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Concerns about buying from a distant dealer?

Paul39
Explorer
Explorer
I'm still trying to decide on a Fifth Wheel. Being picky - I like certain layouts and options. I have several big retailers near me, but one brand I am considering is not sold locally. It would be 120 miles to the dealer. Would you have concerns about buying from that distance? I don't mind driving to pick it out / up - but what happens if it needs warranty work? Can you get warranty work done at other locations, or would I have to take it back to where I bought it?

Thanks
16 REPLIES 16

LMHS
Explorer II
Explorer II
Everything and everywhere is a 2 hour (or more) for me. My perception of driving distance has changed dramatically since moving to here.

Contact the manufacturer before buying and find out who can do warranty work. That would be a good thing to do for ANY new RV that you intend to buy. Things rarely break while the RV is sitting at home. While some things can be ignored until you get "home", there may be times when you have to have a repair done without going very far. It would also be good to have an option to the dealer repair shop in case they aren't very good or they are backed up.

wapiticountry
Explorer
Explorer
Here in Montana 120 miles is practically next door. Making that drive for service wouldn’t be a big problem.

laknox
Nomad
Nomad
Paul39 wrote:
laknox wrote:
When I was looking back in '15, KZ was my #1 choice. I called them at the time and asked about warranty repairs as there was only 1 KZ dealer in AZ. They told me that, should the need arise, they would be happy to approve an independent shop or mobile repair service to complete warranty work. That sold me on KZ...at that time. It was later that we all heard that Thor was buying KZ (and Jayco) and we were very worried that they would no longer stick to this policy. Fortunately, we only had a couple warranty issues and our selling dealer was about 80 miles away, not a deal breaker for me. Since then, our selling dealer has closed and another dealer in East Mesa picked up KZ, and they are wonderful to work with. None of this "you didn't buy it here" b.s.; they work rigs in in the order in which they're brought in. Still a bit of a hike, but, again, not bad.

This being said, when were looking, if I found something at a very attractive price that a local dealer refused to match, I'd've taken a road trip to buy and dealt with warranty issues either on my own or with an independent shop.

Interesting - as it is the KZ Durango 1/2 ton line that is on my short list. Right size and options I’m looking for, but one dealer is 2 hrs north of me and one is 2 hours south. Would you buy another Durango? How is your perception of their quality?
Lyle


I would =start= my search with KZ, as they're known to me. My current rig has been very trouble-free, though starting to get into some age-related issues after 7 years since it was built. There's one I'd like to look at near me, but I'm not sure the DW is up to dropping that kind of dollars since I dropped over $79k on my '22 Denali and we're now looking at a vacation home. Another $70k on a new Durango? Yeah, no... 😞

Lyle
2022 GMC Sierra 3500 HD Denali Crew Cab 4x4 Duramax
B&W OEM Companion & Gooseneck Kit
2017 KZ Durango 1500 D277RLT
1936 John Deere Model A
International Flying Farmers 64 Year Member

StirCrazy
Nomad III
Nomad III
if you buy from a chain all locations will be easy to deal with but you usaly get better treatment from the dealer you bought from. I know at my dealer people who bought from them are on one list while people who didnt are on another, the people who purchased from them get priority. having said that I don't know of any dealer that will turn you down if they have openings.

as for farther away, I don't concider 120 miles far at all and would have no issue with taking it back there if it needed warenty work. just when you buy somthing do a realy good PDI and take a pen and paper to write stuff you find down and make a list of defects that need to be fixed. then on your first few camping trips take that list with you and add to it when you find somthing new.

there are always going to be little things you will find like they forgot to put stain on the small end of that cabnet, or the bunk end grain that is only visable when its down. then when you get a sizable list you can arang to take it back and get them all fixed at once when its conveniant for you.

just make sure you like the people at the dealership and they are easy to talk to as I would arange everything over the phone email before I dropped the unit off for the repairs.

tell them about your concerns about being two hours away and aranging warenty work and see what they say.
2014 F350 6.7 Platinum
2016 Cougar 330RBK
1991 Slumberqueen WS100

Likes_to_tow
Explorer II
Explorer II
Be aware of the fact all RV manufacturers push their units down the assembly line with very little quality control. Dealers are responsible for doing much of it and correcting any short falls in the process. Be certain you have a complete systems check of all systems before signing!!! Water tanks hold water, no leaks in plumbing, AC and furnace function properly, no loose trim, all seams caulked properly, no China bomb tires....insist on Goodyear Endurance or other quality ST tire, anything you can find questionable. Dealers get backed up and bringing a unit in for warranty work can take sometimes weeks. Just be sure everything is perfect before cutting the check, it may be your only time to have leverage on the dealer for quick resolution!!

CA_Traveler
Explorer III
Explorer III
If I wanted a quality 5er it would be a New Horizons, new or used they are custom built. And most llikey a TH.
2009 Holiday Rambler 42' Scepter with ISL 400 Cummins
750 Watts Solar Morningstar MPPT 60 Controller
2014 Grand Cherokee Overland

Bob

southernsky
Explorer
Explorer
When we bought our fifth wheel one of the selling points was that we didn't have to fool with the dealer. I talked to the manufacturer and explained the situation and they said I could do it myself, use a mobile tech or an independent shop. My camper never went back to the dealer in the six years that we had it. The manufacturer was true to their word.
2022 Renegade Super C
2020 Ford Ranger 4x4 Sport

CA_Traveler
Explorer III
Explorer III
And the PDI for the next rig which was 2 years old took 3 weeks for repairs because they could not get the parts. Dometic was extremely evasive for a A/C repair. Finally admited they had a recall. The A/C was replaced with a new one 3 months later.

