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Old 05-19-2017, 02:16 PM   #1
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Wauconda , Illinois
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Smile First time buyer looking for advice

Hi all, I'm excited to say that my family is starting the process of buying our very first Airstream (and RV in general). We are wanting to buy a new Airstream and as we start the process of looking, I wanted to ask...is there any value in trying to stick to the Airstream dealerships closest to where we live or does the location of the dealership not matter much in the grand scheme of things?

Sorry if that is a noobie question...just trying to start somewhere! Thank you!!
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Old 05-19-2017, 02:23 PM   #2
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I can't answer your question because I didn't buy from a dealership. I visited Colonial in NJ several times looking for a new one but just happened to see a used (2009 Int. 25') AS in the classified ads in this forum and bought it privately.

But from what I read on the forum and heard from others it is a good idea to have a relationship with a dealer as you will have issues that need to be addressed under warranty (and maybe afterwards).

But nevertheless welcome to the forum. It's a great place to learn everything AS.

Happy hunting!
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Old 05-19-2017, 02:25 PM   #3
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There is perhaps value in it...but that only goes so far...

The price must be competitive.

The out the door price of these units can be remarkably different.

Some people get 5-8% off MSRP, and some I have spoke to got 15-20% off (on the lot OR special order).

For me personally, there is a dealer 5 hours from me that I like reasonably well...and I am glad they are close by...but if/when I ever buy again, I would probably still branch out my search super wide, and be willing to drive a long distance for a trailer at a competitive price...I think my dealer would equal any competition...but if they wouldn't and it was a pretty significant difference, I would not find value in that.

IF, the difference is some hundred, two, or three hundred dollars, I would not sweat it much...but thousands....no.
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Old 05-19-2017, 02:26 PM   #4
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FWIW, I have asked several about the question of "if I buy it at X dealer, will Y dealer do the service".

I believe the answer is yes....

But I do like having the personal relationship with my "closest dealer"....but im pretty sure that dealer, would happily service other trailers...it means new positive relationships and possibly new business?
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Old 05-19-2017, 02:51 PM   #5
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If your neighborhood dealer gives you the best deal by all means do business there. Service is sometimes the issue when you purchase from far away. I purchased from a online store for the best deal & took delivery 60 miles from my home at a dealership they owned & I've never been back for service. I was in Jackson Center, Ohio the factory service center last June for a minor repair and am going again this July for a laundry list of small items before my warranty expires in July also. Being from Illinois you could easily do the same.
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Old 05-19-2017, 05:17 PM   #6
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Purchased from a dealer close to me and got the best deal on a factory ordered 2017 28' Serenity.
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Old 05-19-2017, 06:18 PM   #7
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It is a big world, look everywhere. Then, do your best to deal locally. Yes, it is worth your time and money to build a relationship. The exception may be if you will do all maintenance and warranty work as DIY or through a trusted third party.

We all have different circumstances, but it can pay to have friends who work together. I know of one dealer that improved operations and service after key management was informed of slips in performance and a growing frustration among customers.

Hope to meet you down the road. Pat
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Old 05-20-2017, 12:07 PM   #8
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new Airstreamer

As a new Airstreamer I bought used last summer to allow for learning experience at a lesser cost.
From what I can tell, if you buy an Airstream from 8-20 yrs old that passes a careful inspection you can save a lot of money as you dip your toes into the scene. Never know for sure if it's for you until you do it.
We found a very good mechanically but superficially damaged trailer that we fully updated internally and are currently having the final fix on the outer panels and will have less than 25000 in, despite the high (8800) cost of the panel repair.

Could have gotten by without the panel fixes, but they bothered me too much.

Just my thoughts. There are a lot of 2008-2010 models out there that will look almost exactly like a new one and have already had most of the issuers shaken out of them. Just beware of scammers.
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Old 05-20-2017, 12:50 PM   #9
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When and I guess if we buy a new Airstream (we do dream about a new Classic - c’mon lottery!) we would shop local which for us is Windish or LazyDays. Windish just opened a new location in Colorado Springs (technically Fountain, CO) which would be closest for us. The reason we would look local is to establish a long term service relationship. Price differences in the internet age should be within a reasonable range which would pretty much be negotiable and would reconcile when pick up or delivery time and cost was factored in.
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Old 05-20-2017, 02:04 PM   #10
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Please excuse me for being blunt, BUT take nothing for granted when buying new. Even more so than buying used.

Pre-delivery inspection is a myth. Colonial is about the only dealer that will actually do a PDI that you can trust.

Watch that tires are correctly torqued, RUN the AC and heat pump for at least 20 minutes. Pressure up the water system and be sure water runs out of every valve and fill and fire up the hot water heater until is turns off and check the pop off valve for drips then open a valve and close it. The water pump should come on and shut down and NOT come back on at all. If it does you have a leak, on a new trailer.

Test every system prior to handing over a check!! Jackson Center does not do quality assurance inspections!

Again, forgive me for being blunt but I have lived thru this. It is not fun.

But once to know it all works you are in for years of wonderful times.

