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Industry ‘insider’ defends the industry, says ‘fiberglass dumpsters aren’t the goal’

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:

Manufacturers don’t plan on building “fiberglass dumpsters”

Anonymous P. sounds like he knows the industry and has some practical advice. He writes, “Sounds like each one of these are their own horror stories. Please know manufacturers don’t intend on building ‘rolling fiberglass dumpsters.’ Their goal is to give each client a wonderful camping experience.

“For warranty issues that keep an end user from using the RV please check your manual and your state’s buying guide. Some states have stricter laws than others. Unfortunately, manufacturers saw a massive incline in demand while dealing with major part shortages through the pandemic.

“They do not build all items inside the RV. Sofas, refrigerators, windows, awnings, doors and even cabinet doors are sourced locally. In some cases, those products saw shortages as well. Every moving part had to adjust to be able to put product out to the end users.

“In some cases, they find out after the fact that the product they sourced isn’t the quality they usually buy. Work with your dealer and if a dealer is unable to assist contact your manufacturer directly to document your issues.

“Have your information for your unit handy and put everything in writing. Manufacturers want happy buyers because all buyers are their built-in marketing group. If an unhappy customer tells five people in a campground about their bad experience it hurts their bottom line. Stay calm and provide dates and specifics. Don’t generalize your concerns. Lists are key. Hopefully you all get better results and a much more pleasant RVing experience.”

Impressed with customer service, professionalism and quality

Brad P. is very impressed with work done on his RV. He says, “Had repairs done at Central Body in Omaha, NE, after a blowout. Was very impressed with their customer service, professionalism and quality of work.”

Build your own, avoid RV service centers

Jonathan T. has a 1977 RV that’s still going strong! Impressive! He writes, “I recognize that RVs were junk. Years ago I looked at a new one and saw that wasn’t for me. I looked at used ones and saw how poorly they were holding up so I said to my wife, “I can build a better one than this!” I purchased a used Grumman Olsen aluminum van. These bodies are 1/8 inch aluminum on the sides, 16 gauge roof, 3/16 thick floor. I paid $2,500 and probably have put another $15,000 in it total. It has a very nice refrigerator, air conditioning, furnace, hot water tank, beds I purchased. I bought it about 1994. It’s a ’77 van and I am using it to this day, 2022, and it is holding up very very well.”

How do they get away with it?

Ron J. wants to know how they get away with bad work. He asks, “What I don’t understand is how do the manufacturers, engineers, and for that matter the frame manufacturers get away with building frames that crack starting at the point where the spring hangers are welded to the fake I beams? Then the welds themselves are subject to cracking and breaking loose. These people have no pride in their jobs.”

Dealers more interested in trades, not repairs

Michael P. goes to local small store for parts. “We get parts from a local small store. We had a repair done at a large three-store dealer and never again will I take anything to them. They were more interested in telling us they would take trades more than focusing on the repair. Just this weekend we stopped by Camping World for a couple of handles for the shower doors and the parts people were rude and kinda laughed when we asked. So never again will we go to the larger chain stores.”

Coach sat for 10 months and 16 days

Scott J’s RV sat at the dealer’s for a long time. He explains, “A month after we purchased our used 5th wheel, we had refrigerator failure. We called a mobile service to repair it. (Fortunately under extended warranty.) During the repair, the kitchen floor was ripped in several places. RV was taken to a dealer for linoleum replacement. Our coach sat for 10 months and 16 days before repairs were completed and ready to pick up. What an ordeal that was!”

Loved RVing but hated the industry

John K. will never have another RV. He says, “I had RVs for 30 years. I loved the RV lifestyle but learned to hate the RV industry. There is no excuse for the junk they build. Or for the dismal service. I kept mine going at great expense and did most of the work myself. I no longer have an RV and will never have another one.”

Who’s at fault?

Norris K’s RV was not repaired correctly. “In the spring of 2020 (pre-Covid), we took our Grand Design Imagine 2600RB to the dealer to have the wheel bearings repacked. Picked it up and after getting it back home, I noticed the equal-flex equalizers on both sides were bent. The tech lifted an 8,000 lb. on the lower point of the equalizers. I called my service writer who asked for photos, which I sent. The service manager called, apologized and asked the trailer be returned for replacement. Lippert had none in stock with no idea when they would be available.

“Since we had a long trip planned in about three months, the dealer called everywhere to locate the proper set. They finally located a set a week before our departure date, replaced and verified the axle alignment three days before our scheduled departure. While I commend the dealer for taking care of an issue their tech created, the fact is that an ‘experienced’ tech would pull such a stupid error. I also fault Lippert for ‘having no idea’ when the parts would be available.”

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.

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Mitzi Agnew Giles and Ed Giles
1 month ago

I have to commend Sean Paloyk( yes I know, my spelling is dreadful) 4 working as hard as did at Snoozy2 in St Matthew, SC to solve my molded fiberglass RV problems as he did even tho we had the original LilSnoozy from the original owners. He & his team always go the extra mile. If you feel this recommendation is 2 good 2 be true, I invite u to 2 Facebook and check the posts under Snoozy2.

Ron Yanuszewski
1 month ago

“The goal is to give each client a wonderful camping experience”? Typical RV insider, lies in the first sentence. First and foremost, The “goal” is to maximize profit. Just to give him, or her, a history lesson, This garbage didn’t start with the pandemic.

Roger V
1 month ago

Bingo!

wanderer
1 month ago

“Anonymous P” is living in the distant past, clearly hasn’t had to deal with todays non-manuals, non-responsive manufacturers, and booked-up service centers.

Steve Murray
1 month ago

And yet… People still don’t have their New or Used RV’s Professionally inspected before Purchase by an accredited Inspector.
Just Bleeting and Whining about everything RV Related. Wah.. duh dealer did it to me!
The Internet can save you a lot of time and money. It’s a big purchase folks. Due Diligence is required..
Prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

Donald N Wright
1 month ago

After the Texas Blizzard, lots of water heaters froze. None of the dealers or repair shops had any stock. I bought my replacement water heater for my Airstream from Colonial in New Jersey. Their comment was priceless. “You Texans call that a blizzard? We call your weather Spring”.

Spike
1 month ago

I agree with G13. Anonymous P’s comments are the same worn out industry excuses they always use. Do they even do incoming quality inspections? If so, how is it they only learn about poor part quality later? No…I think they skipped the process and rushed parts from receiving to the floor to push more junk out the door faster. Same with build volumes…push more down the line than they KNOW can be produced correctly. Revenue and profit now…worry about all the issues later.

I tend to feel like John K…love RVing, but hate the industry. I didn’t always feel that way and I’m not giving up, but it’s a pretty pitiful lot who needs to shape up and really show they want to produce quality and serve customers well rather than vomit out the same old lame excuses.

MattD
1 month ago

Anonymous P.., Call your manufacturer? That’s a laugh. When I bought my lemon Keystone Cougar, I called MANY times after no help from my retailer. The result? No Answer. No return call.

G13
1 month ago

Re: Anonymous P’s comment. First, of the things he lists on being manufactured elsewhere, whether pre or post pandemic, isn’t the issue. It’s how they are put together, constructed (read Ron J’s comments). Cabinets not hung or secured properly; wires being crimped under stationary objects, mis-aligned doors just to name a few. Also, if the product they receive is not the quality they purchased, why install them? Would you accept a product ordered that wasn’t the product you wanted? You’d return them or maybe they don’t care. Be it an entry level or your mega million-dollar house on wheels, it’s the same issue.

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