Why did I decide to open an RV inspection business that inspects new and used RVs that includes travel trailers, 5th-wheels, toy haulers, class A, class B, class C, pop-up trailers, pickup campers, and any other type of RV?
Here is reason number one:
One Saturday, my wife and I went to an RV dealership that was located about three hours from our house. The young salesperson did not know much about RVs; we helped him along being we had researched various RVs and had owned four RVs prior to our visit to this dealership. For example, I did not correct the salesperson when he talked on and on about a “slider-hitch” and told us we would need one (we knew that we did not need one). We decided to purchase the unit and we were excited to buy a brand-new RV. The salesperson struggled with the details and paperwork and finally indicated that they would have the unit ready for us in two weeks.
When we got to the dealership on the agreed upon day, we discovered that staff had not looked at the RV since the day we signed the paperwork. They told us they put a large scratch on the floor when they moved the slide in. They also told us that they lost the TV remote (we figured out later the remote was on the floor when they brought the slide in scratching the floor and breaking the remote!). They said they’d put a new floor in the RV but it would take several months to complete so we agreed to just take possession of the RV anyway.
We took the RV to a campground on our way home to test it out and camp for the rest of the weekend. The first problem that we discovered – the wheel was coming off the axel spindle!!
Also, water poured out of the bottom of the trailer!! The gravity-fill tube on the freshwater tank was broken!! We were devastated – to think a brand-new RV had water pouring out of it!!
Other things we noticed on that same trip– the battery disconnect did not work because it was wired incorrectly. Also, the cable drive on the wardrobe slide-out did not open the slide-out all the way.
One week later we took the RV back to the RV dealership after begging for an appointment. We explained that we live over three hours from their dealership, and we would have to take a day off work to bring it in. They were VERY unhappy with us. I arrived at the dealership when it opened, and I waited at the dealership. The RV service staff waited almost all day before they started on the repairs. I think they resented the fact that I waited at the dealership (small town, where else could I go?).
The dealership never touched the RV from the time we purchased it until the day we picked it up!! If the RV would have been inspected before we purchased it, these problems could have been repaired before we took possession of the RV. We are lucky that we realized there was a problem with the tire, and we knew how to repair it ourselves. We could have had a major accident.
Here is reason number two:
A few years later we decided to purchase a different RV. The sales rep did not do a walk-through with us on the RV we purchased (brand new) because he figured we know plenty about RVs. He rushed us through a quick look-over, and we pointed out the one tire that was nearly flat and he said “oh we’ll put some air in it”. They did not bother to fix the tire. We should have demanded they repair that tire but we did not push the issue being we own an air compressor and it probably would appear like a petty issue to mention (again).
Now, before you read about the issues we discovered on our first camping trip with this RV, note, they had a sticker on the unit that said, “RV Technician Certified All Systems Go”. They are saying an RV Technician checked over the entire unit; you are good to go.
Here are just the major things we discovered after we got the RV home:
- The freshwater tank leaked.
- The RV refrigerator drain tube was not hooked up.
- The cargo bay storage light did not work.
- There was a propane leak.
- The auto-level was not adjusted to level the RV correctly.
- The RV refrigerator exterior was not properly vented and would not cool.
- The underbelly covering was falling off.
- The kitchen slide-out was not adjusted properly because it would no longer come in evenly on both sides.
When we got home, I called the dealership and the service manager said, “well just wait and see what else you find wrong with the RV, then bring it in and we’ll fix everything at once but remember it might take 2-3 months to fix it”. It was summer and we wanted to use the RV and we had various RV park reservations. We fixed the problems ourselves because we didn’t want to be without the RV for the entire summer.
Footnote: A couple years later, the tire that we did not demand they inspect when we noticed it was low….blew out while we were traveling down the interstate and damaged the skirting and part of the sidewall of our RV. We believe the tire was damaged from day one.
These RV-buying experiences are two of the reasons why I became an RV inspector. I hope to save people from suffering from a similar fate. In the purchases I described in this article, each salesperson could not wait to get us to take possession of the RV; just close the deal and remove the RV from their lot. I recognize that the problems with some RVs are not completely the dealership’s fault or the salesperson’s fault. Their job is to sell the RV. I also realize that I am also to blame for not being a smart RV buyer. It is the customer’s responsibility to get the RV inspected. The RV inspection business is personal to me; it is not just a job.
My goal is your safety and your investment in the RV and camping life. I truly care about you, the customer, and I want to help you to have a great RV-buying experience so that you can get started on the right foot to a great (and safe) RV travel/living experience!