Saturday, April 1, 2023


RVers should insist on watching the work done on their RV

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 

Here’s what you had to say:

Enjoy it or get rid of it—Life’s too short

BWO has learned a few helpful lessons to share with us:

“We have found RV service to be trying at best because most of us are reactive and impatient. Being patient and proactive in your RV purchase pays off in the long run. After many years/purchases, we learned a few lessons.

    1. Never, ever, believe anything anyone tells you about the rig if they have any vested interest.
    2. Research, research, research. Go to social media owners’ groups. Check the National Highway Safety Administration database for recalls and Better Business Bureau for local dealer complaints. Note the names that crop up most often and stay away from them.
    3. Don’t be afraid to buy used: warranty work is time-consuming and frustrating. Let the first owner work out the kinks.
    4. Brand does matter. Use the many resources available to check out the business/brand as if it was your teenage daughter’s first boyfriend!
    5. Buy what you can afford so you can also afford the repairs that inevitably will come along with ANY rig.
    6. Stick to basics. I worked for the sales manager of a farm supply company. His advice to me when purchasing anything mechanical was “the simpler the better.” The more bells and whistles, the more things to go wrong! He was right.
    7. YouTube. Best free education on the planet other than the school of hard knocks. Learn the mechanics. Learn the systems. Not only can you teach yourself to do basic repairs, but you can better tell when the repair shop is giving you a bunch of baloney.
    8. Enjoy it or get rid of it. Life is just too short.”


Vincent V. has certainly learned a few things regarding RV service, too. He writes, “I purchased a 2020 30’ Palomino Puma 5th wheel from Travel Camp RV in Jacksonville, FL, in the latter half of 2019. I also purchased the extended warranty. It wasn’t until after I got it home that I discovered that the fridge in the outdoor kitchen didn’t work properly and that there were a few things inside that were not installed properly when the unit was built. One of the overhead cabinet doors was installed crookedly, a piece of wood trim around the dinette wasn’t nailed down correctly, the hot and cold water for the kitchen faucet were connected backward from the water heater, and an interior wall was not secured properly to the outer wall. I could see daylight through the wall seam.

“I called the dealer to schedule an appointment to get those things repaired under warranty, but I had to wait for three weeks before I could drop it off at the dealership. The problem with the fridge was that it would get to temp and then shut off until the freezer completely defrosted, then it would turn back on and repeat those actions continuously. The dealership repair department told me that there was nothing wrong with the fridge and that they wouldn’t replace it.

“They didn’t do anything about the gap between the bathroom wall and the outside wall, they nailed the piece of trim, did nothing about the crooked cabinet door and simply swapped the hot and cold water lines on the kitchen faucet instead of correcting the backward water lines at the water heater. That took almost a month to accomplish.

I bought a new fridge myself

“Rather than fight with Forest River (Palomino’s parent company) to get a new fridge, I just went and bought a new one from Amazon and installed it myself. Problem solved.

“I also bought a hard-wired surge protector and took my unit to Camping World. They charged me $350 to install it and took a month to do the work. I should have brought tools, a good flashlight and a multimeter when I did the PDI that Travel Camp charged me $800 for.

“Since this is the second brand-new RV I’ve ever bought, I didn’t think about opening things up and doing a thorough check of everything in the unit, instead of letting the dealership’s employee just skim over the details so that the inspection only took 15 minutes at a cost to me of $53.33 a minute.

“I bought my first RV in 1978, an 18’ Fleetwood travel trailer, and there was absolutely nothing that needed to be repaired under warranty. The bottom line is: Check everything during your PDI and don’t let a dealership employee pull you around by the nose as quickly as they possibly can.”

What a great mobile tech

Marina B. wrote to tell us about a great mobile tech she found: “Mobile tech near Idaho Falls. We were camping at Juniper State Park when the water pump gave out! We Googled “mobile tech nearby” and Steve, 208-529-5325, came up. What a great guy. Told us to come on in, as it was an emergency. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have been able to see us until the following week. He dropped what he was doing when we drove into his yard, a very clean yard, and set about replacing our water pump. We highly recommend Steve for his knowledge, workmanship and pricing. Oh. And he’s the bishop of the local church!”

Done with Camping World

Randal P. is not doing business with Camping World ever again. Here’s why: “On the first trip out with my camper, I had a tire blow out. I pulled over and changed the tire myself. I went to a tire place and got a new tire and had it put on. Afterward, I called the ‘warranty’ company that Camping World had sold to me and was informed that I should have called them first. They did not pay. Also, the first time I needed the heating system it did not work. Camping World had assured us everything had checked out on this 3-year-old unit, but I noticed there was not even a fuse in place for the heater. I had an independent RV guy fix this. I will never do any more business with Camping World. They can kiss where the sun don’t shine as far as I am concerned. NEVER AGAIN!!”

