Motorhome Comparison Guide

How to get the RV details you didn’t know you needed!

A company called JR Consumer run by Randall Eaton manages a website called RVReviews.net where I purchased the book Motorhome Comparison Guide.  Randall’s company publishes customer satisfaction data for many companies that manufacture motorhomes, trailers and 5th wheels.  What I find interesting about this information is several companies have either gone out of business or have merged or been bought out since the ‘Great Recession’.  A few companies have even risen again either with different owners or part of financial restructuring.  This and the satisfaction information about the manufacturers is very helpful information to the new RV buyer and the guide provides information on all the major RV companies.

Why is the information in the Motorhome Comparison Guide Important?

Motorhome Comparison Guide

Motorhome Comparison Guide by Randall Eaton

Especially since we are most likely going to buy a used RV, I want to know if I can still get replacement parts and/or repairs done on the RV.  I also value having an understanding of the current financial situation of the company, what types of RVs are they getting into or out of business building and what are the trends of their satisfaction surveys.  In addition the guide provides editorial advice on models that seem to have the best customer satisfaction.

There are different versions of Randall’s comparison guides.  I selected the Motorhome Comparison guide and he also publishes a Trailer and 5th Wheel comparison guide.  The edition I purchased was for 2006-2014.  In addition he also publishes model specific reports.  I purchased  a bundle that includes 3 additional booklets and a 3-pack of reports that I plan on using when I get ready to make some offers.

The guide covers the top Class A, C, B+ and B RVs built between 2006 and 2014.  Individual reports cover all motorhomes from 2000 on.  Even though the book is full of tables and data Randall presents a lot of useful information in a readable format.  Understanding the groupings of the various types of motorhomes helps readers understand their options and helps to define what features are desirable for your specific situation.

In doing research looking at motorhomes in RV lots and shows as well as online I wondered about which companies manufactured good product.  Do buyers have more issues with one company or model over others?  What’s the resale value of a specific model of RV?  The Comparison Guide along with the single model reports offer a third-party review to help in the decision-making process.

Main chapter topics include:

  • What type of Buyer are you – such as Camper, vacationer, full-timer or something between.
  • Construction Techniques & Methods
  • Customer Satisfaction
  • Dealer Ratings
  • Resale Values
  • Rating Charts separated by class of RV and year range
  • RV Manufacturer summaries

 Summary

Probably the most important chapter for me was the RV Manufacturer summaries because of the number of companies that are no longer in business or under different management.  Sometimes the motorhomes produced by a company no longer building RVs  have very high satisfaction ratings.  A good example of this is Country Coach (CountryCoach.com) that has been re-purchased by the original owner and is manufacturing replacement parts with plans to manufacture new motorhomes in the future.  This company would rate higher for my choice over one that is out of business with no parts manufacturing ability.  You may not be able to get replacement parts for motorhomes where the manufacturer is purchased by another company.  Information showing this complexity is time-consuming and challenging to gather – that is why this guide is well worth the $60 charged.  I recommend getting the reports as well.

I do think that for the price paid customers should be able to get updates to the guide for a few years.  On the good side there is no expiration date for the individual model reports so you can take advantage of the bundle like I did.

All the stuff you need to know about RVing

All the stuff you need to know about RVing

By Ronald E. Jones and Robert G. Lowe

Ronald E. Jones & Robert G. Lowe

All the stuff you need to know about RVing

I found this book by Ronald Jones & Robert Lowe at Ronald’s website About RVing.  Here is the bookstore on his website.  What initially caught my eye was his experiences using Lithium Ion batteries for both coach and chassis battery (more about that on another post).  The book is a larger size paperback that is professionally done.

This book is an excellent overview of using and maintaining an RV.  And I’m not just talking about engine maintenance.  Here are the major sections of the book:

  • Getting Ready to Drive the RV
    • Towable RVs
    • “Drivable” RVs
    • Learning to Drive Your RV
    • Driving Practice and Practice Driving
    • Try This When Learning to Drive Your RV
    • Things To Do Up Front for Pilot and Copilot
    • Driving Suggestions
    • Getting Ready to Drive
    • Hooking Up the Toad
    • Backup Up an RV
    • Fueling Up
    • Temporary Parking
    • Copilot Help is Special Help
    • Special Insert on RV Weight
  • Stuff Inside the Coach
    • Learning to Live in Your RV
    • Living Room
    • Kitchen and Dining Area
    • Bathroom
    • Bedroom and Laundry
    • Closets and Storage
    • Packing Your RV
    • Special Insert on Buying an RV
  • Outside Stuff While Parked
    • When You First Pull Into the Campsite
    • Hooking Up the RV at the Campsite – Part I
    • Checking Shore Power
    • Hooking Up at the Campsite – Part II
    • Unhooking – Getting Ready to Go
    • Propane
    • Special Insert – Sewage
  • All the Other Stuff you Need To Know
    • Towing the Toad
    • Supplemental Braking Systems
    • Coach and Toad Protection
    • Winter Camping
    • Winterization
    • Preparing to Use Your RV After storage
    • Maintenance
    • Accessories, Services and Extra Stuff
    • Special Insert – Boondocking
  • Border Crossing Stuff

Each section provides a detailed overview of what to expect living in an RV with literally hundreds of tips and suggestions on making it easier to live on the road.  It introduces the novice to RV language like Toad, Dolly, Dumping, Shore Power and Boondocking just to mention a few.  For the experienced RVer the over 400 tips alone are worth the cost of this book.

Some topics are more introductory – such as Engine Maintenance.  You are not going to learn how to overhaul an engine, but you will learn how important it is to do proper maintenance on an RV and when to look for expert help.

This book is a keeper for my library.  It’s already all marked up.

RV Books Review

January 19, 2014

book_reviews

RV Books Review Page

Today I am learning more about WordPress and creating and writing an informative blog.  In addition I added a second RV Book review – The RV Buyer’s Survival Guide by Bob Randall and Mark Polk.  This adds to the first book review Buying a used motorhome – How to get the most for your money and not get burned, by Bill Myers.  The first book looks at the process of purchasing  a used RV, and the second a new motorhome.  These books are like bookends providing a pretty complete picture of the variety of ways to purchase an RV.

Why book reviews

For us just starting out, we wanted as much information as possible.  Web searches provided manufacturers websites that provide good data about new and previous RV models, various RV associations provide paper and electronic magazines, articles and blogs and many individuals have contributed information in various forms including comments and blogs on many sites.  Books however can still provide a wealth of information.  These first couple of books were purchased after searching Amazon.Com.  Other books we will review were purchased on Amazon as well as self-published through their own websites.

To view our book reviews – click here.

Ok, back to learning about WordPress!