By Chuck Woodbury
lease tell me if this statistic alarms you, or even disgusts you. We surveyed RVtravel.com readers last Sunday asking, “Is your RV ‘out of action’ because you are waiting for repairs?”
More than 1200 readers responded. I was stunned at the results: One in six reported that their rig was, indeed, grounded, waiting to be repaired. That’s ONE IN SIX! How can that be? How can a product be manufactured and sold without an adequate service network to promptly repair it? Last year at this time, we asked a similar question: It showed that one in 10 RVs needed significant repairs. Things are not improving, are they?
We’re not talking about junker RVs. We’re talking about vehicles of all shapes, sizes and ages and, as is the nature of the beast, all with many moving parts and complex systems that no matter how well cared for need occasional (or sometimes frequent) professional maintenance and repair.
Can you imagine if one passenger car out of 6 could not be used because it would require weeks, even months, to be fixed? Consumers would howl, and the government would be all over it. And you can bet manufacturers with the worst products would be shut down until they could ensure an adequate service and repair network.
Comments to our poll:
“We purchased a brand new Winnebago diesel pusher in April and are waiting for our fifth round of repairs from LaMesa RV, who is in no hurry to get things done. The upcoming repairs, some have lingered since purchasing in April, took over two months to schedule the appointment. In the meantime our RV isn’t safe to use.”
“Our 2022 Tiffin has been at the dealership service center now 10 weeks for a slide recall and damage that was done to slide because of defective rams. This being the longest time so far we have not been able to use it. Last time was 6 weeks for repairs. Have not been able to take a trip of any length since we bought it (Nov. 8, 2021).”
Your RV may have had no such problems. After all, if one in six has service issues, that means 5 out of 6 have no significant issues. Just sayin’.
Why are so many RVs waiting for repairs? Not enough trained technicians, not enough repair shops to service all the RVs, dealers who won’t service RVs purchased elsewhere, and (lately) parts shortages. Yes, these are valid reasons. But the fact is, a huge number of RVs need necessary repairs. We should all be mad. You and I might be in the repair waiting line one day ourselves.
Our contributing writer Dustin Simpson owns California RV Specialists in Lodi, California. It’s a retail store and an eight-bay service department. He is currently scheduling new service work for next January — he’s booked until then. “I must get 40 or 50 calls a day for service” he told me. Only about 2 out of 10 actually schedule an appointment.” The other 8, he says, don’t want to wait that long. “People get mad,” he says. “We might attend church together and they expect me to squeeze them in.” He tells them he simply can’t do it. If he does, one of the technicians gets pulled from another job and then the service backup gets even further extended. He would like to hire new technicians, but no luck after many efforts.
The RV Industry Association (RVIA) is well aware of the problem — it’s the same thing all over the country. Sure, they talk about it. But talk is cheap. In my opinion, it doesn’t care. Not really! What the association cares about is promoting the sales of its hundreds of members which includes most RV manufacturers. That, after all, is its main job. The association would go out of business if it suddenly announced it would mount a campaign to create RV lemon laws to protect consumers.
Once again, I will say that RVers need a quality RV owners association where the mission is focused on the needs of RVers, not the industry. One association cannot serve both RVers and the RV industry: That would be like a fox overseeing the hen house. As I’ve said before, if such a consumer organization were to form, I’ll be right there to help promote it, after determining its intentions were sincere, not a scam in disguise trying to make a buck.
One out of six RVs out of action due to lack of repair services is not acceptable.
What do you think? Please leave a comment.
Money talks, so our “dishonest” legislators keep on taking the money from the manufacturers and sticking it to the buying public.
We were on the road for 97 days this summer; a coast to coast trip. During that time we had a pop out that would not retract, transmission line broke, air conditioner broke, cracked windshield and the gear shift would shift but not show the correct gear. Noone could look at the problems for a minimum of 2 months with the exception of the transmission problem. We found a garage in Florida that works on big rigs that was willing to fix it. We only waited 2 days. Everything else was fixed by my husband enroute. We would order parts on Amazon and have them shipped to whatever campground we would be at. Thank God he is handy. I know this is not an option for many RVers. The one that really angered us off was the air conditioner. It was still under warranty, but noone could replace it for several months. There was no way we could handle the triple digit heat going home. Company wouldn’t honor the warranty if we put it in ourselves. Our rv is a new Winnnebago. Only been used for 3 summers.
I think the wait times for warranty service are unacceptable. We had some minor damage on fiberglass panels on our new class c we picked up last November. Dealer finally did the repairs in September. We might have been able to get the work done sooner, but they wanted the unit for “4 to 6 weeks” to do the work. It was at most a two day job. The excuse was that they could not schedule the repairs at the body shop until the unit was on the lot. I said put it in the queue, and I will bring it the day before the body shop is ready for it. They would not do it that way.
We too are of the probably thousands waiting for repairs. We bought our 2022 Entegra Vision in July of this year and the amount of warranty repair to be done is incredible. We are new to RV’ing and never dreamed we would have so many problems with a NEW RV. RVs just seem to be thrown together. No QA! The dealerships a do not have the Technician manpower nor the bay space to get all of the RVs fixed. We had to make an appointment two months in advance just to have it looked at and when we arrived for the appointment, we had to sign an acknowledgement that the RV could be on the lot for up to 6 weeks before it was actually pulled into a bay to be assessed! Then there will be the wait for parts, another appointment to be made for the work, and then probably sit on the lot for another 6 weeks before pulled into a bay to have actual work performed. We will be lucky if we get to use our RV this fall at all! Wish they were making the payments on the RV sitting on their lot.
