Saturday, December 3, 2022


It’s checkout time, your RV has a problem, won’t move. What to do?


By Chuck Woodbury
I have wondered what would happen if it were time to check out of my site in a packed RV park, but my motorhome had a mechanical problem and it couldn’t move. What if it were a park where every RV space was reserved for every night: somebody was due in your spot later that day?

What would you do? Could the park manager force you to move? Has this happened to you? It must happen from time to time.

Here is a letter I received today that got me thinking about this. It’s from a reader named Renee Gainey, who wrote:

“I need help. The manager in our park in Crescent City, California, keeps asking us to move, saying she has reservations for our particular spot. We have had some mechanical issues with our Class A and are still waiting for a back-ordered part for our hydraulics so we can’t move.

“She told me a week ago that someone was coming into our spot. We are still waiting for our part but we are supposed to be out tomorrow, no exceptions. I want to know why they want us out so badly. There are plenty of open spots here. My husband is disabled, I am partially disabled and we bother no one. How can a manager of a park pick and choose when we are in a predicament and can’t move our RV yet?

“We offer to pay whatever is needed until we can safely move. I was hoping you could write an article asking if this type of situation has happened to other full timers. I think this topic should get out in the open. It’s not right.”

In this case, if the RV is unable to move, can the RV park force the RVer to leave, perhaps having it towed elsewhere? Of course, as we all know, sometimes there is not another RV park for miles, or there are no spaces. In this case, the couple in the site is waiting for a part to get their RV running again.

Then there’s the RVer who has reserved the site beginning in a few hours. What if he or she arrives and the reserved site, which you still occupy, is not available, or any other site? Isn’t that person entitled to the space? I suspect some people, in our too-angry world, would be very upset.

I have never been in this situation, but I have thought about it. I would love to hear your comments if this has happened to you. If it’s not happened to you, what do you believe is the best thing for both the RVer and the park owner to do?

Please feel free to leave a comment.


Did you enjoy this article?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 0 / 5. Vote count: 0

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.


Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Melody Thomas
1 year ago

We had just this sort of thing happen during a recent caravan we were leading. There were 22 rigs in our caravan and we were staying in a campground in upstate NY during the height of the camping season in June. When we were due to leave, one of our group suffered a heart attack. Doctors put a pace maker in our caravaner. The man was unable to drive and had to stay in place for follow-up treatment. No other campgrounds in the area had anything available. The manager of the RV Park found another spot in the campground and moved their Class A MH to that spot, saying it was available for a week. At the end of the week, the couple was still stuck there with medical issues. The manager then rigged up a double hookup on one site. It was at great inconvenience to the RV Park but they understood the situation and helped out as they could.

Jeff Craig
1 year ago

Before the pandemic hit, we were returning from the Phoenix NASCAR race, and spent a night in Vegas. When we went to pull out of our spot, the jacks wouldn’t retract and we had oil dribbling out of the weep hole of the hydraulics bay. I had to go and check back in, and the park recommended a local tech who came out first thing the next morning due to another job (all three I called were busy). $110 to replace a pair of $0.05 O-rings. The park was nice enough to juggle four other different reservations to accommodate our issue.

It definitely sounds like this ladies park manager should be able to work with them, especially knowing that there are supply issues. That said, the park could charge a ‘premium’ fee for them taking the spot for so long.

1 year ago

We had similar experience in RV park in Temecula, our MH wouldn’t start after checking in at the office. We had it towed to our reserved spot. RV office had info on a mobile tech who fixed the problem. We had to extend our stay by a day waiting for part

Neal Davis
1 year ago

We have never been prevented from leaving a campground as scheduled by a mechanical problem. We did have a family emergency that led us to request to extend our stay by one day, which we had to do twice. Thankfully the campground owners/hosts graciously agreed. As to solutions to being unable to move, towing the disabled RV to an available spot seems acceptable/necessary. In the event that towing is impossible or will destroy the disabled RV, then I think the incoming RV will have to be situated in an unconventional spot in order to provide some or all utilities. Also seems appropriate that the campground AND owners of disabled RV share costs of extraordinary means of providing utilities (e.g., hiring a pump-out service for displaced RV). Really, this is a very tough situation for all and graciousness and flexibility on the part of all three parties is needed.

Ian C
1 year ago

I have a very good friend that was ready to depart a R V Park near Santa Cruz.

The slides would not retract.

The park was insisting he leave and he couldn’t move his coach.

He was finally able to move his motorhome just a few feet out of his site with slides out at a very slow pace.

