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:
New to RVing and afraid to take this RV on the road
Richard M. found so many things wrong with his RV he is concerned about taking it out. “Not sure this fits your theme, but we recently purchased a Geo Pro 2023. We haven’t used it yet, but so far have had the following problems: 1) the default PIN for e-lock was wrong, e-lock sent me a new lock with a label to return the defective one; 2) the lock on one of the outside cubbyholes is broken and we can’t access the griddle; 3 to 4 weeks to get the part from Forest River; 3) many of the locks and latches rotate 360 degrees so I have to constantly check to see if they are in the right position before closing the hatch; 4) our trailer was winterized so we noticed the pink liquid under the sink, I suspect a leak; 5) the furnace ran for about 5 minutes and quit. We are new to this RV thing, and now I am afraid to take this thing on the road.”
Customer for life
Denis W. had amazing service in Virginia: “I discovered my trailer fridge would not fire on propane the day before heading out. I found ‘RV Service LLC‘ in Strasburg, VA, online and the owner (sorry, but can’t remember his name) said to bring it in if I could, as he couldn’t come to me that day.
“When I got there, the owner stopped working on a huge Class A long enough to take a look. In less than a minute, he diagnosed a defective after-market variable thermistor. He said he had the correct one in stock and could replace it if I could wait until he wrapped up the job he was on, or I could drop the trailer and come back the next day.
“Since I had the original part and knew how to replace it, we agreed I would handle the repair. He could have easily taken advantage and soaked me for a new PCB, burner, igniter, etc., plus labor, but instead said have a nice day. He wouldn’t accept a dime. Now that’s good service and how you keep customers for life.”
Awning = pretzel
Ernie J. has awning replacement woes. He explains, “Had one of those light rain showers in central Florida that turned into a microburst in seconds. It took our awning and made it a pretzel. The insurance company said they would cover it and they did but it was in the covert last year. Hired 1st Choice RV Repair and they said they couldn’t get a replacement for six months.
“We said okay so that he would have plenty of time because we were going to New England for the summer. I kept in touch but he said it didn’t come in yet. This was October; got down here at Thanksgiving. He got it but a forklift had run over the end and was trying to get it replaced. Meanwhile, we were in the hot sun.
“Finally got a different company awning and said it was the replacement for what I had. Not even close. It was a foot and a half shorter and had no metal shield and was up so high that it is useless. The arms are over 7’ and can barely reach it to change the angle that won’t hold. The insurance company says the case is closed. My other awning was perfect. You should know what they are doing, so get everything in writing and get references. Stay away from 1st Choice RV repair.”
Mattress from a granite quarry and seats from a marshmallow factory
John S. has had good luck with his dealership despite the mattress and seats. He writes, “Overall, I have experienced good results from my local dealership, although it is about 25 miles from home. They are fairly busy and are about three weeks out for an appointment. When I bought the unit new in October 2021, I found a few things that didn’t really please me. It is a Coachmen Freedom Express. The mattress could have been sourced from a granite quarry and the seats from a marshmallow factory. Plastic hub caps? Kinda cheesy, I thought.
“There were a few other things that could have been better, but overall, it is a good trailer. In the year-and-a-half that I have owned it, the water supply line to the toilet broke, the radio stopped working and a few other minor things. Most everything has been repaired under factory warranty. Is the dealership reasonable for repairs? I don’t know what the going rate for shop time is but they charge $200 per hour. I think it is a little high, but what do I know? All in all, this has been a pleasant experience.”
After learning from mobile tech, he is taking on repairs
Thomas E. has become a DIY expert! “Three experiences with mobile techs and one with a dealership. Two mobile techs tried and failed to get our Atwood furnace working at night when it was needed. I eventually replaced the faulty Atwood with a very reliable Suburban furnace myself.
“And a third tech changed our awning fabric and replaced a stuck black tank valve after the camper sat at the dealer repair place untouched for two months. Quick response by each of the mobile techs. Excellent work by the third tech. Hourly rates ranged from $100 to $150/hr.