Others have provided you good info - consider your options.
2009 Holiday Rambler 42' Scepter with ISL 400 Cummins
750 Watts Solar Morningstar MPPT 60 Controller
2014 Grand Cherokee Overland

Bob

stripit
Explorer
Explorer
CA Traveler brings up some very valid points. I watch a You tube couple that inspect rv's and they sure opened our eyes as to the condition the trailers are being handed off to the new owners. They use the term PDI, as probably didn't inspect and that is the case. So when you pay the dealer and go camping the first time and the things that would have been found with a rv inspector were just kind of missed by the dealer folks and you get to deal with the driving back and leaving the new rig. Could be a lot of hardships for you over the warranty period.
Stacey Frank
2016 Tiffin Allegro Bus 40AP
2019 Tesla Model X
2015 Cadillac SRX we Tow
1991 Avanti Convertible

CA_Traveler
Explorer III
Explorer III
Paul39 wrote:
Would you have concerns about buying from that distance? I don't mind driving to pick it out / up - but what happens if it needs warranty work?
While concern about warranty work is valid your FIRST concern should be about purchase first. Are you planning to spend hours or even days doing a complete Pre Delivery Inspection - PDI. New or used rigs can/will have issues.

And is it really the rig you want after you drive off the lot? Absolutely be prepared to do a complete PDI and know a fair price first. This is NOT like buying a new car for example.

I had no problems with my first new MH because the mfg would do repairs and they had good quality where it's understood that almost all RVs do not have good quality. And yes the 72 repairs were completed fast and complete.
2009 Holiday Rambler 42' Scepter with ISL 400 Cummins
750 Watts Solar Morningstar MPPT 60 Controller
2014 Grand Cherokee Overland

Bob

Trackrig
Explorer II
Explorer II
I live in Alaska and bought my DP from a guy in Colorado. I also bought my TT from a guy in Idaho. Both were sight unseen, but with an awful lot of pictures of all the specifics I wanted to see.

I flew to Colorado to get the DP and drove to Idaho to get the TT. Both were just as all of the pictures showed. Do your due diligence, but you're buying them to go travel, so don't let a few miles bother you.

Bill
Nodwell RN110 out moose hunting. 4-53 Detroit, Clark 5 spd, 40" wide tracks, 10:00x20 tires, 16,000# capacity, 22,000# weight. You know the mud is getting deep when it's coming in the doors.

BB_TX
Nomad
Nomad
I would say your concerns are valid. It is not uncommon to see someone post here about a dealer who they did not buy from refusing to do warranty work, or put it so far into the future as to be impractical. But I don’t remember what brands or dealers were stated. But some did say the manufacturer worked with them to find someone to do that warranty work.

Paul39
Explorer
Explorer
laknox wrote:
When I was looking back in '15, KZ was my #1 choice. I called them at the time and asked about warranty repairs as there was only 1 KZ dealer in AZ. They told me that, should the need arise, they would be happy to approve an independent shop or mobile repair service to complete warranty work. That sold me on KZ...at that time. It was later that we all heard that Thor was buying KZ (and Jayco) and we were very worried that they would no longer stick to this policy. Fortunately, we only had a couple warranty issues and our selling dealer was about 80 miles away, not a deal breaker for me. Since then, our selling dealer has closed and another dealer in East Mesa picked up KZ, and they are wonderful to work with. None of this "you didn't buy it here" b.s.; they work rigs in in the order in which they're brought in. Still a bit of a hike, but, again, not bad.

This being said, when were looking, if I found something at a very attractive price that a local dealer refused to match, I'd've taken a road trip to buy and dealt with warranty issues either on my own or with an independent shop.

Interesting - as it is the KZ Durango 1/2 ton line that is on my short list. Right size and options I’m looking for, but one dealer is 2 hrs north of me and one is 2 hours south. Would you buy another Durango? How is your perception of their quality?
Lyle

laknox
Nomad
Nomad
When I was looking back in '15, KZ was my #1 choice. I called them at the time and asked about warranty repairs as there was only 1 KZ dealer in AZ. They told me that, should the need arise, they would be happy to approve an independent shop or mobile repair service to complete warranty work. That sold me on KZ...at that time. It was later that we all heard that Thor was buying KZ (and Jayco) and we were very worried that they would no longer stick to this policy. Fortunately, we only had a couple warranty issues and our selling dealer was about 80 miles away, not a deal breaker for me. Since then, our selling dealer has closed and another dealer in East Mesa picked up KZ, and they are wonderful to work with. None of this "you didn't buy it here" b.s.; they work rigs in in the order in which they're brought in. Still a bit of a hike, but, again, not bad.

This being said, when were looking, if I found something at a very attractive price that a local dealer refused to match, I'd've taken a road trip to buy and dealt with warranty issues either on my own or with an independent shop.

Lyle
2022 GMC Sierra 3500 HD Denali Crew Cab 4x4 Duramax
B&W OEM Companion & Gooseneck Kit
2017 KZ Durango 1500 D277RLT
1936 John Deere Model A
International Flying Farmers 64 Year Member