Drivable or towable? Big or small? Luxurious or basic? Bunks or no bunks? There are many questions an RVer asks to narrow down their camper of choice. There’s one question, however, no one asks: quality or poorly-built? It’s a given that we want to buy something that’s built to last. Unfortunately, not everything on the market is built with quality in mind. That’s why it’s important to understand what sets a superior unit apart from all the rest. While there are as many things as there are questions, we’ve narrowed it down to five to get you started!
1) Build Materials
An RV, at its most basic, is an assembly of metal, plastic and wood. The quality of these elements and where they’re used is very important. Take for instance a camper’s interior. Are the cabinets made of solid wood or particle board? Solid wood, like the kind Jayco uses, lasts longer, feels sturdier, and is less susceptible to humidity and moisture. Same goes for roof materials. Is the hardware used to assemble the roof able to withstand an average person’s weight, let alone a large snowfall? As an example, Jayco uses 2-inch wooden truss supports, screws and oversized nail plates to make our roofs the strongest in the industry. Others use staples, thinner plywood and metal brackets. Small choices in build materials like these can often make all the difference. Ask for literature or resources that discuss the types of materials a manufacturer uses.
2) Build Process
The build process is not something that can be seen on a dealer’s lot, so it often gets left out of the equation when considering a camper. That’s unfortunate, because much can be gleaned from knowing a manufacturer’s process. For instance, are manufacturers building their products on a stock frame and making small modifications to accommodate each floorplan, or do they, like Jayco, have specialized frames designed for each floorplan? Another example is the insulation. Does the manufacturer place the insulation in the sidewalls without gluing it to prevent sagging? Or do manufacturers simply mount the siding against the insulation without cutting it at the joists, compressing the insulation and greatly reducing its effectiveness. Jayco’s different! We take the time to ensure the insulation is properly in place and added to the unit in a manner that maintains its integrity. Build process is important. Make sure to ask what the process is, or if you can, visit the manufacturer and take a tour of the production plants.
3) Resale Value
If you want to get a solid, quantitative idea of a product’s quality, take a look at resale values. Look at 5- to 10-year-old products and how they’re selling, comparing manufacturers and brands. At Jayco, we’re proud to have some of the highest resale values in the industry. In recent years, Jayco owners have seen resale values over 4% higher than the competition. From more standard features to the better materials mentioned above, there’s no doubt Jayco offers the best value in the industry. At the end of the day, numbers don’t lie.
Your everyday walkaround gives you a good sense of the features you’ll use on a daily basis, but the engineering behind it all may not always be so apparent. Things like the pull tests done on seatbelts in every seating position in our motorized units (they all have to be able to hold 5,000 pounds for 60 seconds); the fact that we are able to ensure slide out room walls are the exact piece cut out from the original wall for a better seal; or that ducts are non-porous to reduce allergen build up and designed with a curved shape to move air more quickly. More than 60 in-house engineers work to make sure these kinds of features, and many more, are practical both on the plant floor and the at the campground.
“Support? As in when something goes wrong?!” Yes – the type of support you get from an RV’s manufacturer is a strong indicator of the quality of the camper. The industry standard for limited warranty is one year. This gives most manufacturers an out when their less-than-quality product is produced. At Jayco, we talk about providing Generations of Family Fun. We want our products to last for years and years and build them with that in mind. Then, we back our products with a 2-year limited warranty to help if something does go wrong. If something isn’t done right in the factory, we give our customer twice as long as our competition to discover that flaw. We have so much faith in our engineers’ designs and craftsmen’s work that we invest money and resources to support our customers in this industry-leading manner. But this wouldn’t be financially feasible if the product we’re producing didn’t meet the standards we promise.
Quality isn’t just the name brand appliances and the beautiful interior decors. It’s not just R-values and cozy U-dinettes. While these contribute to the comfort and livability of RVs, what’s most important is the long-lasting quality built into and around them. At Jayco, it’s about our high-grade materials, above-standard processes, long-standing value, integrity-driven culture, and customer-first service. In an industry like ours with so many choices, we’re proud that quality is what we’re known for.