The park charged him $40.00 a day with no hook ups.

It took 4 days to get his motorhome repaired.

The park was not very kind.

Please tell us what campground did this. Thank you
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian C

Please tell us what campground did this. Thank you.

1 year ago

I was once affected by someone who had mechanical problems. A friend and I were traveling together, each in our own RV. I made all the reservations for both of us and went to great lengths to reserve sites next to each other. When we arrived at the campground, we were told that the person who was supposed to be leaving my friend’s site, had a mechanical problem and couldn’t move his RV. She was given another site quite far from mine. I was camped next to the person with the problem who had a pick-up and fifth wheel. Not sure what the problem was, as I never saw anyone attempting to make a repair, and the family was driving the pick-up. It was disappointing but we managed.

1 year ago

A similar situation occurs when one of the party is taken to the hospital for something serious. I saw it happen due to a serious heart attack at a COE campground near East Moline, IL this summer.

The campground and neighboring campers appeared to go out of their way to accommodate the wife for an extended period of time.

Mark K
1 year ago

We had this happen over labor day weekend this year. The rv would not start and the cg was completely booked for the weekend. I was able to get the engine running but had to hold my finger on the auxiliary start rocker switch. I limped around to the last overflow spot. We had 20 Amp service there and made an appointment for Tuesday morning at a truck repair garage. After trying numerous things, I was able to figure out the problem, which was a bad relay. I was able to get a replacement at the local auto parts store and canceled the appointment. The owners of the Brattleboro KOA were very helpful and understanding and did not charge us for the overflow spot, can’t say enough good things about them.

Cheryl Robinson
1 year ago

We Were in Jefferson City,Missouri waiting for a part for our diesel truck. We had to move to another spot. But what really peed us off , the site we had been on stayed vacant for a week. Finally the day before we were to leave a MH pulled in and was gone before we left. And to top it off there still were quite a few open spots where that MH could’ve parked for the night. Nice park, great river views. But us being told we had to move was ridiculous.

Steve Picker
1 year ago

What campground were you at in Jefferson City, Missouri. That is my home town. I moved away many years ago but need to go back one of these days. I want to avoid that campground.

Paula Provost
1 year ago

Most campgrounds have an “overflow” area where the disabled RV should be moved.

Mae Henning
1 year ago

I think more info is needed here. I have questions. Are they doing the repair themselves and waiting for a part? or are they using a local repair shop or mobile repair? Because, If they are doing it themselves, they should go through someone else, after all they are disabled. Not sure how being disabled is preventing them from moving, being that they drove there in the first place. People should just deal with their situations instead of playing the victim card for sympathy to get their way, providing that is what has happened here. A plan “B” is definitely in order here because supplies seem to be very limited and getting worse. Unless they come up with another option they could be there for a very long time and that seems unacceptable. I wish them the best.

1 year ago
Reply to  Mae Henning

You are sure assuming a lot.

1 year ago
Reply to  Mae Henning

Oh my Mae Henning, you are just the type of neighbor I never want. Gary is right, you are assuming a lot.

1 year ago
Reply to  cee

Of NEGATIVE stuff I might add!

Donald N Wright
1 year ago

I appreciate the situation. Camping at a Federal park, they did not give me the checkout date, some charge by the day, some by the night, and the stoned campground host was livid I had not left on time. The contract could not be found, as expected. Oh well, I am more careful now.

1 year ago

A couple next to us in a fully booked KOA in Petoskey, MI, had a similar problem. Park management was accommodating. In my opinion, park management should explain to the incoming “reservist” what the situation is and ask if they would accept an alternative site. For that matter, the owners of the inoperable RV could sweeten the pot by offering funds to reduce the incoming party’s site fees. While it is an angry world, 99% of the RVers I have met over many years I have found to be reasonable and helpful. The other 1% cold be described as having necks with varying shades of red!

Mae Henning
1 year ago
Reply to  Carl


Last edited 1 year ago by Mae Henning
1 year ago
Reply to  Carl

You are assuming that “rednecks” are all bad, which is far from the truth. Most of them are extremely good people, and some of the most knowledgeable and helpful about mechanical issues. Your 1% comment is very unkind.

1 year ago
Reply to  DRC

I do agree unkind but, over the years the term “redneck” has achieved a negative connotation (unfortunately). I believe that Carl was using this derogative term loosely which is unfortunate indeed. I am a Texan (female) and consider myself a “redneck” because I’m out in the sun A LOT and my neck gets sunburned. See, different connotations on the same term! THIS though is the sort of thing we need to learn to NOT say. What is ok for some is hurtful to others! ALL OF US need to learn respect for our fellow man (or woman)!

