Thursday, June 1, 2023


Finding a good service department is one of the most important parts of RVing

We all have our “must-have” lists when purchasing a big-ticket item. We use these lists because they help narrow down our choices when, say, buying an RV. You may not want the same features on your RV that I do. That’s okay. Everyone is different. But one feature that all RV owners will undoubtedly want (and need eventually) is a good service department. Is that “must-have” on your list? It should be!

Great service by default

We’ve owned four different fifth wheel RVs over the past several years. Our local RV dealer is not owned by a big-name national behemoth. Rather, it’s a mid-size family business and they’ve taken good care of our service needs. How did we choose our dealer and their service department? By default, really. They were the closest store to our stix-n-brix home and seemed to have a good reputation in our community. We knew friends who’d purchased an RV and had service done there and recommended the dealership.

What we didn’t know at the time we purchased our first RV was how important the service department would be. Now we know and are so grateful to have “happened” upon what seems to be a rarity in the world of RV repairs and maintenance. Because of the huge boom in the RV industry lately, there just aren’t enough qualified technicians to service all of the RVs out there these days. Many dealers (like ours) have had to limit their service only to those rigs that were purchased off their own lot. Since we bought a new RV from this dealership in the past, they have graciously agreed to continue servicing our current rig which we purchased from a private owner.

Finding a great service department

I don’t recommend “hoping” you’ll “just happen” to find a decent service department. Here’s what I do recommend:

  • Service bays. Check to see how many service bays the dealership has on-site. This will give you an idea of how many RVs can be serviced at a time. Theoretically, the more service bays, the greater the chance you’ll have less of a wait to get your RV serviced. Don’t base your choice solely on the number of service bays, though. We’ve all heard the service horror stories from some of the largest dealerships in the RV industry. And the stories really are a horror!
  • Certified mechanics. Ask how many certified technicians the dealership has on staff. Look for service technicians who have an RVIA Master Certification, other RV certification, and/or have several years of experience working on RVs like yours.
  • Years of operation. Ask how long the company has offered repair/maintenance services. Experience in the RV service industry can help reassure you (though not guarantee) that repairs and scheduled maintenance will be done correctly.
  • Days/hours of operation. Will the service center be available when it’s most convenient for you? Are weekend appointments possible? How late can you pick up your rig in the evenings? All are important questions to ask.
  • Approximate appointment wait times. Many dealerships are months behind in their service department. The problem? Too many RVs and not enough good techs to work on them. Great service may require that you wait weeks or even months for repairs or scheduled maintenance. Ask about this.
  • Services available. What services can be performed? For example, will the shop replace tires on your rig? Do they do their own bodywork, or do they have other vendors for this? Can/will they perform yearly maintenance? Do they handle warranty issues?
  • Costs. Find out the hourly work rate that the shop follows. Compare the hourly price with other shops you’re considering. (Remember: The cheapest shop isn’t necessarily the best or the worst.) Get an idea of yearly costs by asking questions like: What is the cost for a pre-trip systems check? What RV systems need a yearly review?
  • Communication. Can you phone or email a technician with a question, enabling you to troubleshoot issues on your own? Are charges itemized on the repair bill? Will the technician call you for authorization before working on your rig after diagnosing the problem? What happens if you are not satisfied with the work? When you phone the service department will you talk to a real person or leave a message on an answering machine? When you pick up your rig, will the technician go over the service fix to show you what’s been done?
  • Personal reviews. Always check any online reviews to see how actual folks rated the work done on their RVs. Ask around, as well. A personal recommendation can mean a lot when making the important choice of where you’ll take your RV for maintenance and/or repair service.

You don’t always have a choice about who will work on your RV, especially if you break down on the road. But when you do have a choice, do all you can to ensure that you choose wisely.



Gail Marsh
Gail Marsh
Gail Marsh is an avid RVer and occasional work camper. Retired from 30+ years in the field of education as an author and educator, she now enjoys sharing tips and tricks that make RVing easier and more enjoyable.