Good Sam… not to the rescue

DT sat for two days waiting for Good Sam. Yikes! They explain, “On a trip down to South Carolina, our RV had an issue with the right front caliper locking up. Left us stuck on the side of the interstate, two feet from the travel lane. Really fun having trucks and cars speed by you that close!

“We used Good Sam to try to get a tow and take us to the nearest repair shop. Five hours later we’re still on the phone trying to get Good Sam to figure out what they were doing. They couldn’t figure out their right hand from their left.

“Well, I got tired of waiting on the side of a busy interstate so I decided to try and get to the next exit. Fortunately, there was a heavy rain storm up ahead so I knew that would keep the caliper cool, and made it to a rest stop.

“Two days sitting in a rest stop still trying to deal with Good Sam until they finally found somebody to come and tow us. And that was a shop I had called and told Good Sam to call and sort it out. Good Sam needs to train their people better.”

Waiting for a part since May 2022

Kevin L. has spent a long time waiting for a part. And get this… the part is in stock! He shares, “Still waiting for a corner part from when I accidentally swung my tail into a tree. I’ve been waiting since May 2022. The part came in September but it was the wrong part. Still waiting for it as I heard that parts are in stock at the distribution center. I couldn’t order it online myself as it has to be ordered through the dealership.”

If service center works on his RV, he will be present!

Charles S. has a list of problems with his Newmar that’s just too long to post. Sigh. He writes, “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 email 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.”

Editor’s note

Note from 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 months, 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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10-year policy stops RVer from getting RV serviced where he bought it



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1 month ago

Anything that can go wrong with a house or a vehicle is all rolled into one. Pretending there won’t be issues is ludicrous.

Any warranty is only as good as the dealer doing the work. Almost all of them are overwhelmed due to abysmal factory build quality and/or inability to perform tasks correctly.

The average Joe doesn’t know what end to hold with a hammer or a wrench. This leads to way too many buyers who think an extended warranty is a good idea. In 99% of these deals, you’ll have to have everything fail TWICE to break even. Nor do they understand what service is actually being quoted not how to check if it was done correctly.

Way too many stories of a leaky faucet or bad thermostat in April but can’t get the dealer to even look at it until June. If you have any DIY skills, you can replace these things yourself for $50 and not lose half the camping season. Good thing you bought that warranty!

Thomas D
1 month ago

Id like to observe the mechanic but they never allow it. Sign I remember from days gone by.
Labor $50 an hour
If you watch $75
If you help $100

1 month ago

Some people feel weird asking to see the work while it’s being done, see old parts, etc… some mechanics act like you’re insulting their expertise. But think about the reverse — when you feel you’re doing a good job, don’t you WANT your customer to see how you went the extra mile or solved a harder-than-expected issue? The mechanic I take my car to has a huge picture window into his shop (insurance doesn’t like you to enter, but he breaks that too when I ask) — but he’s not hiding a {bleeped} thing. If I want my old parts back, he better at least have some old junk with fresh tool marks behind the shop to give me if he wants me fooled.

I also make a point of educating myself for anything I hire — I actually can build or fix anything I care to, but I’m paying others to skin their knuckles for me — keeps them honest when they want to change the seasonal blinker fluid.

1 month ago
Reply to  Wolfe

I have ALWAYS asked for the old parts back for my car, RV, washing machine, etc. I want to tear them apart to see how they work. I took an old auto A/C com and made my first air compressor out of it, using an old RV hot water tank for the air tank.

1 month ago
Reply to  KellyR

Like minds! I took the compressor out of a broken water cooler, connected to a 3gal pressure tank, and made a bench “puffer”… it can’t sustain high flow for airtools, but produces plenty of 120psi blasts with almost NO sound while recharging.

1 month ago
Reply to  Wolfe

I don’t throw anything away, until I found that I could have used it.

1 month ago

I’m glad I own a 1995 Jayco 30ft Class C. I don’t have all those problems that newer rvs have.

1 month ago

Theres some flaws with the watch them work.
insurance doesn’t allow it .
are you really going to hang out there for weeks ? Or return to the shop several times that may be a distance away.
its a nice thought though

1 month ago
Reply to  Jack

He said he’s a full timer and has no other home. He has no choice.

1 month ago

I can sympathize with the post regarding Good Sam Road Service. Last summer I quit GSRS after being a member for 14 years, and through some of those years received excellent service from them. However, like everything else GS since Marcus Lemonis bought the company the GSRS too has gone down the toilet.

I have Progressive Insurance for my motorhome and now instead of paying GSRS $149.99 per year for their RS, I’ve added a rider to my Progressive policy adding an additional $19.99 to the overall policy.

