Are you considering buying a travel trailer in the future?
If so, proceed with caution.
Even the most aesthetically pleasing travel trailers can be deceiving. Here’s what the manufacturers and RV dealers aren’t willing to tell you about travel trailers.
What are Mass-Produced RVs?
Mass-produced travel trailers are campers that are quite literally produced in mass. Manufacturers pump out as many of each model as they can to fill dealership lots. Mass-produced travel trailers are usually budget or entry-level campers.
Rapid travel trailer assembly done in-mass can pass on a lot of problems to the new RV owner.
The Problem With Mass-Produced Travel Trailers
Travel trailers that are made in mass are also made with low price, lightweight materials. Rapid manufacturing combined with (usually) low-quality building materials is a recipe for disaster.
These types of travel trailers can begin to give owners issues almost immediately. Some problems may be minor, like a cabinet knob falling off.
However, other issues can be significant. The roof may leak, there may be poor fittings on the plumbing system, the walls may not be joined together well, and more.
Pr Tip: Here’s what an RV Mechanic says will break first in your RV.
Some Manufacturers Cut Corners
The harsh reality is that most RVs are not made to last. And RVs are usually not made for full-time living.
Most brand new RVs come with a one-year warranty and are made for weekend use. With only 52 weekends in a year, manufacturers can cut corners with build quality and materials.
Most travel trailers just aren’t made to live up to heavy use and wear and tear.
According to an “industry secrets” thread on Reddit, an RV technician claims that most RVs are only built to last 44 uses. An RV service manager confirms this claim, adding that many are made from the “cheapest materials possible.”
How to Know Which Brands Are High Quality
There are more low-quality RVs on the road today than high-quality. And if you want a high-quality travel trailer that’s going to last, expect to pay top dollar for it!
So how do you know what brands are high quality?
Customer Reviews and Stories
The first place to look is online. Look at brand-specific owner forums and reviews. Reading stories from actual owners is the best way to get an accurate idea of the RV quality.
Choose Well Known Brands
Go with a well-known, trusted brand. Seek out brands that put customer service and experience above all else. There is no “perfect” RV. So when purchasing an RV, it helps to know that the manufacturer is on your side!
Personally, we think Casita is a well known, well-built travel trailer.
What To Look For When Purchasing a Travel Trailer
In addition to doing online research, there are many things you can look at when you physically go to see a travel trailer.
When looking at potential travel trailers to buy, don’t be afraid to really get into it.
Examine seams around the ceiling and walls. Push on the walls.
Look in the storage bays and look at the plumbing. Operate all the systems: put out the slides, awning, leveling jacks, etc.
Take a look at the assembly of cabinets, drawers, and doors. You’ll see the build quality pretty quickly!
Should You Buy New or Used?
With the problem of low-quality new RVs, should you buy used instead?
This is a highly personal preference. New RVs depreciate immediately upong purchase. Buying used is a good idea if resale value is important to you.
New RVs come with manufacturer’s warranties that usually last a year after the date of purchase. If you purchase a used RV, you can always get an extended RV warranty.
Many RV owners will argue that older RVs contain higher-quality materials. This is anecdotal, and used RVs will have their own set of issues simply due to age and use.
Ultimately, the decision to buy new or used comes down to your personal preferences and budget. Every RV will have problems at some point, so don’t think you will avoid issues by choosing one over the other.
The Best Small RVs of 2023
If you want to dive deeper into the brands and unit we hear great things about (and have toured ourselves) You must read this article: 10 Best Tiny Trailers in 2023
We hope this article helps you on your RVing jorney!
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I think what most manufacturers count on is the fact most RVers are not full time. People purchase a trailer, use it a couple weeks out of the year, and let it sit in the backyard or at a storage facility most of the time. Most people don’t use their equipment enough that the simple act of towing the trailer down the road has a chance to shake things apart. We’re shopping for a new-to-us motorhome at the moment and I see ad after ad for equipment where the sellers say they’ve decided to get rid of their camper because they’ve owned it for x number of years but only had a chance to go camping once or twice. More people have gone camping in the past year thanks to COVID making everyone stir crazy, but as life goes back to being more normal I predict there’ll be a glut of fairly new used RVs flooding the market.
We had over 80 problems with our KZ Toy hauler in Hallie, WI. We brought it back to the dealer to have them fixed. They had our toy hauler 2 weeks and didn’t fix any of the problems. So we brought it to the manufacturer this time. They didn’t fix a lot of the issues AND they created even more! They even left some water in the tank which froze!
RVing is not for the person who has no technical knowledge or expertise. You are better off to repair yourself if you can. No RVs are not designed to fall apart after 44 hours. I have owned numerous ones. Some are just plain garbage whilst others are bullet proof.
44 uses? I to repair mine after the first and every use.
I would change that to 3 uses.
I am waiting for one positive comment about the service department of any RV / trailer company
It doesn’t matter which brand of RV you buy, they all cut corners and quality, to increase “their” bottom line. Building RV’s with quality is something that went out the window years and years ago, nonexistent today. It’s really sad considering the cost of RV’s nowadays, and what’s worse…the manufacturers could care less, all they care about is profit!!
I’ve never seen an RV that didn’t leak somewhere.
So we have an industry manufacturing pricey luxury toys, where beyond aesthetics and creature comforts, the most important feature would be durability, dependability…No matter the terrain, no matter the weather conditions, it’s getting you there and keeping you outta the elements…Hard to believe the majority of the manufacturers, aren’t trying to eventually sell you 1-2 more units down the road, which ain’t happening if the first only good for 44 uses!
All RVs are not built well. You better have a lot of money for repairs when you purchase any RV.
RVs breaking down after 44 uses… Whoever the technician is that said that is “DA”. We purchased our new RV and after using it twice it broke down and it’s been at the dealer for the past 7 months in and out. We take it on the trip and when we get back its going straight to the dealer every time. They keep telling me I don’t how to use anything in my RV, I told service people I’ve been RVing longer than they been working on them. Water heater went out three times, refrigerator once, microwave twice cooktop twice, a/c still not cooling the way it should among other items that are to many to list. Getting ready to go over the dealer and tell them they can stick it where the sun doesn’t shine and then go and get me a 5th wheel and enjoy my travels. Service after the sales at all RV dealers sucks, their technicians don’t know anything about fixing RVs or travel trailers, you can fix it yourself faster and easier.
@Alex B, You need to use the Lemon Law and get your money back. Check out RV websites as there are lawyers that specialize in this law.
@Paul Noerenberg, which ones are garbage, which ones are bullet proof? Name names.