Tuesday, January 31, 2023

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Service center takes RV on joy ride; owners not joyful

In this column, we summarize some of your emails and comments regarding RV service centers and repairs (we asked you to submit your stories here). We’ll tell you all: the best, the good, the bad and the ugly. At the end of this article, you’ll find a place to submit your own comments. I encourage you to do so.

Keep in mind, we typically only present one side of the story in most of these. Also, any remarks about service centers and mobile techs mentioned are the opinions of our readers and not necessarily RVtravel.com. 

Here’s what you had to say:

Sneaky Camping World

Stephen W. will now travel five hours to get the repairs on his RV done right. He explains, “Scratch Camping World. They did the annual inspection on my RV and damaged the body panel when moving it. Parked it alongside a service island so I couldn’t see it. Didn’t discover it until I got it home. Too late. Scratch La Mesa RV. 4x for the same repair and they still couldn’t get it right. I still travel the five hours to where I purchased my last RV, Palm Beach RV. It takes time to get the service scheduled, but at least they do it correctly.”

Not sneaky Camping World

And on the flip side, Ardo H. tells us about a good side of a Camping World and mobile RV service. He shares, “I know that Camping World gets a bad evaluation sometimes, but the Camping World in Garner, NC, is definitely an exception to the rule. I have taken my motorhome there several times through the years for repairs and just general maintenance. The technicians there are very knowledgeable and do an excellent job. Most of these guys have been working there for years and take pride in the work that they do. Yes, there are backups and supply chain issues, but they will explain everything to you upfront and you can make up your mind from there. Yes, I would recommend this Camping World to anyone.

“As far as mobile techs, I definitely will recommend Alpine Mobile RV Repair. Owner is Mr. Jim Baker, excellent. 919-946-8103. If you are in the Raleigh, Garner, NC, area and need assistance, these are two places to contact. And they don’t apply the 10-year rule.”

These guys deserve the recognition

Richard F. makes a strong recommendation for an RV repair center. “I hesitate to do this (it’s sort of like recommending a favorite restaurant or campground and when you go back you can’t get in!!!), but these guys are great and deserve the recognition. I always make an appointment weeks/months in advance. Their service is always made on the day of the appointment. They usually have the parts on hand. They are not cheap but worth every penny! I have never had to have anything fixed twice. Diederich’s RV Mart in West Coxsackie, NY. I own a very well-traveled 2015 248RKS Bullet.”

Reputable supplier

Joel J. says Dometic really came through for him. “I purchased a 2019 RV over a year ago after hail totaled my first camper. We had experienced some bathroom smell but it seemed to come and go. My wonderful wife would always tell me to see what I could do. I would throw in the cleaner tablets for the trip home and it would appear to help temporarily. This year, towards the end of our season, we parked and after the final flush, we still had the smell.

“After considerable internet searches, I found that the series 300 Dometic toilet had issues. Once again, after searches regarding the toilet, I found a number to call at Dometic. They were amazing and, to shorten the story, I sent them the required info and had a new toilet within a week. This is to say that at least Forest River chose a reputable supplier who has my respect for showing me customer service is not a thing of the past.”

Two screws caused a sorry series of events

James B. writes about his chain of events over two screws. “TWO SCREWS! Bought a camper that had two screws holding the blinds in place at the front window of the camper that were installed before the window. THIS CAUSED THE COMPRESSION TRIM RING OF THE WINDOW TO BE BENT BECAUSE THE BRACKETS WERE TOO LOW.

“This caused a water leak around the front window when traveling in the rain, but not when it was parked. It was repaired once by a shop under warranty, but they only repaired the unit, not fixing the problem. 12 months later, after the 12-month water damage warranty was over, I had to make the decision to scrap it while still owing $14,000 or pay $8,000-$10,000 for a floor replacement.

“I ended up doing the work myself because I didn’t trust the repair facility to diagnose the problem. What I discovered was the facility used scrap wood to repair the unit and that caused more damage that I also repaired.

“The silver lining to this is that I now know how my travel trailer is built and that it is better than anything that came out of the factory or a repair shop. I have about 30 pictures showing the damage and the rebuilding of the unit. My cost of materials was around $1,400 and $500 labor that I hired a friend to assist me in the things he was good at.”

Taken for a joy ride?

Scott B. picked up his RV at the repair shop and thought it looked like someone else had enjoyed it. He explains, “Last May, we dropped our brand-new Forester Class C off at Bison Fleet Specialists in Buffalo, NY. We asked them to install tire valve extensions and also look at an awning arm that we had unfortunately damaged on our first outing (live and learn the hard way). They gave a high quote to replace the arm, so we told them to just do the extensions for now.