Tom A B
1 month ago

Still waiting to buy my first RV. I’ve noticed that during Covid (2020-2022), even brands known for being well built seemed to have questionable build quality. Hoping that 2023 is a turnaround year back to at least pre-Covid “quality” levels.

Last edited 1 month ago by Tom A B
1 month ago
Reply to  Tom A B

My wife and I just spent yesterday at an RV show. The materials and build quality was as bad as what I saw there last year. Discounts were greater but because MSRPs have gone insane, the “sale prices” were still higher than a year ago. Very disappointing

The only true quality build I saw was from a small manufacturer of those ice fishing campers that can be used year around as a really nice ice house or as a travel trailer. They knew how to build something to last.

Diane Mc
1 month ago

Sitting in a “campgrounds” at Daytona Intl Speedway giving thanks for our 2002 Newmar Dutchstar. We’ve had issues over 20 years, but spread out & all solved relatively fast. Over the yrs Newmar & Freightliner have been great. Not so much on the 2nd day of this trip out. The bolts on the 10K lb hitch disappeared & the opposite side cracked. Our planned stop was (100 miles away) so pretty much no man’s land. Newmar had no part number/no replacement suggestion. Told to call Freightliner. Not their issue (and it really wasn’t). Coach-Net tech said should be easy, but person they referred us to was talking days & driving to Las Vegas to get part! We ended up doing our own research & found a commercial welding company 70 miles away on our route. Great experience. While we were buying new/better hardware, Dennis Shaffer (Shaffer Welding, Parker, AZ) straightened & welded it up then helped my husband put it back on. Great guy, great service. Took 2 hrs.

1 month ago
Reply to  Diane Mc

I think it’s expecting quite a lot for a manufacturer or dealer to support a 20 year old unit! Bolts loosening and metal fatigue inspection should be on your maintenance checklist, especially on units with age on them. Going to a good welder or hitch shop was the right thing to do right away vs expecting phone or email support on something built two decades ago.

Diane Mc
1 month ago
Reply to  Spike

Just for clarification, Newmar has our complete build on file. We have called numerous times for part numbers of existing items and/or replacement numbers, Never had an issue where they couldn’t supply us the part number. Helps at RV salvage places or just searching the internet. It’s we were asking for, or possibly suggestions. Their referral to Freightliner was ridiculous. Freightliner doesn’t do hitches. We knew that. The hitch we had was added as an upgrade when we ordered our coach. We called them because the Coach-Net tech happened to be familiar with the problem and said most dealerships should carry them or be able to get one. Therefore a need for a part number. As it was a nearby dealer didn’t have any in stock, but could order one. They mentioned welding it up. My husband had first thought of that (he welds, as he builds race cars) but I was the hesitant one, so we tried getting a new one. All in all this happened at 1pm 1 1/2 hrs from our stop for the night. We were at the welder’s by 10am the next day & on the road by 12:30. And yes, a good reminder to add to checklist.

1 month ago

Another article convincing me to never buy a new RV. We’ve been considering it but ultimately these articles make our 17 year bus look really good. I’d rather see people talking about the great service they got somewhere.

Bob p
1 month ago

Sorry to be so negative, but it sounds like many people didn’t do any research before their purchases. The first place to research is right here,, for all the comments from other RV owners who have made the mistakes. Then check the comments on a prospective dealer, not the ones they write about themselves. Then check the forums about the RV they’re considering. Now armed with this information you can make an intelligent decision as to what, where, and when to buy. Personally I will never buy new in this day and age. I bought new back in 1978, 1982, 1993, and 1999 and never had a problem, today I will never buy new, let the first owner deal with the poor quality and depreciation. Buy one that’s 2 years old and be happy, yes you may buy someone else’s headache but you won’t pay retail MSRP and use that money to repair what’s wrong.

1 month ago

With the exception of a water leak from the sink in the bathroom drain that was not tight enough and 1 basement door latch was not adjusted correctly we have had no other build issues of our 2020 sportscoach DP. The issues we have had is with the bolt on things like the microwave went bad, the toilet foot pedal broke, AC quit, transmission cooler leaked oil out, windows recalled. Now where is a big piece of wood to knock on!

Diane McGovern
1 month ago
Reply to  Joe

Hi, Joe. The attorney I worked for for almost 50 years would just knock on his head. 😆 Very handy, since you don’t need to find a piece of wood. Have a great day. 😀 –Diane at

1 month ago

Articles like this remind me of auto repair shops. Tough to find one and if you do, support and stay with them!

1 month ago

NIRVC didn’t even check the to see if I had a date written on my oil filter. The question therefore is, did they even change the oil and just not the filter? Now I have it done with a mobile mechanic in the comfort of my own garage. My experience with mobile RV repairmen is 10 fold better than C.W., or NIRVC. Shop rates don’t reflect the 15.00/hour employee but a mobile repairman is typically the owner so his shop rates do reflect his worth.

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