Friday, February 3, 2023


RV service centers and stores are out of parts. Now what?

By Nanci Dixon
A couple of weeks ago I wrote an article about RV dealers running out of RVs and service centers being jammed. There were a lot of comments. I was surprised at how many people were waiting for RV parts. Because of a shortage of those parts, either their RV was sitting in the service bay waiting for a part or they were waiting to get their RV into a service bay if the needed part came in.

One of those comments was left by Art B., who wrote, “I have been four months waiting for small parts for our Jayco, owned it for three months, three days. This is crazy!”

Ann noted, “Real world experience. Stopped at my RV dealer for a $3 part that I needed. The dealer stated that the COVID has crippled the supply of parts. Only three RVs available for sale. Many units on the lots waiting for parts. Had to settle for an alternative part.”

I decided to talk with several more dealers, service centers and store managers. 

RV stores are running out of RV accessories

One RV store manager said that every morning when he comes in, it looks like they have been robbed! Newbies are literally buying up everything and emptying out the shelves. So many people are buying RVs this summer that there is a veritable run on RV stuff too, including RV toilet paper!

Our sewer hose sprung a leak (not pleasant) and I called several places before I could find one. Once I did, it was shorter than I wanted and not the brand I was looking for. One woman at an RV dealer’s store told me that she only had two hoses left and “when they are gone, they are gone.” She just can’t get any more. I had searched on Amazon before calling around and found the one I wanted. The first delivery option was the middle of October. A leaky sewer hose is an immediate issue so I paid an exorbitant price and hoped it was long enough. 

RV service centers can’t get parts

One service manager said they just can’t get toilets, refrigerators, water hoses, water regulators or even water filters. He said that companies building RVs have first call on the parts going into the RVs. For service centers the product then trickles in after the manufacturers are supplied or don’t come in at all. While imports are a problem, most of the items he was waiting for were made in the U.S. Manufacturing plants that had shut down for several weeks are doing catch-up. One part manufacturer’s employees tested positive for COVID, and the lines were shut down until everyone was cleared.

Mark Gorrie from RVForce in Pensacola, Florida, explains, “Rumor is that the parts that are delayed are coming from China as most of the problem, and the rest of the problem is the manufacturers are still trying to catch up from their shutdown.” 

RV service bays are full and RV sales lots are empty

And the service bays? Full! One dealer said that their service bays are so busy because all the new RVs they sold need prep before delivery. He pointed to a calendar that showed every single day in July checked off with RVs that were sold and waiting to get into prep. That may take precedence over repairs. The sales manager then said that they just can’t get any more inventory this year.

The general manager at a different dealer said that 90% of all the sales are now new customers – customers that have not even been RVing before. Their usual clientele are return customers or experienced RVers. Their interior showroom was almost empty. A sales person said they were ordering units but delivery might be sometime in December. December in Minnesota…not good.

Lyn posted, “I checked with a local dealer that takes consignments, but he said the high-end units are not what’s selling right now. Folks are buying the units that are under or around $20,000, and they’re gone within hours of arriving on the lot.”

Diane has been disappointed with the number of RVs available, “We’ve been preparing to go full-time for a year-and-a-half. We’ve done our research, we knew what we were looking for. This time last year we would have had no problem finding what we wanted but inventory is so low in southern California there isn’t a rig of the make/model within 200 miles of where we live. We went to about seven different lots that are usually full with between 150 to 300 rigs and found that they each had, at most, 10 RVs on site. I can’t speak for other areas of the country, but southern California has been cleared out.” 

The couple next to us this week in a brand-new truck camper said that their parents had gone to RV lots early in the morning, looked over the fence at what there was and before they got back to tour them the units would be sold. Keith just ordered a new trailer, delivery date May 10th, but only if he ordered that day.

It is an RV buying frenzy! Makes me wonder where all those RVs will go when the pandemic ends and people decide to take planes and cruises, and book hotel rooms again.



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Thomas D
2 months ago

Check out recycling company’s Colaw in Missouri comes to mind.They have more good used reclaimed stuff. I’d do that rather than setting without. Like the old saying from the yellow pages. Let your fingers do the walking.

