Is Thor a Quality RV?
What should you expect from the largest RV company in the world? Quality? Top-notch customer service? A good warranty? Unfortunately, the answers are no, no, and no. While there are some fantastic subsidiaries under the ownership of the Thor Industries brand, Thor itself has proven to be less than stellar. From a financial perspective, you can’t argue with their results. However, from many of their customers’ perspectives, many issues need to be addressed.
With these issues, you might be asking, “Why do so many people buy Thor RVs if they are so bad?” The answer is that they are cheap entry-level RVs and can actually be a decent way to begin the lifestyle. Yes, you will likely run into many issues. Despite that, these can still make good homes to those with a willingness to both learn and to put in a bit of elbow grease. Just make sure to perform a comprehensive “fit and finish” inspection because Thor’s quality assurance doesn’t have a great reputation.
Thor Motor Coach Warranty
One-year / 15,000 Mile Limited Warranty
In our research, we have seen multiple testimonials claim to have had trouble getting approved for warranty-related issues. Most seem to get the approval, but there are enough contradicting reports to make it worth mentioning.
Reduced 90-Warranty For Business Owners and Older RV Models
- Older Models: If the purchased RV isn’t the current or last year’s model, the 1-year limited warranty is reduced to 90 days and 5,000 Miles.
- Business Owners: Also, if there the RV is registered to a business or is used for a business, the warranty will be reduced to 90 days and 5,000 Miles. If you file for a tax benefit related to owning the RV, Thor will assume that the RV was used for business purposes.
We’ve read through a fair share of warranties, and most business owners usually don’t get any warranty. Ninety days is above standard. What isn’t standard is that warranties for older models are not often reduced.
The warranty states that it exclusively covers defects due to labor or parts during the manufacturing process. Also, it says, “Warrantor’s sole and exclusive obligation is to repair and/or replace, at its option…” In other words, even if there is a defect list as covered by the warranty, Thor can choose not to cover it. If some reviews are to believed, whether intentional or not, Thor supposedly has taken advantage of this statement.
If the warranty work is approved, all expenses related to delivering the RV will not be covered.
What’s Not Included in Thor’s Warranty
Here is a condensed list of the limitations of the limited warranty offered by Thor Industries:
- Owner-related: Anything that was added or changed, Items that you just don’t like, Defacing, Scratching, Dents, Chips, Maintenance issues covered in the manual: Wiper blades, Wheel alignments, Resealing, Etc.
- Environmental: Normal wear and tear, Fading, Discoloration of fabrics, Moisture-related damage, Damage caused from road hazards: Flaking, Peeling, Chips, Damage caused from chemical off-gassing, Airborne pollutants, Sale, Tree sap, Hail, Corrosion,
- Unwarranted Parts: Automotive chassis, Power train: Engine, Drive-train, Steering, Ride and handling, Braking, Wheel balance, Muffler, Tire wear or failure, Tubes, Batteries, Gauges
- Already Warranted by Another Company: CD Player, Cellular phone, Dryer, Furnace, Generator, Hydraulic jacks, Ice maker, Inverter, Microwave, Oven, Radio, Refrigerator, Roof air conditioners, Stereo, Stove, Television, Washer, Water heater, VCR
- Conditions That Will Void The Warranty: The warranty is void if the RV was sold or registered outside of North America, Misuse, Neglect, Accidents, Unauthorized alterations, Failure to perform reasonable and necessary maintenance (Details in Owner’s Manual), Damage caused by road conditions, Collision, Fire, Theft, Vandalism, Explosions, Overloading, and Odometer tampering
We can broadly summarize this list by saying that Thor will cover the labor and parts of any issues that were directly caused by the manufacturing process.
Thor doesn’t have a reputation for building durable RVs. Part of this is understandable, and part of it is irresponsible.
The reasonable factor can be found in their material choices. You’ve likely heard of the famous adage, “You get what you pay for.” Well, that’s true here. One example of this is in the use of particle board instead of plywood. It is a cheaper alternative, but it is also much more susceptible to water damage. Particleboard absorbs and warps very easily, which is why much of the industry is slowly turning away from this material. Beyond particleboard, you’ll find that a lot of the materials such as metals and wood are thinner than some of the more durable competing products.
The less reasonable durability issues come from a severe lack of quality assurance. The company’s fit and finish inspections need to be renovated because it isn’t working. It isn’t uncommon to come across lists of a rough dozen issues that required repairs within the first year or two.
The quality of the construction is further hindered by Thor financially incentivizing their employees to build units quickly rather than to build them well. This is a common practice amongst many of the RV manufacturers—one of several practices that need to be renovated.
Thor slide outs have been known to have issues. There are several slideout systems on the market, and each of them has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. The Schwintek slides are a good example of this. They have a bad reputation for always breaking down, but it’s not actually the Schwintek slide’s fault. Those slideout mechanisms are designed to be an inexpensive option that can move lightweight slides. Many manufacturers see “inexpensive,” and they ignore the load capacity.
To sum all of that quickly, Thor RVs are not usually very durable. Keep your toolkit handy. Just be careful not to void your warranty.
To this point, Thor primarily upholstered their furniture in pleather. It is a faux-leather that can deteriorate rather quickly. When it does, it looks awful. Many eventually bite the bullet and reupholster the whole thing. Assume that you have a few years of good to decent looking furniture, but you will need to renovate that furniture after a few years. A lot of RV companies actually do the same thing. Faux leather products have been improving over the years, and some of them are very durable and look fantastic…That’s just not the case here. Search “Thor leather” and “flaking” or “peeling” if you want to know more. Also, keep in mind that the warranty will not cover furniture deterioration.
Due to the already discussed fit and finish and durability issues, the interior quality takes a hit. Every RV can develop squeaks and rattles. While traveling down the road, staples and screws will naturally loosen their tight holds upon whatever materials they are fastened: wood, plywood, or particleboard. Thor often uses particleboard which is the most prone to stripping. Because of this, their RVs will more easily develop squeaks and rattles as the screws and staples lose their grip.
Thor RV Options
The floor plans are beautiful, accessible, and plentiful. At the time of this writing, there are 96 floor plans from which to choose, so you will probably find a few layouts that call out to you. You can customize these floor plans with a few varied themes and several furniture choices; nothing beyond that stands out as too unusual.
Any additional options are not listed on their brochures or website. You will need to speak to a dealer to determine what is currently available.
Thor Customer Service
It can be a bit difficult to get consistent communication from Thor. Some reviewers have good experiences, and others have bad. Every company will have plenty of both reports. What makes these reviews conspicuously negative is their relation to the average ratio of positive to negative reviews. Reading into the trend, you will come to notice two common customer service issues: their responses can be delayed, and repairs can stretch for months at a time.
We realize how hard we are on Thor. They aren’t a bad company. They are a cheaper company. If you pay more for an RV, you can expect better quality products and a better relationship between the company and the customer. Don’t go into an RV purchase blind, and you will likely be much happier with whatever you get.
What Types of RVs Does Thor Motor Coach Build?
- Class A
- Class B
- Class C
- Toy Haulers