They kept the RV for ten days. The day we were to pick it up, someone there called to make sure we were coming. They said ours was the nicest RV on their lot, and they were putting it indoors at night. When we went to pay, they charged us $100 to look at the awning and $250 for the extensions (one of which snapped off in my hand when unscrewing the cap).

“Here’s the best part. Before driving off in it, we noticed that switches were turned on inside that we had left turned off. The TV remote which had been in a drawer was lying on the floor. Some of the fuel had been used. When we got it home, we noticed that the previously empty black tank was half full. The moral of the story: Next time we take it ANYWHERE for service we are going to photograph the odometer and put a tracking device in it.”

Editor’s note

Note from RVtravel.com: If hiring a mobile tech, a small or mega service center, make sure that they are experienced in the issue and have insurance in case something goes wrong. Also, check their warranty policy on the work they perform. Check reviews too and read between the lines—if the review sounds way too good to be true it might be. Compare with several reviews and not just the ones on their website.

Questions for you about RV service

Over the next few weeks, we’ll share stories of your RV service experiences. We want to know:

  • Have you had good luck with great service or not so much?
  • Did you get good service from knowledgeable technicians?
  • Are you waiting to get into a service center or have a mobile tech come out?
  • What has been the average time to get an appointment?
  • Has your RV been in a service center for a while?
  • Are you able to get any mobile techs to come out?
  • Are the service centers able to get parts?
  • When you do get the repairs done, is the price reasonable?

Please fill out the form below and tell us what your experiences have been like. It can be a horror story, an opinion about what’s going on, a positive experience, or anything else related to the topic. We want to know the great, the good, the bad, and the ugly!

Check back next week for more on RV service centers. See you then.

Click or drag a file to this area to upload.

Last Week’s RV Service Centers and Repairs Report

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Dennis
4 days ago

I always tape the toilet shut and put towels on the floor wherever I think service personnel may wander over to. Now if I can just come up with a way to keep the mechanics from joyriding in my 1995 Acura NSX-T!!! I put items in the trunk that will tip over with aggressive driving. Invariably the items are always tipped over. The “sheepish look” on the service personnel faces always let me know what happened. Boys will be boys, I guess!

Vanessa
9 days ago

Wouldn’t every service center record the mileage when it is dropped off?

Chuck S
8 days ago
Reply to  Vanessa

Only if they wanted to.

Chuck S
9 days ago
  • We bought our Newmar Ventana LE new in May of 2017 and have lived in it full time since then. We have no other home. I would like very much to tell you and your readers about all of the problems we have had with the dealer we bought from and Newmar’s and Freightliner’s responses to our problems. However, the problems have been so numerous that the time it would take to compose the emailings would probably leave me with no time to do anything else for 3 to 6 months. The conclusion I have come to is that: No one should ever trust any RV dealer or RV manufacturer unless they have had experience with them. And if at all possible, any work on your RV should be done by yourself. If you are not capable of doing the work, you should insist on being permitted to watch the work being done. Any work on my RV will only be done with me waiting, until finished, on premises and preferably in or at my RV while it is worked on.
  • Have you had good luck with great service? NEVER
Steve Murray
10 days ago

Should have done them a Favor and Dumped your Tanks in their Parking Lot! Sorry to hear that. What a corrupt industry.
You should get an Attorney and request to see their Security Tapes.

Brenda
10 days ago

I’m so glad my husband does all our work. I do the research, he finds video and us two get it fixed. If it’s something small like replacing an awning arm, buy it online and ask for help. My husband and I did ours, 18’ awning, and I’m short😉

Ran
10 days ago

I would like more info on that Dometic 300 toilet! What was the issue with the toilet that had to replace? Was it a factory defect, or an isolated issue? Is it the same for all the 300 series? References Please! Thanks!

Joel J
10 days ago
Reply to  Ran

As I stated in my post we had a lingering odor from our bathroom. I first started looking at simply purchasing a new toilet. The more I looked the more I found. Most info was on sites relating to bathroom odors. Once I finally ran across the info in the 300 series group I found that there was a silent recall as it was stated on one site. At that point I contacted Dometic and was told there was an issue and warranty would cover it as long as it was within their warranty window. Luckily I was and sent the requested info and they were very customer oriented to me and I received my toilet faster than I ever thought I would. It’s worth a check with Dometic to see if you are able to save the cost of new. Their only request was proof of the toilet and years of ownership relating to warranty.

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