So, how do we start such an organization?? I think that you have a list of 1200 who would plunk down a few bucks for a legit organization. Plus probably half of the rest of your readers would pitch in.
And if we reached out to Escapees and other RV clubs, there should be plenty of support. I have no idea how to organize such a group, but I wouldn’t think it would be difficult to do!!
It is about time for us owners to get real support against the industry.
I’ve noticed that some popular YTers can get their rigs repaired very quickly by their RV manufacturer in Elkhart — looking at YOU, Grand Design. Shouldn’t all your buyers get this same level of service?
Having spoken with several certified repair people, what seems to be missing in the “can’t hire qualified technicians” excuse, is that many dealerships (and extended warranty companies) offer an insultingly low compensation package. Dealers whine about a predicament of their own making.
My 2021 tiffin is in the shop awaiting parts. I totally agree rv’ers need an association to represent owners. Only way to get the political support to change the status quo. If things don’t change i will soon be an ex-rver.
so far so good. it has helped that our recent repairs have been paid out of pocket. Those tend to be seen faster. I am thankful that so far we’ve been able to extend our stay at our current park while waiting for a part. I’ve learned that “booking 6 months ahead” is not a good option for us.
a few years back we brought our rig to a shop and they didn’t touch it for months! They never bothered to tell us that they had no one who knew how to fix our issue.
We recently purchased a new camper and wanted Campers World to install a brand-new TV we purchased. They could not do so, even though they tried. They claimed it was a problem with the TV we purchased not working with the mounting hardware they provided. Basically, I told them to just stop, and I would have a mobile tech at our campground take a look at it. He has always done the work on our old camper, and I trusted him. He came and between him and I, the TV was mounted using the bracket in about 10 minutes. I sent a picture to the salesman showing him the mounted TV, he had always agreed with us and fought with the service department about their incapability to take care of it. I also told a manager to make sure they wave goodbye to the camper when it was delivered to us as I will NEVER take it back to them for any service and will always use the mobile tech that I trust. We have used the camper for over a week at the campground and so far have not found any problems with it
I’m probably poking the bear here and tempting fate, but reading this article and the ensuing comments reinforces my belief that anything made after 2017 or so is junk and should be avoided. We had thought about buying a newer rig to replace our aging 2005 Winnebago Aspect but from the anecdotes I have heard I am convinced that that would be a huge mistake. Our Winnie has given us 110,000 relatively painless miles of service. I do almost all the maintenance myself. I have only taken it in for service on things I can’t do and those few items were mostly chassis related.
My advice to newbies? 1) If you’re not mechanically inclined and willing to get your hands dirty, stay in motels or buy a tent, and 2) Buy an older rig without all the bells and whistles.
Newer is not necessarily better. We have had our 1984 Bluebird Wanderlodge for over 20 years now, and it keeps taking us fulltimers down the road. Sure, we have updated parts as needed or wanted, but any truck repair place can do the work. My unasked for advice is to look for an older rig that has been taken care of. A LOT cheaper in the long run and you won’t overpay, plus you will get to enjoy your rig the way it was meant to be used.
Why should the government be “all over it”?
Bought trailer Feb, 2022, 20 minutes later, oncoming transport truck vortex, or rock, exploded front window/ windshield and it sat at the dealer all spring, summer, fall while they waited for a replacement window and glass shops can’t fix it with curved tempered glass, finally picked it up in October but it’s technically winter and still haven’t used it.
Why would one expect or suggest “government” to be interested or capable of fixing this.
They struggle with making the highways safe and smooth. Just try to drive the number 1 hyway through Manitoba!!
The waiting numbers for important surgeries is their challenge in Kanada and they fail miserably to address that.
We bought our Axis in August of 21. It has been in the shop pretty much from the day after we bought it until today. We have told that the wrong parts were sent several times and as of yesterday that the parts were ordered and a two week delivery was expected.
Ours is one of the one out of six right now. This is the 2nd time it’s been in and we just bought it this year. The first time they flat out lied to us about why the repair we took it in for didn’t get done the first time.
End of 2020 got a new 2021 so I wouldn’t have issues to deal with starting out full-time. That didn’t go as planned. Had to wait 14 weeks for a part, another 3 weeks to get into the service schedule. That’s 4 months of being “stuck” somewhere I intended to be for 8 weeks. Then to top it off while sitting still in a campground for 2 days my clean water tank decided to just fall out pushing the underbelly down, crushing furnace duct work, and landing on my rear axle. They said at least 3 weeks to get a new tank because when they took the old one out it had WARP written on it in black marker. Really? So since I already waited 4 months I wasn’t going to wait another month because they weren’t about to put the WARP one back in. Now I have no clean water holding tank. All this after having the slideout fixed because it leaked, kitchen sink got resealed, and the bed’s sideboards put back on twice (I’m not big so weight didn’t cause it). UGH! But I’m not quitting! Better days comming!
The “1 in 6” number is meaningless, because the participants were self-selected. Angry people with warranties are far more likely to respond to a request to comment than people that are happy with their unit. I’m guessing the dealers are overloaded, but not the independents, and that the “1 in 6” might apply to people trying to get warranty work done. That’s a very small number of all the RVs out there.
We definitely need a RV owners association whos mission is to ensure we get quality RV’s and parts/equipment. we need to pound our politicians till they regulate the RV industry.