Posted by: Mark Polk | 7:14 am

Q&A with Mark Polk: Motorhome Maintenance Cost Comparison

Question: I want to upgrade to a slightly bigger RV.  I have looked at two equally good choices, but  I have to evaluate the maintenance costs between a C- Class motorhome and an A-Class motorhome? Are there significant differences in maintenance & upkeep costs?  I am searching for good unit that allows me to use it at a reasonable operating cost.

How much difference in maintenance and normal repairs will there be? Any help you can provide will help me make a wise buying decision. Thanks in advance.

Answer: I could and should write an entire article on this topic, but as a quick answer to your question the biggest difference affecting maintenance costs is the motorhome chassis.

Class C motorhomes are built on existing cutaway van chassis’ with everything in the cab intact. When it comes time to get replacement parts it is not only easier to locate the parts, but often times less expensive on a Class C motorhome.

On a Class A motorhome many of these parts and components, common to a Class C chassis, need to be manufactured by the Class A motorhome builder. This can make locating repair parts a bit more difficult, and sometimes wiring diagrams and the location of parts and components are not well documented adding to labor costs when troubleshooting a problem down the road.

Another consideration is that larger and more expensive items are used to manufacture Class A motorhomes like tires, suspension components, fluid capacities, and other related chassis maintenance and repair items. When it comes time to replace these items there is more cost involved with the larger Class A motorhome.

The coach maintenance and upkeep costs are nearly identical between the two types of motorhomes, but when you compare maintenance and upkeep costs solely from a chassis standpoint the Class C would come out on top.

Have a great camping season, and Happy RV Learning,

Mark Polk


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  1. I bow to your wisdom, oh sir — but I had always assumed that Class A units were heavy built “truckish” units that would last much longer — so over the long haul, I would be doing much less maintenance than on a Class C. (Great big brakes need less replacing, great big radiator fails less, great big tires go longer between changes, etc.)

    Was I mis-informed?

    • One thing I failed to mention in the post is this cost comparison was a gas vs. gas comparison and did not involve a diesel chassis. With that said, no, you were not misinformed. It’s true that the larger Class A truck chassis’ are designed to withstand the rigors of travel. But there is more to this assumption than meets the eye. Actually the components used in a cutaway chassis (tires, radiator, brakes) will last for many years as well, especially considering the average RV owner (unless you are a fulltime RVer) may accumulate 5,000 miles a year. Unfortunately the tires on most motorhomes will need to be replaced long before they wear out, due to exposure to the elements and from sitting idle in storage. When it does come time to replace the tires, service the engine or replace a worn component like the exhaust system it will cost more on the larger motorhome.


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