[5] 5th Wheel Brands to Avoid – Read Before You Buying

As you might already know, a fifth wheel is basically a van that comes equipped with several conveniences, including cooking utensils and beds.

Its main purpose is to facilitate a comfortable, temporary stay, particularly during road trips you might take with the family during holidays. Since these don’t come cheap, it’s essential to research the brands you should opt for before finalizing a decision.

Even though the latest models promise excellent convenience and amenities, there are some brands that only lead to embarrassing and unexpected issues right in the middle of your trip. To steer clear from such instances, it’s better to opt for well-known brands and avoid the following ones:

1. Coachmen - The Name You Shall Remember

Coachmen has been around for way longer than many other brands and has a plethora of vehicles to choose from. In fact, with so many years of expertise in the RV industry, it’s only natural to opt for Coachmen and think of it as the best brand you can buy for the money.

However, that only stands true if you’re still in the 70s. Back then, Coachmen used to beat all competitors with its excellent craftsmanship and materials. However, today, the case is the exact opposite. Newer models for Coachmen have most received numerous complaints about poor workmanship.

Firstly, the RVs come with flimsy drawers and slides, and their weight capacity is lower than what it should be. So, you can’t place your valuables or heavier gear in these. In addition, both sinks and showers leak, which makes a mess on the floor. Similarly, the roof also tends to leak, leading to rust on body panels. 

It can’t be denied that Coachmen vehicles are not only reliable but are also equipped with excellent transmissions and engines. However, when you invest in something as big as an RV, the power provided by the vehicle isn’t the only thing to take into consideration.

2. Structural and Technical Issues Are Most Common With Keystone

Vehicles by Keystone are marketed as highly durable RVs that provide unmatched fuel economy and are characterized by interiors that are well-spaced. However, for most travelers, Keystone just doesn’t seem to meet standards. There have been thousands of complaints by both owners and users regarding structural and technical issues.

Some owners have complained about the control board's design and have deemed it to be poorly designed and poor at functioning, too. They’ve further complained about cabinet doors that fall off easily. In addition to that, the website is hardly user-friendly and simply difficult to navigate. Similarly, customer service is also termed as unreliable.

Thinking about the negatives, the brand doesn’t seem to be worth the money. It provides neither quality, nor dependable customer service in times of difficulties. So, your money would be spent much better if you looked at other brands.

3. For Some, Winnebago is a Winner, But It Isn’t

Winnebago has been long present in the RV industry and has been known to be one of the most-trusted names. In fact, it has several models under its belt and all of these can give other fifth wheels a run for their money.

However, with many models by the brand, particularly the recent ones, you wouldn’t get the high-quality standards you’d expect from such a brand. One reason for this could be the inability of the company to handle both quality and quantity.

As demands for such travelers increased, it became difficult for the company to meet its quality standards. As a result, almost all the newer fifth wheel models by the brand are characterized by lackluster materials and poor craftsmanship. And the problems don’t end there.

In fact, they include several other issues, such as wall panels that peel off or bend while driving, failing light systems, and embarrassing leaks. Other problems also include leaking sinks, showers, and roofs. The paint tends to chip off, too. 

However, what tops the list of reasons to avoid this brand is pathetic customer service. Not only does it give useless answers, but it has also given out statements like they’re not responsible for providing customers with additional features.

4. Fleetwood

Fleetwood is best-known for the luxurious travel trailers it has put out. With over 60 years of experience, it is still one of the most renowned brands. Unsurprisingly, older RV models were known to be reliable, built to last, and, of course, luxurious. While the company’s fifth wheel trailers are still highly luxurious, they come with their own set of problems.

The biggest issue is the fact that it can easily break down and cause water leaks from both the kitchen sink and from the roof during storms. As a result, it can lead to flooding in the kitchen as well as rust on the chassis. Most of the company’s fifth wheels aren’t ergonomic either. For instance, the thermostat is placed over an open stairwell and is mounted six feet high, making it highly inconvenient.

In addition, many owners find the interior quality to be worse than the quality that other RV brands provide. The seats peel off and even collapse in a shorter time, thus losing its appeal and value in just a few years. Then there’s the issue of the battery, which just refuses to charge in many cases. So, you might find yourself with a flat battery when you decide it’s time to go home, thus leaving you stranded.

5. Gulfstream

Gulfstream had previously made a name for itself as one of the best RV brands. The company was known to provide a fuel-efficient and reliable motor that could handle any roads with ease.

However, it’s on our list of fifth wheel brands you need to avoid because of rust issues. There are unexpected leaks not only on the inside but also on the outside. As a result, this wreaks havoc on the wooden and metal parts. Not to mention, rust can affect your vehicle’s stability and reliability, along with lowering its resale value. Other potential issues include faulty thermostats, torn mattresses, and bad customer service. 

It’s no surprise that these days Gulfstream vehicles aren’t made with high-quality workmanship in mind. Therefore, don’t be shocked if you find outer and inner screws loosening after only a short ride. Similarly, standby generators, heaters, and refrigerators can also malfunction when you least expect them to, ultimately ruining your fun trip. 

What’s even more troubling is that when you take your fifth wheel to technicians for repair, many of them straight out refuse to fix it, leaving you even more frustrated.

Conclusion

Prevention is definitely better than cure. Before buying a fifth wheel, make sure to do thorough research. As with everything, the kind of vehicle you buy will depend on you. So, equip yourself with sufficient knowledge about such matters before finalizing your choice.

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