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Motor Home Quality: Why is it so poor?

  Norman Taylor & Associates
  August 18, 2008

I was talking with a motor home client the other day. He said, “if you are going to purchase a motor home, you better be handy at fixing things.”

This bothered me for a couple reasons. My first thought was, if I spend two or three hundred thousand dollars for anything, I do not want to spend time fixing it. I want to enjoy it!

Go ahead, look through the promotional material for a Class A motor home. Search for the section where it says, if the walls begin to de-laminate here’s what you do to fix it. Guess what? You won’t find one word about what you have to do to fix your new motor home. It came with a warranty. The warranty says in essence that if it isn’t exactly what was advertised, they will make it like new. The dealership will repair it.

In the real world, repairs made at the dealership often leave the vehicle in worse shape than it was before they started work. Having reviewed hundreds of Lemon Motor Home, RV, and 5th Wheel Lemon law cases I have seen this over and over.

Years ago I thought it would be nice to buy a motor home and go traveling with my wife. I’d still like to travel in a leisurely way but I probably won’t buy a motor home since I am not handy at all. It’s not the same when you buy a house. I’ll fix what I can and when I can’t, I’ll hire someone to fix it.

When I review a common list of defects for a normal motor home maintenance visit it’s always at least two pages. Most of the defects can be fixed and if the dealership would just do this, most motor home owners would leave and get on with their travels, no harm, no foul.

That’s not how it is. There is this thing called service, or attitude as it is more commonly described in modern slang. If you wanted to be treated like a fool, have every problem that occurs blamed on you, treated like you cannot tie your shoes unassisted, never called back when promises are made to call, buy a motor home. If this were simply my opinion, I wouldn’t write it. Go to Google, enter RV poor quality as a search. You will get to read page after page of motor home quality horror stories. I am still optimist enough to believe someone out there has bought a good motor home, RV or 5th wheel.

Sometimes I think I understand why we tolerate and purchase such abysmal junk. Part of it is thinking nothing can be done about it. Have we become so disillusioned in the market place we are getting what we expect? I am of the opinion that the market place, that’s you and me, refusing to accept poor work or rotten service sets the standard. If we lower the bar and say, “oh well, that’s just the way it is,” we’ll get crapped on. If we snarl and take the manufacturers and dealers to task, insist on quality and proper customer service, we will get a better product.

I understand, folks get to the point of retirement don’t need any strife in their life. They have been there and done that. But letting a bad manufacturer or dealer take advantage of your good natures cannot be accepted. Like any other evil that is “tolerated” it can become institutionalized, and that is a very bad thing. It’s like having no expectation of a politician other than venality and greed. We get what we permit.

I would like to hear from you, the people who own and use motor homes, see what you think. We used to make fine things. What happened to real quality?

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