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:
An RV is a hole on land you shovel funds into
Poor Tony C. has had something go wrong every trip! He shares, “I bought a 2007 Safari Trek with 7,000 miles on it in 2021. Thought I got a great deal until EVERY SINGLE TRIP something would go wrong that would cost me at least $500. First, the batteries needed to be replaced—six at $250 each.
“Then the black water tank would not dump. Luckily, I could do the work so a valve and some ice in the tank to scrub it out fixed it.
“Next, the air conditioner was shorting out, causing the generator to trip a circuit breaker EVERY TIME WE STARTED THE GENERATOR. So, the RV tech replaced the air conditioner but forgot to remove the blocks that had been put in to keep from sending air through the overhead ducts on the old A/C. It was obvious that the unit had been replaced once before. The shop sent the tech who had installed it to my house and he quickly fixed it.
“Then, thinking it was done, we set off for a camping trip only to find out the tech had installed a new thermostat that was set up with the dip switches to only run the A/C and NOT MY FURNACE. This time I had to drive it to the shop.
“When I picked it up, the automatic leveling system no longer worked! So, a level sensor had gone bad and needed to be replaced. Okay, thinking nothing else could possibly go wrong, we had sacrificed enough money to the RV God, right? Oh no, not even close. Going through the coach on a preflight check (which I now do every time before we depart) the toilet started leaking. Well, not just leaking but FLOWING THROUGH THE KITCHEN!
“I was lucky again because I could fix this! So I spent the day removing the toilet, changing all the valves and seals, and reinstalling it. Whew! Must be ready to go now, right? Right. We actually got to leave on time and stayed two glorious days at the beach. Everything worked! At least it did until we packed up to go and the stairs wouldn’t retract.
“It was a hairy ride for two hours back home. Driving on narrow roads that had 4” to spare on each side was nerve-wracking, to say the least. But I did it without ripping the stairs off. So now the coach sits in the driveway waiting for me to change either the motor, mag switch or controller for the stairs but only after I fix the downspout in the bathroom sink that leaked all over the inside of the cabinet. Luckily, though, the 12 rolls of RV toilet paper absorbed most of the water.
“I owned a boat once. I found out a boat is just a hole in the water you pour all your discretionary funds into. So I got rid of it. Apparently, an RV is a hole on land you shovel all your discretionary funds into. Just kidding, I think we’ve got all the issues sorted out by now and it will be smooth sailing after the preventive maintenance program starts!”
Service work is only guaranteed for 90 days
Karen T. had work done on their RV and stored it for the winter. She writes, “In Sept. 2020, we took our 2018 Shasta to Richards RV, Greenville, SC, for repair of water damage to entry side front corner. They completed the repairs including replacing subflooring and regluing the linoleum, which cost $2,700. We took one weekend camping trip after that, then covered and stored the camper for the winter.
“When we uncovered the unit the following March and were out for our first camping trip, we noticed the linoleum had severely buckled and was coming up again. I called Richards RV and explained the problem to see if they could just look at the floor and perhaps reglue. The first words out of the service member’s mouth were, “Well, ma’am, we only guarantee our work for 90 days and that time has expired.” No offer to even have someone look at it. No offer to have anyone in management call to discuss. I will never use Richards RV again and have made sure to let all my RVing friends know of their shoddy workmanship and unwillingness to back their work.”
“Don’t buy crap if you can afford it”
Fran S. upgraded after the dealer didn’t fix the problems. “I had trouble with my RV. I went to a local RV dealer/repair shop and scheduled an appointment and took off part of the day. At the appointment, not only did they not repair the problem, they never showed up or called to offer a reason for not keeping the appointment. I am a busy doctor and it cost me both valuable time and money … and a still broken RV! This was my SECOND experience with them. Three months before, I had a leak from the bottom of the RV near the shower. Probably a cracked or broken pipe on my Forest River Lite. They kept it all day, charged $700, and never fixed the leak.
“I learned my lesson, as this was my first experience with towable RVs. I did my research and bought an Arctic Fox, 35-5 Fifth Wheel, and other than a ceiling fan have experienced NO problems. It’s a tank, and so far experienced no problems and, considering the way it is built, I expect no problems. My advice is don’t buy crap if you can afford it, visit forums and share information, learn the particulars of your RV, maintain it and relax and enjoy your hard work.”
Earthquakes on wheels
Alan M.’s trailer is falling apart and the dealer won’t fix it. Here’s what’s going on: “Bought a Grand Design Transcend new from Youngblood’s RV in Springfield, MO, in June ’22.
“All sorts of things went wrong and the dealer could never fix them or didn’t even try. Left it with them for three weeks. We were in process of moving out of our home and this trailer was going to be our house for the next two years. They only fixed a valance and supposedly ordered parts, which they did not.
“Going down the road, the bedroom walls bowed in and the barn door fell off.
Had to take it all the way to Elkhart, Indiana, to get it fixed. Now one of the walls is coming out again and a window blind fell apart. Hiring a certified mobile RV tech we met to put new parts in and fix walls once we get the parts shipped to us.
“Won’t ever buy a bumper pull trailer again. They are earthquakes on wheels. Will keep you informed as to his quality of work once he gets it done. He put in an oven door for us that we got from manufacturer for no charge.”
Got sold a lemon
Troy D.’s decision to buy used to avoid the new RV blues did not pan out very well. Here’s why: “Late last year we bought a 1997 Pace Arrow motorhome. I was really afraid to buy new and wanted something I can fix, as we full-time RV. We got sold a lemon, pretty much. Had to replace the heads after about a week of owning this RV and come to find out cylinder heads had a manufacture crack in both exhaust ports. We then fixed that.
“Then all appliance parts had to be replaced, all new batteries, control panels, slide out parts. To this day, I have probably spent more than $10,000 on this 40-foot RV and we are not even close to done yet. The roof needs to be redone, as well.
“Odd this motorhome only has 65k miles on it. Yes, spending all this money could have bought a new one, but I’d rather fix it all than buy a new RV that will just break in no time. I know it has all good parts on it. I have heard so many stories and that’s why we don’t want a new RV.
“One of the main issues is propane lines failing, so we have made this RV all electrical—no propane at all. Hope you find this helpful, especially letting people hear what real people deal with RVing. It’s not easy, it’s a full-time job daily.”
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.
Last Week’s RV Service Centers and Repairs Report