We’ve heard all about it: The poor quality of RVs coming out of manufacturing plants during the past few years. Blame has been assigned to company bosses who set unreasonable production goals. Fault is also placed at the feet of crew bosses who continually urge their line laborers to “work faster.” Blame has also fallen on unskilled and/or unprofessional workers who seem okay just slapping things together. And on it goes.
Could newbies be blamed?
I was recently reading some posts on an RV forum. Here, folks offered a unique perspective about the poor quality of today’s RVs. I thought it was interesting. Maybe you will, too. Here’s what a few people had to say:
L.W. said, “I’m not defending anyone (dealers or manufacturers), but how many of the issues were ‘new owner’ imposed? I’m sorry, but the sheer number of people who have never set foot in a camper before and expect them to work exactly like a S&B home is incredible. I belong to a FB group for a specific RV brand. I cannot believe how many ‘newbies’ break something by incorrectly performing a job (like emptying the tanks) and then blame the manufacturer.”
John M. agrees: “Do these new RVers not read their rig’s manuals? I’d laugh at their shenanigans if it wasn’t so sad. And the manufacturing company is to blame for poor quality in RVs? Not in every case!”
Vera chimes in: “I’ve watched a ‘newbie RVer’ try to hook up to the electrical posts while their better half attempts to get control of the water hose. Not a good combination!”
Joe B. remembers, “I had a guy move in next to me. He wondered if I had room in my fridge for his beer. When I asked ‘Why?’ he said his fridge was broken. It was a brand-new RV! Turns out, the Newbie couldn’t figure out how to unlatch the fridge handles, and he made the mistake of using a little too much force. Handles broke off. He’s not worried though. He says it’s under warranty. That’s not poor RV quality. That’s user blunder.”
And then there was L.J.: “A fifth-wheel rig pulled into the site next to me. It was a circus! The Newbies knew nothing about hooking up, using the convenience center, had no sewer connections, etc. They CUT OFF the end of their sewer hose to ‘adapt’ it to the ‘correct length’ (to the sewer). I offered to help when they first pulled in, but they weren’t interested.”
What to do?
Here are some suggestions for experienced RVers
- Kindly (and humbly) offer to help the newbie. Maybe a disclaimer like “We were all newbies once” will help break the ice. However, use caution. Not everyone is able to accept assistance. Others want to perform RV chores for themselves so that they can learn.
- Encourage the newbie’s attempts. Give suggestions when asked. Otherwise, one offer to help is usually enough.
- Don’t hover, but be available if newbie decides s/he needs your help.
Advice for the newbie
- Read your RV owner’s manual. Really read it! Take it with you. Every. Trip. Or download it to your laptop so you’ll have easy access to it.
- If your dealer or private seller didn’t give you a manual, ask the manufacturer for one. Or see if you can find a manual for your RV online.
- Accept the fact that you don’t know everything about RVing. Humbly receive advice and help from those who have more experience. (Trust your gut. If the advice seems unreliable, graciously thank your neighbor, then get a second opinion.)
- Call your dealer with your questions or ask the private seller for problem-solving suggestions.
- Join a group or forum that deals with your specific make and model of RV. You can gain a lot of knowledge from reading about problems that others have faced—and solved.
- Be patient with yourself, your travel partner, and well-meaning experienced RVers. Take your time when tackling new chores or procedures.
- Have fun! Even the most frustrating experience will be a fond memory one day. “Hey, remember that time we broke the (insert part) and spent (insert the obnoxious repair bill amount)? Fun times, right?”
What advice would you give to a newbie?