Which RV manufacturers have the most recalls?

By Russ and Tiña De Maris

Every month we publish a list of RVs recalled in the previous month, using information compiled from reports by the National Traffic Highway Safety Administration. These recalls are based on safety issues, things that can harm the rig’s occupants or others, and under the purview of federal safety standards.

We got to wondering, is there a relationship between the number of recalls from a given manufacturer and that company’s overall quality control? We don’t know, but it does pose an interesting question. If an RV manufacturer has an inordinate number of safety recalls, what kind of attention are they paying to the rest of the unit?

We went back and crunched the numbers for RV recalls for a 12-month period, ending with the last recall list published for recalls in July 2018. We are here presenting our findings. We show the number of recalls by RV manufacturer, and the percentage of the total number of recalls over that one-year period. The specific lines and types of RVs are not broken out: All recalls are for all makes, models and types of RVs by any given manufacturer that has been recalled.

We recognize that some manufacturers produce more units than others. We hope to be able to obtain data that will allow us to make a comparison between the number of units produced and the number recalled and present that information in the future. Keep in mind that the number of recalls does not indicate how many units were involved in a recall.

Incidentally, if you peruse the list and find a given manufacturer is not listed, it simply means that they did not report any recalls for the period in question.

# Recalls  Manufacturer % of Total Recalls (rounded to nearest half %)
62 Forest River 31.9
20 Keystone 10.3
15 Newmar 7.7
11 Thor Motor Coach 5.7
11 Jayco 5.7
10 REV 5.2
10 KZRV 5.2
5 Entegra 2.6
5 Gulf Stream Coach 2.6
5 Heartland 2.6
4 Grand Design 2.1
4 Highland Ridge 2.1
4 Triple E 2.1
4 Winnebago 2.1
3 Starcraft 1.5
3 Tiffin 1.5
2 Lance 1.0
2 DRV 1.0
1 Bison 0.5
1 Coach House 0.5
1 Columbia Northwest 0.5
1 Cruiser 0.5
1 Erwin Hymer 0.5
1 Lazy Days 0.5
1 Liberty 0.5
1 Newell 0.5
1 Northwood 0.5
1 Pleasant Valley 0.5
1 Riverside 0.5
1 Show Hauler 0.5
1 Tiny Idahomes 0.5
1 Travel Light 0.5

Edited 20:20 8/17/18 for correction and clarity of percentages in tabular data.

RVT859

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19 Thoughts to “Which RV manufacturers have the most recalls?”

  1. Roy

    Nonsense … utter nonsense. I would suggest that huge mfgrs cove their buns by issuing recalls and notices to limit their exposure to complaints and class actions. After being in the ‘small market’ TT buyer group, there are a number of small mfgrs who should have EVERY unit on recall lists. They, however, avoid issuing anything detrimental to their sales and couldn’t stand muster if there were more buyers of their pathetic units filing official complaints

  2. Brian Clarke

    These numbers tell very little without the whole story. If, for example Forest river has 31.9% of recalls but if they have 30% of market share then their recall numbers are no worse than say Tidy Idahomes with their .5% of recalls with their probably less than 1% of market share. I may be wrong but let’s see the whole story and not a skewed perspective to support your view.

  3. Jim Anderson

    The raw numbers are kind of a waste of time without knowing the breakdown of what the recalls were about.
    If any RV MAnufacturer is brave enough to give the buyer a two or three year bumper to bumper warranty you would see Quality improve in no time… Every manufacturer tracks their warranty work and they can tell exactly where and what the weak points and parts are…

  4. Carl Palermo

    Quality Control or lack thereof is the phrase most often used when speaking about the RV Industry.
    I’m a recently retired manufacturing executive with a career spanning automotive, aerospace, nuclear and 15 years in medical device manufacturing.
    The industries listed above use QC as part of their process but not as an “post manufacturing inspection process.”

    Process Control was a term coined years ago and most manufacturing professionals are familiar with TPS or the Toyota Production Systerm. This was followed by many iterations including 6 Sigma, IQ, OQ,PQ, Lean, Black Belt, ISO. etc.
    Ultimately manufacturing and controlling quality is dependent on developing a highly specified and “capable” manufacturing process. It’s a basic function of developing a highly defined manufacturing process whereby all process variability is removed. And therefore physical quality control wouldn’t be inspecting the RV post manufacturing, they would be responsible for constantly verifying the manufacturing process during manufacturing. If the manufacturing process is in control, then quality is in control.
    The RV industry needs a culture change and must abandon its current quality mindset and hire manufacturing executives/professionals from outside their industry. Nothing will change until they redefine their entire manufacturing culture.

