Most RVers buy their RV based on the “Bling” — what it looks like. “Oh, I just love the floor plan,” says the wife. “I love that it has a Cummins engine,” says the husband. And they talk about how they can manage the monthly payments if they just watch their other spending. “Let’s do it!” they say, very excited.
But wait: They are so in love with the idea of exploring the highways with a rolling comfy home on wheels, going where they want, when they want, that they don’t pay attention to a whole lot of details. Very bad! “Oh, we’ll camp by a mountain lake and I’ll fish and you can sit outside with your favorite book,” he says to her.
But here is some of what most customers have not even considered (which is the way many manufacturers want it, especially those of inexpensive RVs):
• If they are buying the RV in the summer, how do they know how well the heater will work in December?
• If they are buying the RV in winter, will the air conditioner(s) do the job in July?
• How well are the kitchen cabinets constructed? Are they attached so poorly that they might fall down on an especially bumpy highway?
• How much closet space is there?
• How easy is it watch the TV? Will they get a stiff neck bending it to watch their favorite show?
• What’s the quality of the carpet? It can vary. The carpet in a cheap RV will wear out far faster than in a quality one.
• Where are the electric plugs? A manufacturer is required to put in a certain number of plugs based on an RV’s length: If they want to save money they can place the plugs close to each other, saving significant money on wiring. They know most buyers won’t even pay attention. So if you use a CPAP machine when sleeping, be sure there’s a plug near the bed.
• How well is the couch made? Will it fall apart in a couple of years? Same for the bed? Manufacturers put cheap furniture in cheap RVs. They’ve got to make a profit, right?
• Do you like the graphics on the exterior? Customers likely don’t realize that not all graphics are the same — cheap RVs have cheap graphics that may look great at first, but will fade or crack within a year or two. Those on more expensive RVs cost the RV manufacturer more and will last longer.
• How loud is the water pump? Does it sound like a garbage disposal, or is it quiet (that costs a manufacturer more)?
• How well-insulated is the RV? Insulating costs money. The less a manufacturer uses, the more money it saves.
• How good is the foam in the dinette cushions? Will it soon compress and leave you sitting on the plywood base?
A $30,000 RV and a $60,000 RV may look the same without a close inspection. Many RVers don’t look very closely. They just fall in love, pick the cheaper model, pay and drive away.