1 year ago
Reply to  Carl

I take the red neck reference as how some people’s face and necks get varying shades of red when they are angry and over the top with rage. That’s my take on the comment!
I do agree that 99% of us have compassion for a fellow RV’er in a bad situation and will whatever is necessary to help out however it’s the 1% that don’t care until it happens to them!

John Goodell
1 year ago

I’ve been on both sides of this. The hydraulic motor on my 5th wheel failed so I couldn’t retract the slides or levelers. We immediately notified the manager and started scratching our heads. I knew there was a solution but it took some time to figure it out. We asked the manager for the best nearby hardware store because I needed some special tools and she LOANED me what I needed. We departed 3 hours later, 2 hours past checkout time, with profuse thankyou’s and no extra charges.

Another time around a holiday we got a 7-day reservation but would have to move to a different site half-way through our stay. This involved 4 other rigs because of the site lengths and utilities offered. The 1st RV in this chain reaction stalled for as long as they could while the rest of us waited. Since I was ready, I moved out and for a while I was the only RV without a spot. The manager finally intervened and asked the 1st guy to get moving. Talk about musical chairs!

Jesse Crouse
1 year ago

Does the RV park have a no or limited service area that the RV could be moved or towed to that you could rent till the part comes in. Guess I am asking if some kind of compromise could be arranged between the two parties.

1 year ago

I worked at an RV park for four years. We had a simple policy that worked well to avoid such issues: we did not guarantee any particular site reservation. We would record your preference. We would work to fulfill your preference. But, we would not guarantee a particular site. Period. 99 times in a hundred, you got your preference.

1 year ago
Reply to  Warmonk

Though, it isn’t like that throughout. Particular CG’s have views that people specifically want, reserve and pay for. Besides, why have a site preference you can’t give. Waste of time filling in when making reservations.

Selene Montgomery
1 year ago

We’ve been in the ‘can’t move’ situation several times (jacks not retracting, slide not coming in, motor not starting, air bags not inflating). First thing is to let the campground office know of your situation. We’ve had great cooperation from the office, even if someone is due to come in to our site. They may offer the name of a local tech, offer tools, or other help. As a campground worker, our bosses do all of the above, and try to be part of the solution, maybe even offering a non-camping spot on the property to get towed to for a work space or temporary parking for the incoming unit . If all involved parties work together (even the incoming site renter), a solution may often be worked out to handle the situation without cross words or hard feelings.

1 year ago

This happened to me last year. We had stopped to get fuel and they put gas in my diesel truck. We drove back to the campground before I realized what had happened. I talked to the 1000 trail park host and told them what had happened and my truck was going to be gone for at least 2 days. They told me that all the sites were booked but they would work around my problem, I just paid for the extra nights. Hats off to the 1000 trail campground for being so understanding

Kenneth Knigga
2 years ago

I’ve had it happen to us when we had the grandkids along for a trip, yes I was perturbed having to wait a half hour for the other rv to pack up and move on, but I kept my mouth shut, hard to do for a marine. All that I kept thinking about was getting our rv set up along with the kids bike and gear out so the kids could get to the pool.

Betty Danet
1 year ago
Reply to  Kenneth Knigga

It is heartening seeing you be a great role model for your grandkids. Learning to accept and deal with situations that don’t go as planned is a great life lesson.

Charles Yaker
2 years ago

similar problem happened to me several times that I can remember. I have also asked on many occasions for a spot I could stay in for an extended period in case something unexpected was found when taking my truck for service. Or service took longer then anticipated, Once I limped into a campground overheating I had no idea how long it would stake to get back on the road . Once got a flat before leaving the spot but that spot was not booked . Three other times I was towed into campgrounds twice on holiday weekends. In two cases they found spots for us and in the other they set us up next to their maintenance shop with water and electric. Once I was towed to a Ford dealer on a holiday weekend and was allowed to boondocks in a corner. Stuff happens I like to think most Campgrounds would want to help work it out. In the the final analysis they cant survive on one time traffic especially with clubs and people like you to out the bad guys.

Terri R
2 years ago

we had that happen to us twice now where broken down was in our spot. Fortunately state parks where they gave us option to wait or occupy one of the walk up sites. We exercised taking a walk up site in one case & waiting a few hours for the other. We have also had to repair a tire & ended up running over on the site by about an hour – new occupant not there yet when we left.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Every Saturday and Sunday morning. Serving RVers for more than 20 years.