Maybe you shouldn’t own a motorhome. Sound advice if you are expecting a zero-defect experience with your Newmar coach or with any brand of coach for that matter. This post, Newmar Dutch Star Problems, is one of the most popular posts on our website. And I suspect it is due to people searching about problems with Newmar coaches.
I was asked if I had second thoughts about purchasing a Newmar coach. Absolutely not. This was my reply:
Newmar customer service has been excellent and our dealer has also been helpful. However, there are definitely quality control issues.
I think the RV industry as a whole faces some fundamental issues related to how they manufacture their product. For the most part, they are assembling a coach from a variety of suppliers and building to order without the same advances in quality control that the automotive industry has achieved.
Orders increased significantly as stock markets recovered and more people decided to go upscale and purchase Class A motorhomes with higher end finishes and features. Suppliers cut corners to squeeze out more margin. New labor not as skilled throughout the supply chain and the final assembly. Pressure to get product out the door to meet the increase in demand.
Once outside the relatively short warranty period, RV manufacturers let their customers work out the defects in their product by redirecting them to suppliers.
When our Oasis system pump failed after literally only a few weeks of use, it was not Newmar who owned the issue. We were passed on to the supplier. It would be like owning a GM car, having a faulty engine and being told by GM to call the supplier of the engine to resolve the issue.
For a product that costs half a million Canadian or more, there is an assumption that the product has a higher level of quality. And it isn’t the case. The RV industry cuts corners where it can to maximize unit profitability.
You will often hear people tell you to purchase a coach used to avoid the steep depreciation of a new coach — not unusual to see 40% or more of a hit in the first two years of owning new. And, if you purchase a coach that has been used, many of the initial defects will have been resolved by the original owner (hopefully).
We went in knowing that there would be problems and that there will continue to be problems. Class A motorhomes are simply not built to the same level of quality as a Toyota or a Ford.
There are really only a small group of builders and Newmar would certainly be amongst the better companies.
The industry seems to get along without addressing some of these quality issues. Business has been very robust over the past five years. Despite some real horror stories out there.
For the most part, Newmar owners like their coaches and put up with the quality issues, tackling them as just a normal part of the ownership experience.
As long as you have that expectation going in, a Newmar coach is likely better than most in the market.
This recent thread on iRV2 was started by a frustrated Newmar owner. We have met a few of them on the road. He wants a different customer experience than what the RV industry will provide.
The best response to his comments? This one.
First of all, my message was focussing on POST warranty issues. But, what came to light was that most of you believe that owning a MH is a DIY HOBBY. As a Heavy Equipment Mechanic in a prior life and a master at DIY, and owning 3 homes besides the MH, I find my time or desire for a DIY hobby was not the plan. In fact, if the MH industry marketed to DIY guys they would go broke. I know this as I have met loads of clueless people on the road that do not know the business end of a screwdriver, never mind the ability to Google solutions.
In response to someone’s comment, “Maybe you shouldn’t own a MH!” Is that a joke? LOL!!
I’ll just focus on the two points above.
To the second, no, it’s not a joke. It’s unfortunate, but you fall into the same category of most dissapointed MH owners, who didn’t do his research and thought buying a MH was like buying a car. It isn’t, from Newmar or elsewhere, and that’s easily discoverable with less than an hour of research on the internet.
So, you went into this endeavor uninformed and with unrealistic expectations, based on the reality of motorhomes being produced today.
We may not like it, but it’s a reality and it wouldn’t have taken much research, such as basic research to see which manufacturers are the most reliable, that quickly reveals what owning a motorhome entails and what realistic expectations are.
As to the first paragraph, leaving the snarkyness aside, again, you are naive in this regard. If you own a motorhome, you have three choices:
1. Be willing to fix the small things yourself whenever possible
2. Be prepared to have it spend a fair amount of time (depending on your dealer, weeks or months) waiting for repairs
3. Be prepared to drive it back to the factory (if the factory does repair work) on a fairly regular basis
That’s the reality of owning a motorhome. It’s not like owning a car. These things aren’t put together like cars, and they aren’t comparable to a house, as they are built like a house, but go down bumpy roads at 65 MPH like a car. Then to add to the problem, the manufacturers are churning them out as fast as they can, and QC has suffered for a very long time, and that’s left to owners to find, and dealers to fix, which then puts a great strain on dealer service departments, which is why many won’t even work on coaches (especially under warranty) that weren’t bought from them.
That’s reality. It’s fine to complain about reality, but that won’t change it. It’s much better to be informed and then decide if the “reality” of MH ownership is something you want in your life.
Such good advice. If you came to this post wondering about the ownership experience and you are worried about having issues with a motorhome, then maybe you shouldn’t own one.
We take the issues that come with the motorcoach experience in stride. Overall our Newmar is a terrific machine and we are thoroughly enjoying our new life in retirement living out of our beautiful coach.