Enjoy
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Old 05-20-2017, 02:56 PM   #11
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Dealer relationships

We are very happy with our relationship with Southland in Atlanta. They gave us a great deal and their service is wonderful. We've owned our 23 FB FC for just 9 months and have been back twice for service. I can tell you that having a relationship with them has made it very easy. They even squeezed us in recently to fix a leak when they had many other rigs in the lot for service. They always say that customers who purchase from them are their top priority. That's all we know because they are the only dealer we've dealt with. If and when we are ready for a larger rig, I expect we will visit Southland.
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Old 05-20-2017, 04:03 PM   #12
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When my local (Seattle area) dealer told me their price just shy of $80K was firm on a FC 27 FB, I began telephoning around the country, from Colonial, in NJ, through the midwest, and then into CA & AZ. Most of the dealers quoted me in the range of $73-75K. One in Los Angeles quoted me around $72K. One in the San Joaquin Valley (Toscano, in Los Banos) quoted me a little over $70K. I ignored my local dealer, drove to Los Banos, & saved over $9K had I bought locally for the identical trailer. I've now put 25K miles on the AS & so far have had no downsides buying away from my local dealer.
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Old 05-20-2017, 04:36 PM   #13
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Outside of choosing the most exact Airstream for your present and future needs (well cared for, these last a long time) and a well-matched tow vehicle and hitch equipment for your Airstream and everyday needs, it is most important to go over and under and through that new or used Airstream with a fine-toothed comb looking for proper operation and no assembly defects. BEFORE you sign the check.

It can be extremely inconvenient and difficult to get things fixed AFTER the purchase. Do not depend on the dealer to make good on promises of fixes and repairs, as a whole they are unreliable once the deal is done.

Passing by, we stopped at local dealer a few months after purchase for a couple of adjustments and questions, the service/parts manager treated us like a lost orphan and denied any adjustments, leak or corrosion concerns after 90 days. Get lost.

We did get lost, haven't been back there in 6 years. We have routed our Airstream travels through Jackson Center Service where they took care of any concerns under warranty for the two year warranty period. We travel widely so have continued routing through Jackson Center for routine service and inspections.

I have read Airstream has improved their program for dealer service quality recently, but wouldn't depend on it. Ensure it's flawless to your satisfaction and set your standards high, before you sign the purchase agreement.

This can be accomplished much easier at a nearby dealer than one across the country, and the money you save by shopping far from home may be lost in the travels to go get it.
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Old 05-20-2017, 06:53 PM   #14
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I think the closest dealer with the best ( within reason) price is your best bet. If you consider Can Am in London Ontario, who are in my opinion a very good dealer, you may get a good deal paying Canadian dollars. It is only a day drive from you. They served us very well with any warranty issue. We bought for the first time and I would say that in general everything went ok. Most problems we had were with add on devices like the microwave, awning.
Airstream is not without fault in quality control. Current issue for us is the shower door, which I am replacing. Terrible design for an RV. I was on the roof today doing the annual Inspection,wash and polish and found the caulking around the screws for the roof fans was easy to peal off by hand. I think they used chewing gum!!. These problems should not be happening on a three year old trailer that cost over $100.000CAN. A final piece of advice is get practical and learn to do most things yourself . When the warranty is out you will be "it" unless you want to pay to get it done.
Using the forum you can learn a lot.

Norrie
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Old 05-20-2017, 08:11 PM   #15
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As with most things Airstream, your experiences will undoubtedly be a little different, but I would be willing to travel quite a distance if I were buying another new Airstream. The closest dealer to me was 4 hours away in the Chicago area. I have had to take our new 2016 trailer back for warranty work once. I have completed several repairs myself including warranty repairs with Airstream vendor parts. I was not thrilled with the way we were treated by either the sales or service staff. I recommend buying from the dealer with the right trailer at the right price and plan on traveling to Jackson center after your first year. Check this forum and you will see that there are some dealers that have a very loyal customer base. I would certainly try to purchase from one of those dealers rather than the closest dealer.
Just to ease your mind, we are still thrilled with our Airstream and do not regret the purchase, just the dealership choice. I am sure you enjoy your trailer, too.
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Old 05-20-2017, 09:06 PM   #16
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Buying new has it's own set of problems. There will be bugs and plenty of them. Buying an Airstream does not polarize you from manufacturers goofs on the assembly line. Buying an Airstream means you bought the best but new bugs will need to be worked out. Buying used may lesson the bugs but one must remember that you are pulling your home away from home down some pretty ruff roads. Here in California, we pay the highest rate of road tax in America and we have the worst roads in America. Bottom line is there are hundreds of Airstream owners on this forum who gripe and complain about their new Airstream. Most have never owned any other RV to compare with so they assume Airstream is a bunch of junk. I am one who has had other brands and I can tell you Airstream is the best....but I bought used and have never regreted it.
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Old 05-20-2017, 10:07 PM   #17
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Some have mentioned buying used. There's a lot of value to that. If you're dead set on buying new, go for the best deal and be willing to travel. High volume dealers are willing to take a greater haircut for numbers. Your warranty is only 1 year unless you buy an extended warranty. Go for the deal. You'll find someone to warranty the rig. Where do you live?
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