Newmar Problems

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!!
[End Quote]

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.

11 replies
  1. Joe Davis
    Joe Davis says:

    I’m thinking about a motorhome, but
    I am definitely NOT willing to be prepared to return it to the factory often
    I’m NOT willing to submit to months of repairs often.
    I DON”T think anyone else should either.
    Minor repairs–OK I get that.
    But plumbing leaks, faulty appliances, No that’s not OK.
    I’m a pilot –I’m glad they don’t make airplanes.

    • Richard
      Richard says:

      Thank you for dropping by the website. We come across so many people that get frustrated and angry in their ownership experience because they were expecting a different level of quality with their motorhome. And that expectation was not based on any research or on any discussions with people in the RV community. We’ve had our coach for four years now and it has served us well. We love the lifestyle. There are always problems with a motorcoach and we take the problems in stride. Motorhomes are most definitely not built like airplanes 🙂

  2. Ken
    Ken says:

    I bought my 5th RV, a dutch star 4338 with 7500 miles on it. The Freightliner part if it has been the worst experience and least reliable RV ever. The interior by newmar and house systems are nice, and reliable. I broke down 5 times on 1 trip over a 6 week period, leaving me stranded in the middle of no where, population of twins in the hundreds but many miles away with freightliner giving me the middle finger when I asked to pick up parts. They said since I was not a dealer or certified mechanic I would need to tow my RV 300 miles and wait many days with dogs and kids and 90 degrees……even though I had a local mechanic ready and willing to make the drive to the central parts depot. They have done this repeatedly and many freightliner dealers refuse to work with warranty companies, 12,000.00$$ out of pocket on that trip alone.
    My gas class A and class C and truck campers have all been more enjoyable to own, at a fraction of the cost.

  3. Michael Butts
    Michael Butts says:

    Thanks for the great post! This page should be required reading for anyone considering the purchase of any RV. The factory just laughs off the bad design as “Well, when you drive down the freeway, you have a house in a hurricane AND an earthquake! What do you expect?”

    Still, we really enjoy RV-ing so we keep a well-stocked tool kit with us at all times.

  4. Terry W Gee
    Terry W Gee says:

    I believe every word I’ve read here.

    I have owned a Class A for 15 years. I have replaced the toilet, refrigerator, generator, carpet, engine water pump, fuel guage (3 times, twice in 1 day even!) Water heater and tank, HVAC, auto step.

    Did all this work myself, each situation as it showed its ugly face. Thankful for the gift of ingenuity god gave me.

    And, never once did I say it wasn’t worth it!

    What I was hoping to read was that warranties did a better job than this.

    But good to know not to throw away the toolbox!

    • Barry
      Barry says:

      Barry here. Class a,s for 20 plus years…I had the same fix it list you did… no regrets. Just fix it yourself cheap…

  5. julio
    julio says:

    I understand the issue with QC and If I were going to buy a brand spanking new 500K MH I would be upset if I started having problems right after I spent that much money. What I worry about more than anything else is drive train. The stuff inside and outside I can deal with. I have many properties and although MH is not really a house it has a lot of similarity that I can deal with you would be surprised with the stuff i have had to deal with dealing with properties. LOL . I am not a heavy equipment mechanic and that can get pricey if something serious happens. I definitely take meticulous care of my vehicles and that is why they last so long for me. Does anyone have some advice on what to watch out for power train wise. I hear a lot about chassis types and even heard about a “DEF HEAD” problem that had plagued the community , Not sure what a DEF head is but I know it had to do with the power train. I also heard the only more recent rigs have this system.

  6. Malc
    Malc says:

    I was wondering what the community thinks of the Newmarket extended warranties on new coaches? Do you think they have a value for the price 8k or is it better to gamble and live with unexpected issues that arise? Look forward to comments

  7. Fernando
    Fernando says:

    I totally agree with your comments. When we purchased our 2020 Newmar Ventana 3709 we did months of research and narrowed our choice down to Newmar. Newmar won out because of their track record of being a superior coach. That’s not to say we haven’t had problems with our coach because we have. In fact, our coach failed on day one and remained at the dealer for three months before the problem was properly diagnosed. Nonetheless we are extremely happy with our coach. I also agree with you that if you are handy and can do your own troubleshooting and repairs (YouTube has a plethora of information) you’ll be time and money ahead of most owners. You should also keep in mind that basic common sense is important when owning a class A Motorhome, like checking oil, transmission and tire pressure levels on a regular basis and servicing your Oasis and generator on a yearly basis. Doing these things will go a very along way in keeping your coach in good working order. In summary, there isn’t a trouble free RV out there, but Newmar comes pretty darn close! Happy traveling!😊


Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *