By Russ and Tiña De Maris
The website outdoorfact.com conducted a survey of 100,000 Facebook group users asking members what brands of travel trailers they would decidedly advise NOT buying. Some 3,000 people responded. Here’s the list (in order of most-to-least) of not recommended travel trailer brands.
EDITORS NOTE: We do not know the actual methods used in this study. Some of the conclusions reached about why a particular brand was rated poorly jibe with the hundreds of postings we have observed at the Facebook group RV Horror Stories. But, we realize there are two sides to every story, so please keep that in mind.
1. Forest River (45 percent not recommended)
2. Keystone (26 percent not recommended)
3. Jayco (15 percent not recommended)
4. Coachmen (5 percent not recommended)
5. Winnebago (3 percent not recommended)
6. Fleetwood (2 percent not recommended)
7. Gulf Stream (1 percent not recommended)
Since the survey didn’t indicate specific reasons to avoid these given brands, outdoorfact.com did their own research to try and determine why these brands struck such a negative chord. Here’s a quick breakdown of their conclusions.
Forest River RV: At one time a respected industry name, FR appears to have lost customer support. Many complained about water leakage, sinking floors, and a lousy customer service track record.
Keystone Travel Trailer: Structural and technical issues topped the list of negative-feeling inducers. There were complaints of cabinet doors falling off hinges and “mediocre” furniture, and problems with the rig’s control board were mentioned. Others griped about pre-purchase issues, including a website that was difficult to navigate and find pertinent information. Consumers reported telephone helpline assistance was such that it made them wonder just how supportive the company would be post-purchase.
Jayco Travel Trailer: Here the reviewers found a mixed bag of responses. While some Jayco customers are happy with their unit, others described their purchase as, “a big waste of money.” Cited among complaints were appliances and other bling that looked great at purchase time but didn’t hold up and led to expensive repairs. Water leaks, missing fixtures, and HVAC issues were also noted.
Coachmen Travel Trailer: While earlier model Coachmen units got good marks, the consensus is that as the years have rolled by, the quality of Coachmen’s builds have fallen substantially. Water leakage, both from outside the rig and from plumbing, were cited. Others found the construction of drawers and slides were shoddy. Others noted that upgraded refrigerators left exposed wiring.
Winnebago Travel Trailer: On the list of consumer complaints was interior construction. Damaged walls and bent wall paneling were said to be a normal expectation. Components coming loose and requiring maintenance was mentioned, along with lighting that failed, leaving users in the dark. Customer service came in for a rather negative viewpoint, leaving customers feeling that the company wasn’t going to do much to help.
Fleetwood Travel Trailer: This is another brand that at one time got good marks but over time has slid in the customer-esteem polls. Mentions of Fleetwood “aging” faster than normal were on the list of complaints, as were low-voltage electrical system issues. Newer models were said to have black water tank leakage problems. And when customers brought problems to Fleetwood’s attention, the response of the company was anything but stellar.
Gulf Stream Travel Trailer: Water leakage was high on the list of complaints for Gulf Stream. Others griped about bad component installation, or simply how poorly designed the layout of some interior components tended to be. To their credit, Gulfstream got good marks for responding to customer problems, although some noted that they felt they were charged extra to get their problems fixed.
Thor Hurricane: The Hurricane received terrible reviews from many, says outdoorfact.com. Some suggested that Thor had built their “new” unit with “used” parts. True or not, there were certainly other issues of concern. Quoting outdoorfact.com: “A wide range of operation difficulties, structure weakness and malfunction features can be found all over the vehicle.” Summing up Hurricane by Thor, the reviewers wrote, “One of worst RV brands to avoid.”
Got a brand to avoid? We’d love to hear about it, and why you feel that way.