From reader John Sargent of Tucson, Arizona
The RV quality situation from manufacturers and service departments is well documented, yet uneducated buyers are a real contributing problem. Here’s a solution from the buyers’ view. I have been RVing since 1979: 3 class A’s, 1 trailer and 2 class B’s — more than 200,000 RV miles.
Buyers might want to do some homework on the quality differences between manufacturers. Look at Facebook groups and manufacturers’ websites. Buying a coach without having both plumbing and electrical diagrams is asking for trouble.
Buyers should take responsibility for educating themselves about their coach before they take delivery. Download and read the manuals. Have both the pilot and any copilot be educated to the same degree.
Buyers must recognize that any leverage with a dealer is lost when payment is made.
Buyers obtain an advantage when they realize the buyer walk-through is a time to verify the dealers PDI (pre-delivery inspection) process. This will require some investment in education for the buyer. Use the Internet to create a buyer’s walk-through checklist. Use your phone camera to take pix or videos of specific processes and actions.
The buyer’s goal should be zero defects before the purchase is complete. Buyers need to communicate this to the dealer during the sales process. Be prepared to stop the delivery process if faults need to be fixed. Always schedule a walk-through and delivery for Monday or Tuesday, never for Thursday or Friday. Provides time to get parts, do repairs.
Get to know the service manager before you buy. Understand how to get service in a timely manner.
Buyers need to be willing and able to do small repairs, minor gluing, screwing, etc., in order to avoid long waits to fix little stuff later. Assemble an RV toolkit. There are plenty of suggestions on the Internet in owner forums, etc.
Buyers should educate themselves on the major components not made by the RV manufacturer: generators, fridges, LP systems, water pumps, roof AC, awning, roof fans, microwaves, etc. Know the warranty and service policies for each device. In many cases it’s easier to go directly to these companies than the RV manufacturer to fix stuff during the warranty period, and after, as well.
If you are going full-time or close to it, contact the manufacturer and speak to the vice-presidents of marketing, service, or dealer relations to confirm how you can get dealer service on your coach while on the road, not from the selling dealer. Capture all names, telephone numbers and emails. On one class A motorhome I was planning to use for full-timing the VP said, “If you ever have a problem getting service on the road, call me, I will take care of it.” I understand this is for major items, not something an educated owner can fix in 15 minutes.
Learn if the RV manufacturer holds any annual meetups or events. Often you can get warranty and post-warranty service during these events at little or no cost. Keep a log, document all your calls, emails, visits so you can clearly explain what you have done to resolve any issues.
Just my 2 cents.