    1. Gene Cheatham

      Well stated Carl! So true! I, too, came from a manufacturing background, but much lower on the food chain than you. My best friend was in a control position for a medical device manufacturer and we are all on the same bandwagon. I understand Jayco (we have a 2016 Jay Flight) recently had so many customers come back after their first trip out with punch lists (problems) numbering in the low 30’s they actually shut down for 30 days to straighten out.
      It would be nice if we RV consumers could band together and get Congress to put RV’s under automotive lemon laws and demand quality that’s as high on their scale as glitz.
      Gene Cheatham

  5. Charlie

    These data at wholly worthless and a disservice to the RV Community. Unless a person knows HOW many Units are involved and who makes them, lumping 80% of the incredible range of different RV “lines” under the Forest River umbrella would lead the casual observer to derive an erroneous conclusion ahead of any real facts. This article was apparently “rushed” to press or an outright slam on FR. Shame.

    1. Ross Reed

      Personal experience on 2 rigs and knowing countless others with FR products. They have been producing big time junk since the late 90’s. There are exceptions to every rule and if you have a FR unit that’s wonderful and I’m truly happy for you. Check out the forums FR and nearly all of the RV’s produced by Buffett’s outfit are crap.

  6. Bill

    Recalls and quality aren’t the same thing. Recent recalls have included Kiddee fire extinguishers provided with many RVs, and recalls by the chassis manufacturer unrelated to the actual RV built on the chassis. Recalls generally are safety issues, which would not include any cosmetic or reliability problems with the RV “house” or appliances, or other components not related to safety.

  7. Don

    A 12 month period is not a very comprehensive study. A 5 or 10 year study would show which manufactures have to recall products for needed repairs would be a better indicator of poor workmanship and or choice of inferior parts. Also, if a manufacture put out a new or redesigned model in a given year it is more likely to have a few bugs than a model out several years.

  8. Mike B

    I believe it should read “Northwood Manufacturing” and not “Norwood”?

    1. RV Staff

      Thank you, Mike! It’s been fixed. You get a gold star for catching that! 😀 —Diane at RVtravel.com

  9. Dwayne Nelson

    I have to agree with Mr. Strigler that these data are meaningless. This is no different than if you published data showing that RV drivers with a drivers license have more accidents than those without a license.

    I realize that RV manufacturing has a very poor quality control record but misleading data is worse than none. I do, however, applaud your efforts to make the lack of RV quality an issue that needs to be addressed.

  10. Ray Leissner

    While everyone who buy an RV can expect to be “underwater” the minute they leave the dealership, we who purchased our units before the Thor takeover now have the added pleasure of being under the bus, as our units are perceived to be manufactured by Thor.

  11. Marion Pratt

    I wonder how many issues are dealt with by the manufacturers with ”technical bulletins” instead of full blown recalls. I think it’s the manufacturers who determine whether an issue rises to the level of recallable. It’s certainly less expensive to simply warn of a problem in a bulletin than to recall. Maybe Newmar has more recalls than Thor because they own up to a found problem more often and more fully than Thor. Just wondering. Thank you for the effort to gather this information.

  12. Robert Strigler

    This article is disappointingly what today’s politicians would call “FAKE NEWS”. It is a compilation of meaningless numbers. It is just a count of the number of recalls issued (as stated in the article). Anyone who is not familiar with statistical reporting would immediately infer that Forest River produces the worst product. This may or may not be true. How many units were produced vs# recalled. Do the raw numbers mean that Forest River is the manufacturer who cares enough about their customers to issue recalls on anything that may be hazardous and doesn’t try to slide by? Do they mean that Forest River produces the greatest number of units and so has the lowest percentage of recalls? Or is it in fact an indication that Forest River does have the worst record. Did TravelLite produce 2 units and 1 was recalled resulting in the highest percentage?
    Next time do more research. You have done a great disservice to all the products on this list and to all who read your column by presenting a skewed version of the facts.

    1. Stephen

      I agree. The numbers are meaningless without sales stats to compute the percentages.

  13. Barry Eads

    My sister asked me about RV brands the other day and I warned her Forest River was far and away the leader of recalls. I also warned her about any Thor owned companies. I now have statistics to show her. I won’t look at anything that comes out of Thor companies; have heard too many horror stories.

  14. martlin chambers

    Sure they own just about every make of RV these days but I think there is a reason that most recalls are from Thor owned companies. I won’t even look at them at a show, the lack of quality is depressing.

    1. A. W. Walker

      This is a typical response when you put out insufficiently analyzed data. Whereas Thor may have more recalls than, say, Newell, the raw number of recalls from Thor may represent only a very small percentage of recalls-per-unit sold compared to a much higher recall rate per
      unit from another manufacturer. Additionally, Thor products (or Forest River or you name it) may come from an enormous array of different factories compared with, say, Newmar, thus presenting a dilemma to both the buyer and corporation’s leaders as to which particular
      factory has a better or worse product.

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