Wayne Sasserq
1 year ago

The standard answer is “due to Covid, we can’t get parts.” Seriously? why do the manufacturers not have more than one source for frequently used products such as slidetopper awnings, plumbing devices and etc. One would think that if the advertising of being “the foremost builder of RV’s in the industry” would have multiple resources. Instead we have waited 3 months for components, missing both Summers in these past two years. My biggest pet peeve is being left in the dark regarding timeliness of receipt of parts, or not being notified as the “customer Service” personnel say they will. Ever notice how these folks pass the buck to a phantom Manager, who never calls, responds to emails or communicates? It’s all a smoke screen, these companies and many of the “manners” are minimally qualified in people skills. Try calling to talk to some of these “managers”. Steve Tobias at Thor is the world’s most elusive one. He’s never in his office, never returns calls, won’t provide email address.

1 year ago

I needed a new 20′ ZeroG water hose and it was in stock on Amazon and delivered a few days ago. A few weeks ago I needed a new section of sewer hose. The brand (Valterra Dominator) was in stock at Amazon and delivered a few days later. A sewer hose rarely is an emergency need and often someone will lend you one; that’s what the people next to us did when ours tore. (I only needed every section I had, 50′ worth, because of the poor layout of this site.)

Why would anyone ever leave an RV at a dealer for “small parts”? Get off your butt and be proactive rather than passive.

Yes, major appliances are an issue, the same as they are for homes. The Texas shutdown has caused, of all things, a glue shortage for RV manufacturers. The looming issue is the supplier price increases that are coming fast with no advance notice. Tires are another place due to rubber and carbon black shortages. So yeah, we’ll all be paying more for things for a while and not just for RV’ing.

Bug'N Out Rv'N
1 year ago

We have a 2018 Kodiak. It has been in for warranty repair for the past month and a half waiting for a stabilizer arm. The other repairs were finished within the first week. I don’t mind so much waiting for the part, my issue with this particular service department is the fact that I have been lied to more times than I can count. Honesty goes a long way with me. Instead of telling me week after week that the part will be here “next week”, just tell me the truth. The parts are backordered and when it comes in we will call you to schedule for installation.

Laura G.
2 years ago

Here in Georgia there is definitely a parts shortage. We’ve been waiting over a month for a simple part. They have a guy at the RV repair shop that’s been waiting 2 months for his AC parts. Apparently the lowest on the totem pole is independent RV repair shops.
As far as dealer inventory goes, we are short down here as well. Many of the RV lots are very low and their websites have a lot of “on order” for their RVs. 2 things about all this concern me, 1. RVs are thrown together before, will this make them worse because of the rush to get them done and 2 all these newbie RV drivers on the road…yikes!

Last edited 2 years ago by Laura G.
2 years ago

My take on the RV buying frenzy; when this all dies down, 1.) Some will find that they love the RV lifestyle and will become part of our RV family, or 2.) They will be lured back into the resort island vacation-cruise-all inclusive- pamper me mode and sell that RV. That is good news for many of us who will be ready to snap up that two-year-old RV at a bargain price.

2 years ago

I learned to get part number and do an internet search. Many parts are available at Amazon, E trailer, and various other places that are cheaper as well. For warranty work, dealerships are dependent upon the manufacturer to ship parts. I once got a part and took it to my dealership to have it installed after they said it was back ordered. I got it directly from the OEM.

2 years ago
Reply to  Roy

Totally agree – Just converted to disc brakes and never had any problems getting components or parts. And of course items in the stores are in short supply, when all of the dealers are pushing the low cost cheap units on every family who think RV’ing is the way to travel and then the dealer sells them a ton of stuff they probably don’t need but it clears the shelves.

Kathy Cloninger
2 years ago

After the pandemic is over, I think there will be a huge influx of RV sales from folks that decided this is a great alternative during this time. Sure, there will be a certain percentage of folks that will fall in love with the lifestyle and remain RV’rs. In my camping experience, I truly feel camping is experienced as a child consistently through to adulthood and passed on to the next generation. It can be a lot of work packing up the RV. Even if you are only loading food & clothing. I have camped since I was born. Our entire family camped together on the Columbia River since the early 50’s. “Camping to Glamping” is a natural transition for most folks. We are planning on upgrading in a few years to a motorhome. I’m thinking it may be perfect timing!! We currently have a travel trailer & truck.

