do see ourselves as advocates for experiencing the joys of RVing. But in order for the RVing lifestyle to be truly enjoyed, owners must have confidence in their RVs.

Part of our responsibility to our readers is to keep them informed when things aren’t going right. That’s why you’ll see stories on RVtravel.com that keep tabs on international supply chain issues, diesel DEF system problems, fuel costs and, yes, the quality of the RVs arriving on dealer lots.

We applaud Josh Winters and his organization for being one of the few dealers willing to very publicly go “out there” on YouTube and clearly communicate what the RVing world looks like from his perspective.

Our original story on RV quality three weeks ago was a small window into the thoughts and feelings of just a handful of RV dealers. Obviously, we can’t know the situation at every dealership in the U.S.

Likewise, it would be unfair for anyone to say that the quality issues facing several large RV manufacturers are occurring at all RV plants across the nation. Certainly, everyone is affected by parts and labor issues. But some seem to be dealing with quality issues better than others. We’ll continue to report on RV quality, and we’ll be sure to tell you when we find manufacturers doing it right, as well as wrong.

At the end of the day, it has never been more important for RV buyers to do their homework before making a purchase. That includes talking with fellow RVers, keeping tabs on websites and newsletters like ours, and closely inspecting your potential new RV before you buy.

In the meantime, we’d again suggest you take 15 minutes and 17 seconds and listen to what Josh Winters has to say. It just might add a new perspective to a very complicated issue.

Here’s Josh’s video:

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Donald N Wright
3 months ago

Josh and RVTravel, thank you.

Gary Saville
5 months ago

When you buy an RV just remember you are the Quality Control for the manufacturer. So find all the issues as soon as you can or you may be out of luck on the inital warranty. And don’t be afraid to use an Attorney if you have to.

Leo
6 months ago

I am seventy five years old and came from European Show people that lived in trailers, not called RV’s but the same size back in the old days. The units were better built, better laid out for living, better insolation and better quality all around. A family of four could live in them even in our winter quarters. Some were built better then others but all were built to last and some are even still around. Some how the integrity of the business got compromised for the fast buck.
As you say you can pay $500,000. and still don’t get your money’s worth.

Leo
6 months ago

Cheap materials, poor workmanship, electrical outlets that are attached to the flexible paneling with out a backboard, cheapest air conditioning that roar so loud that you don’t want to turn them on in the hottest of weather and then don’t really cool even with two units. I can understand keeping down the cost of the unit but these are qualities that are basic to a quality unit and comfortable living experience.
I find problems like hot and cold faucets hooked up backwards and drawers not squared. As long as the unit is eye appealing and can attract a potential buyer that is the main concern of the manufacturer. There is enough new costumers not to worry about the ones that got burnt.

Leo
6 months ago

Part of the problem is greed.
If the manufacturer buys the cheapest materials to build with and the production line have no pride in their work and the plant doesn’t have a production manager watching the line how do you expect to have a quality built RV ?

Bob P
7 months ago

Probably the main reason the quality is so poor is the RV manufacturers have quit drug testing employees. If someone is high on dope they can’t do their job correctly. I know this sounds and is political but as long as the current administration keeps paying people to not work the only people who apply for work are the ones needing money for their habit. Here in TN if you’re looking for work you have your choice of where you want to work because everybody is advertising for help. Another thing that would help in the repair end is if RV dealers had to honor manufacturers warranties like car dealerships where if they sell that brand they have to honor the warranty. That’s why you can’t get a dealer that didn’t sell the unit to work on it, the selling dealer will honor your warranty but breakdown on the road and you get put on the back row until all his customers are taken care of.

Marcus Carmouche
4 months ago
Reply to  Bob P

As a tech I can tell you you are right on nearly every aspect of your post. But in reference to your last sentence that goes back to workers. Good rv techs are very hard to find mainly due to the variety of skills involved you have to be a good at plumbing, carpentry, Ac/Dc voltage, mechanical, electronics, body work metal and fiberglass, painting ect.. A mechanic only has to mechanic and a plumber only plumbing if they can’t find people imagine how hard it is to find ones that do multiple job skills. I don’t know of a dealership in Louisiana that isn’t looking for 3 or 4 techs that’s why we have to take care of the customers that bought from us first. We have 2 techs left in our shop we need 7 more it’s December and we are booked till June. I understand the customers frustration as well but it all goes back to the president giving everyone free money in my opinion.