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Neal Davis
27 days ago

Thank you, Gail! We bought both our RVs hundreds of miles from our home. We were blessed to discover an RV service company (Northgate Parts, Hixson, Tennessee) near our house and we began using them six years ago. We use them for all our house-side work. Similarly, we found a chassis, engine, and generator technician at the nearby Freightliner Oasis shop. He has since left Freightliner and moved to a diesel shop (Diesel Plus, Ringgold, Georgia). Les is conscientious, diligent, relentless, experienced, and smart. We have never brought him a problem that he failed to solve. He recently solved an hydraulic fluid leak so well that Spartan (our chassis manufacturer) certified him to work on their chassis. Our Spartan chassis is the only Spartan chassis he has ever worked on. 🙂 😎

Mike Chapman
28 days ago

After reading your article, I can honestly say that after 40 plus years of rving in canada mostly and some in the USA, I have never found a dealer RV repair shop that could fix anything on our rv whether it was under warranty or not. In my experience they will attempt to repair it until the warranty runs out and it still needs repair. We have owned supposedly high end for years and finally found a used one that was built correctly the first time. Owned for 8 years now.

Karla W.
29 days ago

We always take our fifth wheel to the Tishomingo Service Center in Tishomingo MS. We go once a year to have any repairs done and annual maintenance completed. You get an appointment and actually get in a service bay that day. And you can stay overnight in your rig in their bays if your service takes more than one day.

Happy Camper7424
29 days ago

There needs to be a good review website for repair shops just like for campgrounds

29 days ago

There used to be a very good one (RV Service Reviews) until the page owners stopped supporting or allowing updates. RV Service Reviews There is an email link to the webmaster on the page and maybe if enough of us contact him they will resume support.

29 days ago
Reply to  rag_ftw

I’m thinking more along the lines of a new website like CampgroundReviews. Seems like it would be a great addition to the RVLife suite.

28 days ago

That is exactly what RV Service Reviews is. The problem is they haven’t allowed any updates since 2019. The website still exists and has a lot of good info.

28 days ago
Reply to  rag_ftw

Exactly, that’s why I think it needs to be an entity that can maintain it like RVLife.

28 days ago

I believe Social Knowledge, LLC owns RVLife and RV Service Reviews. Trying to verify that currently.

28 days ago
Reply to  rag_ftw

Interesting, maybe it will be resurrected!

Diane McGovern
28 days ago
Reply to  rag_ftw

Hi, rag_ftw. I just looked it up. I see nothing on RV Service Reviews’ website except references to in their Legal Notice. On the website for Social Knowledge, LLC, they list 30 websites and RV Service Reviews is not one of them. They do have RV LIFE Maintenance, but that’s just for maintenance tips and tracking. I don’t see any repair shops listed, at a quick glance. Have a great day. 😀 –Diane at

Diane Mc
29 days ago

Best service dept….my husband. Does the majority of our fixes/services. We have also used mobile services on the road which in all cases worked out very well. We have a great CAT service place. Put our new engine in which replaced 200k mile original. From beginning blew oil/smoke but would borderline pass CAT test…not same CAT place…got worse so just replaced it. Kept us in the loop through out the whole process and had it done at agreed time. We’ve had pretty good luck with most Freightliner service depts.

29 days ago

The best service department around is right in my back yard. Just finished a full chassis PM(preventive maintenance)
And I’m mobile, I travel with the coach & bring lots of tools…
This past winter I replaced a leaky bathroom faucet while we were in AZ. I think that was my biggest repair this year.

29 days ago

We’ve been extremely happy with the service we get from our local RV dealer General RV in Huntley IL (we also bought our 2019 GD Imagine there). It’s always ready when they say it will be, & the service reps keep us informed as to any additional repairs needed, providing photographic proof, & the cost for each repair. We consistently get back a fully repaired RV.

Tommy Molnar
29 days ago

All good points, but OUR problems seem to always crop up when we’re nowhere near our home. And even when we’re home we’ve come to depend on a really good mobile guy. There are no dealers around we trust. We live in the Reno area and bought our trailer from a dealer in Salt Lake – and they went bust.

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