Dick and Alana O'Kelly
2 years ago

We have been waiting 9 weeks for a Dometic AC.

2 years ago

RV toilet paper – Use Sam’s Club house brand Member’s Mark – throw some in a toilet e/w water wait about 15 to 30 minutes then stir with a toilet brush or anything handy. You will see it totally falls apart into mush. Packed 45 rolls (235 sheets/roll) for $20. I been using it for a number of years, never a clogging problem in the black water tank.

2 years ago
Reply to  Jim

Costco’s Kirkland brand also works fine. Been using it since I started full time over a year ago.

Kathy Cloninger
2 years ago
Reply to  Paul

We use Kirkland since purchasing our trailer 2003. We always put some water in the tank, then flush extra water with every use. No problems so far…

Mary Lou Baldwin
2 years ago
Reply to  Jim

White Swan toilet tissue – 1ply – also works well. Never an issue.

2 years ago
Reply to  Jim

Single-ply Scott….in RV and house. 👍👍

I agree, the key is lots of water….

2 years ago

Really,3locked up compressors? .You sure the tech knows what he’s talking about. A simple thing like a starting condenser mimics a locked compressor. Id get a second opinion.

2 years ago

Sometimes I’m really glad I chose to be a mechanic. No waiting for service and no leaving it in some lot far away.
I fired our dealer as soon as we picked up the motor home when new. Their ace technician, dressed in farmer overalls(looks really professional), told us at the walk-through, “They can slap one of these together in 8 hours!”
The only warranty item I took it in for was the fuel pump on the generator was faulty. Told them it was the pump, they didn’t believe me at first.
Done everything else myself, and I dare say better than those buffoons could do.
We’ve had the coach for 6 years now, just retired a week ago and prepping for The Big Trip this fall/winter!

Mike McCormick
2 years ago

We have a 2016 Phaeton 44OH and have three AirExcel/Coleman Mach8 AC/heatpump units that need replacement due to locked up compressors. We have been waiting well over a month and am told the dealer can possibly get the units in October. Until then our coach is not useable and has been sitting empty. October in the North East is time to winterize the rig and honker down for the winter so we may not see repairs to 2021. We have been very disappointed almost to the point of selling the Phaeton. I hope manufactures can catch up soon.

2 years ago
Reply to  Mike McCormick

Wow, 3 “locked up compressors” on a 2016 model? If this were my rig, I would be looking for another opinion and if they are in fact locked up like you say, before you replace them, find the root cause of the failure. This is not normal. I had two Penguin AC units on my old 2003 DSDP that never skipped a beat.
Is your rig equipped with a good surge protector? Low voltage will certainly cause problems with AC compressors and other RV components.

Mike McCormick
2 years ago
Reply to  Dennis

We do have good surge protection including low voltage protection. One of the units failed several months back, we really did not need all three on at the same time so we let it slide. The second one, mid ship, failed which triggered the service call for two units. Our permanent spot faces the west and even with a good thermal windshield barrier we need a good amount of AC to combat the effects of the afternoon sun. With the third, bedroom unit, taking on the full load it did not last long. Our dealer said they replaced over 100 of them over the past year. We have an extended service warranty and the insurance company came out, they did some tests and then authorized the repairs.

I am giving some serious thought to getting a park unit as we don’t travel now like we thought we would. I think a park model without the huge windshield would be a better fit for our current and future needs. The only thing holding me back is the depreciation and we are still a good bit upside down

John Mitchell
2 years ago
Reply to  Mike McCormick

Check the starting capacitors. Both of mine failed within 3 months. Capacitor kit from Camping World was $22.00. Easy to install. Try one as it is extremely unusual for the hardware to fail.

2 years ago
Reply to  John Mitchell

Our starting capacitor went out on our Coleman AC which mimicked the locked compressor failure. My husband ordered one from Amazon for under 10.00 and took just a few minutes to fix.

Jack D
2 years ago

It’s a seller’s market right now but the market will be flooded if the world ever returns to normal. So many of the newbies will go back to flying and will flood the market with the RV’s they bought during the pandemic. It’s my understanding that the manufacturers can’t get furniture to complete new units so dealers supplies are very small but that will change in time.