Nicholas T Huppert
3 months ago

Yeah, can’t help but agree that, despite some people being legitimately helped out by the stimulus money, ever since Trump started the program inflation and apathy has spiked.

Tommy
7 months ago

I would not buy a new rig of any kind. It takes 2 years to work out the kinks that require you to take it back to the selling dealer with all the miles and whatever time is required. Another dealer may do the work but you’ll will be on their lowest priority list. Best option is to buy 2 year old used in excellent condition and add an extended warranty if you must, but for one that any service shop can do the work wherever you happen to be, not only “dealers”.

Marcus
4 months ago
Reply to  Tommy

The main thing to check on extended warranty is what is covered LOTS are mechanical failure only which is garbage.

Drew
7 months ago

I like Josh but he’s an rv dealer. He has to sell what he has regardless.

John Kavanaugh
7 months ago

This is the problem. Excuses instead of honesty.

Ray
7 months ago

Josh just babbled for fifteen minutes and said almost nothing.

Smokey877
7 months ago

My wife and I were just about the drop $150k on a motor home C Class. After reading here and other forums in the past couple weeks I am so glad we didn’t. As a first time RV buyer, I would be in over my head and don’t need the repair problems being mentioned. I already have a bathroom contractor that I paid $25k to remodel just the shower and guess what? In 6 months it is leaking already onto the LR ceiling. And the bo*b is the Prez of the remodelers assoc and refuses to even look at it under his 1 yr warranty. I’m too old for this crap. If I can’t do it, it ain’t getting done and this includes crawling on top or under an RV or being stuck 1,000 miles from home because of poor workmanship. Good luck!

Dobsonion
7 months ago
Reply to  Smokey877

@Smokey877 You made the right decision. I’ve owned Class C’s for 13 years, and am familiar with the experiences of dozens of other RV owners. EVERYONE has stories of poor build quality, or poor long-term reliability. No matter if they spent $10,000 or $500,000. On my new $100k 2018 model, the A/C failed, refrigerator failed, batteries failed, vent failed. Mine is the most well known brand. Getting service is painful. The dirty little secret RV owners do not want to admit is that for the first few years of RV ownership, they are paying $200-$300 per night. Get a nice hotel room, condo or rental house.

Smokey877
7 months ago

The answer to this issue is very simple. Lemon laws. They work for the auto industry so why wouldn’t they work here. 3 times to fix an issue and within a certain amount of time or you get your money back. I can hear the RV builders puckering up as I type. Next, every one with problems should be contacting the consumer division of their states’ attorney general office. Do NOT screw with the BBB, they are worthless and part of a whole other problem. I have had consumer issues here in Ohio and the AG’s office has always got the companies to get off the porta-pot. Lemon law. Get your legislators involved and get these enacted. You would be surprised how easy it is. This problem is NOT going to fix itself unless people don’t start rattling the cage.

Bob P
7 months ago
Reply to  Smokey877

The lyrics to the song “If you got the money I’ve got the time” applies to your statement. If you have the money to contribute to the campaigns of your politicians like the industries do you’ll get your elected officials attention. Otherwise you’re wasting your time, money talks and b…s..t walks.

John Bloxham
7 months ago

A lot of the video was an advertisement for his dealership. It seemed like he was only referring to trailers. Most trailers are of low quality any way. What a lot of people in my circle are concerned with is Motor Homes. They definitely have decreased in quality builds.

Smokey877
7 months ago
Reply to  John Bloxham

I would have to agree.

John J Boyd
7 months ago

Great video. I purchased a Freedom Express by Coachmen. Forest River is the Manufacturer. purchase decision was based on quality hardware and appliances. Inventory was low and so I bought under pressure.

First camping trip the electric fireplace failed and tripped the site breaker. Turns out the fire place was shorted by incorrect installation and was repaired by taking it out. Checking for damage and reinstallation. Now it works fine. Has an issue with a curtain. It took three trips to get an answer. The screws hit the frame and could not be set correctly, thus the first time you pull them down it tears the curtain. The dealer fix was to install spacers to allow the screws to set properly and the curtain to work without tearing.

