So we have officially hit our 6 month mark of hauling our family in an RV around the country. There’s the constant back and forth when buying an RV if you should buy new or used. There are for sure benefits to both and here is why.
Although we have never owned a used RV, we have owned a used house before and we can back up a lot of these statements. When you buy used you are hoping the previous owner fixed all the major things unless your buying as is and your job now is gonna be routine maintenance and some aesthetic updates here and there. The older the property for sure major things like roofs and flooring along with major appliances will need updating and replacing. Our home was 20 years old when we bought it and while living in it we replaced the roof and gutters and updated all lighting, painted and bought a new fridge. The previous owners had just replaced the furnace and water heater, stove & dishwasher before we moved in and for sure the next owners will need to think about siding and windows in their near future. So like a regular house an RV home needs the same kinda love and upkeep.
So why is buying new just as big a gamble as used?
Originally we were not gonna buy new, due to the previously stated facts above as well as budget. We went to a few RV shows just so we could walk in a bunch of models all at once to get a feel for our wants and needs. At our first show we discovered the Midbunk model and it was all down hill from there. This is a fairly new concept in the RV world and it is very rare to find any used ones for sale at the time we were looking. So new it was gonna be for us so we focused on the pros of owning new!
Buying new means no one has lived in it previously so everything should be new and work like new, right? Depending on the company and RV dealer you purchase from you will get a warranty for a few years to utilize in case things do break, and they always do. Being new to the RV world this was appealing to us. A new RV means no one has lived in it so any allergies you may have to pets or smoke will not be a factor to have to worry about. We have relatives who purchased an RV that was stationary and previous owners hid mothballs everywhere, even under the trailer where it sits all year round. They have found most of them and removed them but I still cannot linger inside of it for long do to the smell. A new model should also not have any hidden things wrong like leaks, mold or infestation that sometimes goes unnoticed even upon an inspection. Then there is the fact you can decorate anyway you want and not have to reverse others personal style and tastes. The RV industry is pretty standard with its interior design or lack there of, so most know what their in for with the decor upon a new purchase.
When you live in your RV fulltime and travel with it a lot of things are gonna need more tending to than if your a weekend warrior and only doing a handful of excursions a year. We knew this and were prepared, or so we thought! We decided on Grand Design because of their reputation for producing a far superior RV and above and beyond customer service. We looked at a couple of competitors midbunk models and you could tell the workmanship in the Grand Design was higher quality. But and it’s a really big but, most of these RV companies purchase the same parts from the same companies. It’s like buying a can of peas, you can buy generic or a trusted mainstream companies. Most likely they are the same product, packaged in the same warehouse just with a different label and one costs more. You may be one of the lucky ones who just happens to get the rig where everyone who assembled it was on their A-game or it could have been assembled by a disgruntled employee who is overworked and has health problems and couldn’t care less if there is 1 or 10 screws holding up the cabinet.
So all that being said it’s a crap shoot and in the end we wanted a company that if things went wrong would work with us not against us to get it fixed fast. Grand Design (now owned by Winnebago) again and again gets all of this hype and in our experience has lived up to it. I’ve heard a lot of complaints about other companies not handling warranty work well. But warranty work is a whole other beast of a blog unto itself for another day to discuss. Check out a video of the first day we picked up our Grand Design Reflection 2016 367bhs https://youtu.be/D-61ur4UiZU.
OK, here is our good, bad and ugly list of what has needed to be fixed in our first 6 months:
- Water pump – bought new one
- Furnace – had it serviced and now it works (out for pocket)
- Toilet -GD shipped new one & we installed & it happened again, its the foot petal (GD send another one)
- Floor divot from slide – covered with peal & stick flooring
- Wall outlets – bought new ones(box, outlet & cover)
- Closet hanging bar broke off- replaced our self
- Back window seal – still leaks when it rains sideways
- Slide rubber seal – GD sent replacement to dealership and they adjusted slides.
- Propane regulator – bought new one
- Leaky breaks – Lippert sent out techs to fix, so far so good!
- Door clasp that keeps it shut – our fault, Replaced our self
- Slide molding – our fault, still not fixed
- Outdoor water filter attachment, got different water filter
- AC in midbunk – DIY fan fix https://youtu.be/1dkwi2gIniQ
- Propane pigtail – bought new one
- Shower sealed incorrectly – silicone
- Cargo Carrier hitch bent – user error as well as I-10 in Louisiana should be avoided at all costs! We went with a different model 2nd time around, this was the 2nd cargo carrier & upgraded generator cover we purchased!
So do we regret buying new after looking at this laundry list of things that we’ve had to fix the past 6 months? No way! We love our rig, the midbunk has been such a great layout for our families needs. There was no way of knowing any of these things would happen and there is no way of knowing what will need fixing on a used RV either. Some of the things listed were completely rookie mistakes on our part, others are what you should just expect when you travel fulltime. Some are personal concerns cause we want to boondock more that not and need things to function properly w/o being hooked up to power.
Hopefully we have shook out all the major things that need fixing for a while and can enjoy our lifestyle a bit without having to be in fix-it mode.
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