“After observing what the mobile tech did to replace the black tank valve, I replaced a gray tank valve. I have since replaced all four flattened-out springs, and heavy-duty shackles, replaced the frozen Equalizer with an Equa-flex, wet bolts, replaced bearings and seals, repacked the bearings, installed Roadmaster Comfort Ride shocks, and an axle alignment kit (all four tires were wearing unevenly) and aligned the axles. I also installed a Mr. Cool mini-split AC/heat pump that’s twice as efficient and 1/3 the noise of the overhead AC.”
Nice job, Thomas! You’re hired!
Lost the order
John S. is waiting for parts but they lost the order. “I bought an ’05 American Tradition Class A last year. The refrigerator did not work and the selling company disclosed that. I was OK with it. They were supposed to order parts, but finally, they said they couldn’t get the parts so I went to another local RV sales and service company here locally that is a dealer for Norcold.
“They ordered the warranty part in October. I had not heard anything back so I called the end of December. They said the part was on order and would be in any time but they were still waiting on it. I just called the last part of February and was told that they could not find my order. ‘I don’t know what happened to the order, but he would order it again.’ He had already just looked at their website and the parts were in the Norcold warehouse so he went ahead and said it would be a week before they get it.
“They called a week later and they have the parts. I have it scheduled to be worked on in between other big jobs that they’ve got going. They said when they get a break waiting on parts for the big job then they’ll work on my little refrigerator, so hopefully it’ll be done in a week or two with this new company.”
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.
To you guys – never buy new. You can spend half your life looking for the perfect rig and driving hundreds of miles to be totally disappointed when you finally see the rig. Maybe one in a hundred will be in great condition in cars, trucks, boats and rv’s. If they are that good a friend or family member will make a referral to someone and it’s never makes it to market. Anyone buying used plan on spending a minimum of one K, if you are lucky, and probably two or three times that. The DYI crowd will tell you they can fix it for $500 🤣. I spent 25 years in the boat business and 15 years as a Rv-er owning 5 rigs. For you newbies do a lot looking and studying before you buy new or used. The travel road ahead is a lot of fun if you have the time to use it.
In reference to Awning = pretzel by Ernie J. I damaged my LCI Solera Awning in July and it took me four months for the replacement awning to come in. When dealer opened box he noticed it was damaged. Surprisingly it took four weeks to get the replacement the second time. Bryant’s RV, Dallas Pa was quick to replace awning once the good awning came in.
Responding to the story from John S, mattress from a granite quarry. We have a higher end class A and we’re also unhappy with the mattress. The my pillow guy advertises queen size RV mattress toppers however they custom cut a RV king size for us after sending them the exact dimensions. I believe the price was around $300.00 but you cannot really put a price on a good nights sleep!
Reply to John S. who owns an ’05 American Tradition. We had a ’16 American Revolution and we often ordered parts from the REV parts department in Decatur, Indiana. Their prices were reasonable and shipment speed was fast on in-stock items. If a part was out-of-stock, the communication was great and expectations were reasonably set and met. Once we got the part, then we took it and our RV to our local service company for installation if we were not capable of installing it ourself.
Things you swap out immediately after delivery: 1. Tires. 2. Mattress. 3. Charge Controller 4. Bedspread. 5. Curtains. 6. Ceiling Fans. 7. Dark Cabinets 8. Plumbing Fixtures
Never buy new! Once dealers are stuck with RVs that no one is buying feedback will get to manufacturers to build better quality. An unhappy customer will cause 10 people not to buy, but a happy customer will get you 3 new customers, that’s an unwritten motto of business.
Never buy new!
Question for Richard M. Did you do thorough PDI inspection on your GeoPro before you signed the papers to buy it? The problems you described sound like they would have been discovered during the inspection and most likely, (assuming you bought it at a dealership), the dealership would have had them repaired quickly to close the sale. If any of the work is covered by a warranty you could be weeks or months now to get the repairs done.