A serviceman builds a new RV interior

Changing Lanes Asks NRVTA, ‘Are COVID RV Builds Real?’

When you want answers to some of the toughest questions, you have to go straight to the experts. A popular YouTube channel recently asked the experts at National RV Training Association (NRVTA) a tough question about a topic bugging many in the RV community.

If you spend time in any online RV communities, you likely have seen many asking this question. “Are covid RV builds real?” Let’s see what they discovered.

Who Is Changing Lanes?

Changing Lanes, with over 220,000 subscribers, is a large RV YouTube channel. Creators Chad and Tara (and their dog Daisy) travel the country in their 2018 Grand Design Momentum 397TH.

Their content focuses primarily on tackling DIY RV projects, tips, and tricks for RVing. And their various travel adventures, including some with Lucile, their 2018 Indian Roadmaster.

They’re a trusted name in the RV community due to their vast experience and knowledge of RVs. They’ve used their platform to establish connections with large RV industry brands to create content that informs and educates their viewers.

If you watch one of their videos, you can trust they’ve done the research and know the topic.

What Is a Covid Build?

COVID-19 affected the lives of those around the world and the RV industry and community. When you hear someone refer to an RV as a “COVID build,” they’re referring to the fact that it was built during the global pandemic. Technically speaking, any RV built after March 2020 would likely get the classification. 

This was when manufacturers had to make adjustments to their factories to keep workers safe, follow state and local COVID restrictions, and battle supply shortages. However, as if it wasn’t enough, manufacturers were also facing the highest demand they’ve ever experienced in history.

When people refer to an RV as a “COVID build,” they typically refer to it negatively. It highlights the negative aspects of the RV or issues the owners are experiencing.

The assumption is that these issues aren’t normal, and RVs built before the pandemic received more attention to detail and better quality parts during construction.

A serviceman builds a new RV interior

Who Is Complaining About Covid Builds?

You typically see complaints about COVID-built RVs from owners of newer RVs. Most of these are from newer individuals to the RV lifestyle who expect RVs to be built with the same quality as standard residential homes.

Many of those complaining about COVID builds jumped into RVing due to the lifestyle becoming trendy. Many did not do their research on maintaining and using their new and expensive RV.

The reality is that RVs aren’t perfect, dealers often disappoint you after signing paperwork, and repairs are usually more expensive and take longer than you’d like.

What Are the Main Concerns of New RV Owners?

New RV owners want to protect and care for their new bundles of joy like new parents. They listen to every noise and examine every inch of their RV.

Their main concerns are that everything functions how it should and, if not, the dealer or manufacturer will make it right. They want the assurance that their camping adventures won’t get interrupted by issues because they just dropped a large amount of money on their new unit.

Many new RV owners experience issues with plumbing, awnings, slides, and even leveling systems. What they are experiencing is completely normal across the RV community.

They eventually discover that dealers, repair shops, and manufacturers have a long line of other customers also waiting. The reality that they will need to become a jack-of-all-trades typically quickly sets in for them.

Changing a tire on an RV, a hub cap has been removed and is lying on the ground beside the wheel.

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Covid Builds vs. Normal Wear and Tear

It was surprising to hear the response from the experts at NRVTA when Changing Lanes asked them about COVID builds. They responded that they, and their many technicians, aren’t seeing anything out of the ordinary when it comes to RVs built before and after COVID. Many “COVID build” owners are experiencing normal wear and tear.

However, what NRVTA did say has changed is the time customers spend researching RVs before purchasing. They state that most owners would spend an average of nine months researching RVing before purchasing.

However, with the RV lifestyle becoming trendy, they see many customers buying after researching for a couple of months.

RVers who purchased their rigs before it was trendy went into RVing with a clear understanding that they weren’t buying a house. Pre-COVID buyers also understood things would break and had lower expectations for their rigs. That no matter how much or how little money you spend on an RV, bad things can happen.

Do New RVs Have Worse Quality Control?

According to the experts at NRVTA, new RVs are of no worse quality than older RVs. Across the industry as a whole, there’s been little change in quality when it comes to RVs rolling out of factories. Not all manufacturers take as much pride as they should when creating high-quality RVs.

Before buying an RV, you must do the proper research into the RV lifestyle and the manufacturer. You want to select a manufacturer that stands behind their product and who will make it right when they fall short. 

When researching, it’s important to remember that online groups typically are the first places people run to with complaints, and very few are flocking there to share how their RVs live up to their expectations. These groups can quickly get bogged down with pessimistic attitudes. 

Would you consider buying an RV built during the pandemic?

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