RVers often have a love-hate relationship with RV manufacturers. Every post we see from RVers complimenting an RV manufacturer leads to a chain of negative comments.
Most of the complaints are a bit on the dramatic side, but many RV manufacturers are guilty of committing one or more of the seven deadly sins of RV manufacturers.
Today, we’re sharing the seven deadly sins of RV manufacturers and what you should look for in an RV manufacturer. Let’s get started!
Who Are the Big Three RV Manufacturers?
People who refer to RV manufacturers “big three” mean Forest River, Thor Industries, and Winnebago Industries Inc.
Each of these companies produces multiple RVs. If you can think of a brand of RV, there’s a good chance it falls under one of these massive RV manufacturers. Airstream? Thor owns it. Cedar Creek? Forest River builds those RVs. Grand Design? You guessed it, Winnebago makes it.
How Many Different RV Manufacturers Are There?
Counting all of the different RV manufacturers would be an impossible task. There are large and small manufacturers producing all different types of rigs. However, we tried to count as many as possible and ran out of fingers and toes when we hit 100.
Some estimates are that there are at least 114 known RV manufacturers. However, this number is constantly changing and fluctuating for various reasons. It’s safe to say there’s no shortage of competition regarding RV manufacturers.
Pro Tip: Can you guess which Huge RV Manufacturer Owns Over 20 Different Brands?
The Seven Deadly Sins of RV Manufacturers
Some RV manufacturers are better than others, but none are perfect. They have all committed one or more deadly RV manufacturer sins and fallen short of customer expectations. Let’s dive into the seven deadly sins of RV manufacturers.
Keep in mind: this is an editorial article based on opinions.
Bad Quality Control
Despite many RV manufacturers claiming extensive pre-delivery inspections, it’s not uncommon for them to miss some essential things. We’ve heard horror stories of RVers ordering custom full-body paint and other upgrades on their rigs, only for their rig to arrive at the dealership with the wrong color or paint scheme.
They have to either take the rig as is or wait weeks or even months longer for the rig they initially ordered.
Many quality control inspections don’t take the time to test appliances and systems. Many problems go unnoticed until the new owner takes their rig out for its maiden voyage. It’s not uncommon for new owners to come home with a massive list of issues they’ve discovered. To make matters worse, correcting the problems could mean leaving a rig parked at the repair shop for an extended time.
If you haven’t heard, there’s recently been a massive worker shortage across all industries, including the RV industry. Many RV manufacturers must hire any warm body, whether they have experience or not, that they can find to put on their assembly lines.
The massive increase in demand for RVs has caused manufacturers to overwork experienced and inexperienced workers.
Quality tends to suffer when inexperienced and overworked workers quickly throw together RVs. Things may look good on the surface, but if you look closely, you begin to see the results of inexperienced and tired workers.
Many inexperienced and overworked workers will take shortcuts to get the job done. Shortcuts may get the job done quicker and allow workers to move on to the next rig but often produce an inferior product. These shortcuts tend to become evident the more it gets used and can leave customers having to fix things that workers messed up the first time.
More RV manufacturers are guilty of this sin than we’d like to see. However, some manufacturers pride themselves on catching these issues and immediately addressing them with workers.
Using Low-Quality Construction Materials
RV manufacturers have to balance creating quality RVs but still making a profit. Some focus more on making a profit than making quality RVs, and it shows.
They’ll say they use certain construction materials because they’re lightweight. While that might be true, the materials are often lighter because they’re of lower quality. Manufacturers often easily hide inferior materials in walls and places RV owners aren’t likely to see or notice.
Inconsistent Customer Service
One of the worst of the seven deadly sins for RV manufacturers is inconsistent customer service. Customers depend on RV manufacturers to stand by their products and provide service after they sign on the dotted line. Sadly, that’s not always the case.
Many RV owners find that manufacturers let them down once they take ownership of their rig.
Not returning phone calls, denying warranty claims, and passing the buck to other employees are often some of the greatest disappointments for customers. They simply want the company to do the right thing and help them when they’re in need.
Poor Installation of Appliances
How appliances get installed in a rig can dramatically impact their lifespan. Poor ventilation and air circulation can cause some devices to overheat from time to time, which drastically reduces their lifespan.
Sadly, many of these appliances will often last just long enough to make it past any potential warranties that might cover replacing them. RV owners must pay out of their pockets to replace these expensive appliances. The fact that these issues cost RVers thousands of dollars makes this a sin in our book.
Over the last couple of years, supply shortages have rocked almost every industry, including RVs. The scarcity of minor pieces can cause a significant delay in shipping RVs out to dealerships and customers waiting for their rigs.
While air conditioners are far from small parts, we’ve heard some manufacturers having to issue IOUs to buyers because they couldn’t supply a second or third air conditioning unit. Some manufacturers had to change the metal colors because a different color would have caused a severe delay.
Pro Tip: We did a deep dive to uncover Are There Any Decent RV Manufacturers in 2022?
Watch for RV Manufacturers Committing These Deadly Sins
As we’ve said, some RV manufacturers are better than others. However, most RV manufacturers commit at least one of the deadly sins from time to time. Owning an RV can be a gratifying but also somewhat frustrating experience.
If you pick the right RV manufacturer who doesn’t commit any of these seven deadly sins, there’s a good chance you’ll have a tremendous RVing experience.
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