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New column looks at RV service centers and repairs. Readers speak out on experiences

Last week we asked you to tell us about your experiences with RV service centers. You came through with hundreds of responses. Thank you! My inbox is stuffed! I had expected a long list of complaints, exorbitant waiting times, and issues with low-quality work. But the number of comments about great service work and great service centers really surprised me.

In this new column, we’ll summarize some of your emails and comments. 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.

Note: Any service centers and mobile techs mentioned here are the opinions of our readers and not RVtravel.com.

Here’s what you had to say:

Stellar RV service centers that did a great job!

When everything seems rather doom and gloom, it is refreshing to hear about the good. It is even better when we get recommendations from our fellow RVers.

Waited less than an hour!

Ron N. is very happy with his dealership. He wrote, “Just about two months ago we had a recall on a quick connect for propane. I spoke with the service center at our dealership, Northern Hills Homes and RVs in Whitewood, SD, and they told me to drop it by when returning from a camping trip. They told me the job should be quick and they would work it in.

“Before we went on the trip our new roller shade came in but there was a warranty issue. When we stopped to get the quick connect corrected, I asked about making an appointment to get the shade up. They fixed it right on the spot. We waited less than one hour. Never had an issue with our dealership, including the service department. Appears they are hard to find and we got lucky.”

Don’t buy from a mega-dealer

Lyle L. established a relationship with his service advisor and it has worked well for him. He says, “I’ve had great service experiences. After buying a used Class A from a dealer, I established a relationship with a senior service advisor. I call ahead and explain my situation and ask when he can squeeze me in. When I show up I have a detailed list of the items. It works well.

“I also bought a used class C from the same dealer, and the situation is the same. We’ve needed two repairs while traveling, and both times I called a local dealer that sold our model, explained what the situation was, and asked, ‘When can you squeeze me in?’ Once I got in the same day, and the other time it was two days later. Note: I am a retired engineer who’s handy with tools and diagnosis, so this probably helps during the initial dialogue. My advice is to NOT buy from a ‘mega-dealer’.”

Always had positive experiences at Camping World

Hubert R. has had good experiences with Camping World. He writes, “I am involved in several RV sites that I read and contribute to regularly. Camping World usually gets slammed for poor service and I don’t doubt that bad experiences happen, BUT, we have always had positive service at both the Draper, UT, and Monticello, MN, Camping Worlds. We have had both warranty and non-warranty work done at both locations on our 2018 Jayco Alante.

“The best story was midway into a three-month trip to Alaska, and on to Minnesota, one of our A/C units failed. I called ahead to the Minnesota Camping World, gave them all my info and when we arrived in Minnesota they had the A/C unit, scheduled us in and replaced it in less than two hours.”

Editor’s note: I have also had great service at the Monticello, MN, Camping World. They have installed items that they didn’t even sell and took the time to research and install the right way. Recently, we had some issues with our RV’s toilet. When we asked Camping World about it, they freely advised on ways for my husband to fix it. Just in case he couldn’t, they put the last toilet they had in stock on hold for us and scheduled us an appointment for a few days later if we needed it.

“Makes me wish every RVer could have that kind of (good) experience!”

Steve H. has also had a great experience and didn’t need to leave his RV at the shop just waiting. Steve says, “Had a major water heater problem last spring so I took the RV the day after I first called to a very small, locally owned shop that was a service center for theater heater manufacturer. They removed the water heater in two hours and I took the RV home. They sent the water heater to the manufacturer, got it back two weeks later, and called me.

“They then reinstalled it in three hours and I drove the RV home with a working water heater. So, no months-long wait for an appointment, no RV sitting at a service center for weeks or months, and a perfect fix! And, if we had needed the RV during the repair, we could have used it, albeit without hot water (we have boiled water on the stove before and could have done it again). Makes me wish every RVer could have that kind of experience!”

Now for the not-so-good…

Waited entire life to RV and worst experience of his life

Roger G. is tired of paying for the service center experimenting on his RV! “I bought a new Class C 18 months ago and it’s been getting services since then. They can never fix the problem but keep thinking they have a new solution. The warranty ran out in a year with unresolved issues. Now I pay $150 an hour to experiment. The bottom line is I am selling and want nothing to do with an RV anymore. I waited my entire life to retire and travel in an RV and it’s been the worst experience of my life.”

Ran out 70 percent of the warranty waiting in the shop

M.J. used their RV for three months and then it spent 11 months in the shop. They explained, “Our last brand-new RV that we had and used for approximately three months went in for warranty work, all preapproved and authorized by the manufacturer to be done, and didn’t come out for almost 11 months. So it basically ran out of 70 percent of its warranty while sitting in the repair shop for a handful of minor things and one major item, the rubber roof was peeling off while we were driving down the road. And they would not extend the warranty for the 11 months that they had it.

“We took the first opportunity we could to sell it when we got it back and bought another different brand, a brand-new 2022 Jayco, and it took that dealership two and 1/2 months just to prep it after we had paid for it in full. And they did not even complete the prep, we just got tired of waiting for it with the few broken flaws that it had from the factory. I’m pretty sure all of these things nowadays are built like crap.”

Being held hostage

Tim S. has his RV at Freightliner and they made it worse. “It’s going on seven weeks at a local Freightliner service center and they cannot fix the problem that my RV had issues with the p/s airbags deflating after 5-7 hours of just parking in my driveway. They have done more damage since they haven’t fixed the airbag leaking by letting my chassis and house batteries be depleted and have corrupted my radio/GPS and camera system video system. It’s being held hostage.”

If all else fails, DIY

Fred B. is not afraid to tackle the repairs himself. “We bought a new 2008 New Horizons Fifth Wheel and have put 200K miles on it in 12 years of full-timing. I’m not a trained mechanic, but am not afraid to tackle most anything. I’ve only had the 5er in for service about five times in 12 years: three times to the manufacturer, and twice to an RV service center. The first service center was for a complete brake assembly replacement. The second was an emergency for a ruptured brake line, caused by the first center’s improper routing of the brake lines when replacing the brakes.

“With the help of a lot of forums and a lot of YouTube videos, I’ve been able to do most the repairs, maintenance, and upgrades myself. Because I’m very detailed oriented, I feel I’ve done a better job on all of these services than a service center would have. As a result, we have a 12-year-old RV that is still in excellent condition.”

Drop it off “ain’t going to happen”

Allen G full-times and can’t just drop off the RV. “We’ve RVd for 25 years, had four motorhomes, two trailers, and one 5W. Our third rig was a new diesel pusher and we lived in it full time for 8 1/2 years, so when I needed service and they said drop it off for a couple of weeks I said ain’t going to happen as we sleep in it every night. From then on I learned to fix things myself and if I can’t then I get a mobile tech to come. It all has been fine. Thank goodness for YouTube also!”

Editor’s note

Note from RVtravel.com: If hiring a mobile tech or even a small 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.

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Ralph Cramdin
1 month ago

I have had good experiences with the mobile repair people. With the dealers not so much, and it seems that the bigger they get the less they care. With a lot of the newer models they are made for weekends and to be in the shop all week. A lot of the poor quality issues are a direct result of Warren Buffets Thor Industries business strategy, buy them out, make more cheaper and pay people less,. He has ruined decent brands.

Tommy Molnar
1 month ago

We’ve given up on dealerships and service centers. We now deal exclusively with mobile repair guys. Reputable ones. Ones with tons of good referrals. Things get done fairly quickly – and correctly.