Abe Loughin
2 years ago

I was an RV tech for 14 and a half years. The dealership I worked at is an ESOP business (employee stock owner program). Meaning that as you work you not only earn your wages but also stock allocations. My wife retired early from her job of 36 years so I did too and we went full time rving. That was 4 years ago. Since I wasn’t of “retirement age” I had to wait for 5 years to begin receiving my payout. This boom in the RV market couldn’t have come at a better time for me as my payout beginning next year will be based on the companies performance/value for this year.

2 years ago

There are thousands of good used rv’s for sale on RV trader and other sites that already have the bugs worked out. With all the production issues and companies pushing units out as quickly as they can trying to re fill the supply chain I can’t even imagine how poor construction will be, might explain why service bays are full.

Toni Calzone
2 years ago
Reply to  Dale

yes there are good values on rvt and rvtrader. yes there are lot over priced now. i help seniors as a “hobby” on a referral basis find new homes for their coaches when they need to hang up the keys. in the process i go thru the coaches and get them serviced and make sure things are in operation. i even will help with taking to state inspections. however everyone wants a bargain and most not interested in quality or hiring an inspector. with the market you even have the normal folks low balling. Some I trace them out they are a dealer trying to get something so they can sell high price. many seniors are selling upside down. like to try keep what they owe as low as possible and give buyer a fair buy price. buyers are researched to help make sure they will take care of the coach. fortunately i have a small collection of parts and take the time to find the third party vendor that made the part. i only help seniors with 2 coaches per year. in three years I will hang up the rv world

2 years ago

Sorry, but I have not seen the shortages. The only thing I have needed that has been in short supply is water filters but I had no problem getting them on the net. Just came back from a trip into Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma and Arkansas and did not see the empty RV dealer lots. Looked like most of them had an ample supply of units to me.

Gregory Giese
2 years ago
Reply to  Edstep

Have to agree. 90/94 from twin cities to Chicago. Zero empty lots. Stopped and got an replacement black tank valve with solid wire vs stranded. Guy asked me what length. Where were the empty shelves shown in the above article taken? No price tags on shelves either.

Cheryl Bacon
2 years ago
Reply to  Edstep

I think the same thing, everytime they bring that up here. I can believe it is the cheap units being scarce, but that is about it. I can also believe maybe certain areas of the country. We were on a road trip the last time they got on this subject and we passed about 10 dealerships, not only did they have a huge inventory, hardly anyone was even looking, much less buying. As far as the shops being full, waiting on parts, and the stores being less than helpful for supplies, none of that is because of Covid, it has been going on a long time.

2 years ago

In Asheville this weekend. New Grand Design on my right and a new Airstream in my left. All new accessories too! Talked to one of them. Not new to camping, just stopped when kids grew up. Covid pushes them back in after 10 yrs.

Jennifer Fuller
2 years ago

We’ve been doing our own repairs & have had no issue getting parts via Amazon. You Tube is your best friend for “how to” videos.
For TP, any regular single ply works, and it’s less expensive than “rv toilet paper.”

Tommy Molnar
2 years ago

I wonder why repair facilities don’t go to Amazon for parts . . .

Abe Loughin
2 years ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

Repair facilities generally get much better pricing from the big parts distributors. So in order to maintain a reasonable profit and a competitive price for the end user Amazon really isn’t a viable option for them. Plus they couldn’t buy in the quantity they need.

2 years ago

As far as parts are concerned, I gave up on the dealership we purchased our new RV from long before the Jinping Plague (We live in a “smallish” town and have two independent RV dealers and Walmart for RV stuff), Every time I needed something, I couldn’t get any answers on the phone because the person who answered acted like they had no idea what I was talking about, they’d say I just needed to come into their store and look “and I’m sure well have something.” I’d go, and they wouldn’t have anything. Then they’d say they can order it. Well…I have a computer…I can order it. So I started skipping the middleman and have purchased directly from Ebay or Amazon since. If a small to medum part looked problematic, I order two and keep one stored in the rig. Thankfully, we’ve had relatively few problems with our 2019 Passport. It must have been put together during a good week!

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