I have tested every function of my trailer and all works fine. This is my second RV and I can’t underscore the need to learn and ask questions and don’t buy unless you get answers.

1HasBeen
7 months ago

Josh tries to do good in an industry that makes it difficult. While I was not an RV dealer, I have been a dealer in a few other industries, for companies ranging from regional to global. If a manufacturer I represented sold a product that was sub-par I would not stock it, or, if the manufacturer required us to stock it, which does happen, I would diplomatically try to steer folks away from it. Naturally, you can’t bash a manufacturer to the public at large. Conversely, at dealer meetings, or on the rare opportunity to “have the ear” of upper management, I would be brutally forthright in calling them out. There were instances where I dumped a brand when they refused to improve, even at my own expense. Since the vast majority of production RVs are “Lippert catalog builds”, there is basically no way to escape the junk, short of leaving the industry.

And that, in a nutshell, is the difference in perspective between Josh’s consumer-facing video, and a dealer conference call.

Suru
7 months ago

A big problem is the RV manufacturers are sending out junk. Then the consumer buys it. Things break right away and the consumer has to take it back to the dealer. It sits at the dealer for weeks or months waiting for parts or waiting in line behind a hundred other RVs that need to be fixed. All the while the consumer is paying for, or already paid for, something they can’t use. Yet, there is no solution or recourse for the consumer. They just have to suffer. This isn’t the fault of the dealer, it’s the fault of the manufacturer and that’s where the buck should stop. Manufacturers need to get their quality control under control. I don’t think all the repairs and problems of a newly delivered trailer should be the responsibility of the dealer. That responsibility lies with the manufacturer in my opinion. BTW, Mr. Haylett seems to love the Rockwood brand. We owned a brand new Rockwood Mini Lite for 2 years. Something major broke or quit working on 17 out of 22 trips we took.

Marcus Carmouche
4 months ago
Reply to  Suru

I know Rockwoods a few years back were junk but the 2019s and up we rarely get to work on unless it’s little stuff. Don’t know what year you had but if it was in those years seems you got a lemon.

Dave Yuhas
7 months ago

I wouldn’t be bragging about a 3 out of 5 star review. The customer comments on Yelp about his dealership are not reassuring.

Jeff Arthur
5 months ago
Reply to  Dave Yuhas

Parts & warranty really let me down. Cost me a reservation at a national park ( primo site! )
All because the left hand didn’t know what the right hand was doing. The part I needed was actually there & could have been installed ( by me) in about a hour preventing the loss of that trip. 2 stars tops

Joe Childress
7 months ago

Bottom line is if the auto industry put out the junk the RV manufactures do, they would be out of business. More excuses from an industry that is a fraud………………….

Clint
7 months ago

I have been told by two large dealerships, one in Oregon and one in Denver that the most profitable segment of their business is now repairs, mostly warranty. Two factors contributed to this. The first is manufactures have squeezed the dealers with pricing that has greatly reduced their profit margins on new sales,and the second is the poor quality of new RV’s has resulted in a gold mine of repair revenue.

Marcus Carmouche
4 months ago
Reply to  Clint

As a tech I can tell you that you were definitely lied to if warranty repairs is where they make their money. It’s impossible bc of the variables involved. You can’t charge warranty for diagnosing, testing, pulling in and out of your bay, digging to find power cords in the cargo area slap full of belongings, removing and putting back personal belongings in every area you need to work, running the slides in and out, hooking up water/sewer and returning hoses where they go, packing tools and air hoses in and out of the unit, getting tickets from the service writer, taking 100s of photos for approvals, writing up causes and corrections, waiting on a qc of your work, and cleaning the mess you made in the unit. All for a bunch of .2s and .3s on average. .1=6 min. Time is money and warranty only pays for the time it took them to fix a certain problem in a lab with perfect world situations and no environmental influences. We get paid based on how many hours we flag in other words what hours we were able to bill. I’ve never even hit close to 40 on weeks I only had warranty jobs. In automotive/marine I racked up on warranty jobs.

Gary
7 months ago

So if lack of parts availability has slowed down manufacturing of RVs, then wouldn’t that give workers more time to build them with higher quality? Something doesn’t add up.