Saturday, May 27, 2023


18-year RV industry worker says RVs haven’t changed, customer demands have

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:

18 years in the RV industry

Brian K. says nothing has changed except the demands of the consumer. He writes, “Amazing how quick buyers are to say everything is junk. Working in the industry for over 18 years, I can tell you nothing has changed except what people have demanded that they ‘need’ to have on an RV. An RV was never meant to have residential items in them to be taken over the roads that we have today.”

Dealerships can’t find qualified people

Jack B. has worked for dealerships and shares this observation: “I worked at two different dealerships in 11 years, a small mom-and-pop and a mid-size dealership. Part of the problem for dealerships is qualified people. Remember that a tech has to be a plumber, electrician, carpenter and a mechanic. All that takes time to learn and at the time I worked in the business, we had a hard time finding well-trained people. We started holding training online back in ’08 and were getting good results. One more thing: Show up at the dealership in person puts a face on the work order, phone calls can get lost.”

RVs a total rip-off

Dan S. has had to repair or replace too many items on his RV. He says, “All RVs are a total rip-off for the money spent. Here is a list of things I fixed or replaced in the first year on our new 2019 Forest River Micro Lite:

“Threw away the mattress immediately and replaced it with better quality plus a 4.5 lb. density memory foam topper and padded mattress cover. Replaced the mechanical thermostat with a digital one. The mechanical one would cut off at 75 degrees and cut on at 65 degrees, so we were constantly either too hot or too cold. The wood trim straps on the ceiling began to come loose and had to be glued and nailed, necessitating the purchase of a finishing nail gun. Fastenings that hold the window blinds and curtains came loose.

“The sink fell down and had to be repaired and reinforced. The shelves in the pantry were so flimsy I reinforced those before they fell. The pigtails on the propane tanks started leaking and had to be replaced. The one original battery that came with the unit was cheap crap and would not even run the led lights and furnace fan for 24 hrs. while boondocking and had to be replaced with a 200ah AGM battery.

“The stabilizer jacks were so flimsy they were bent and useless after a few uses and had to be replaced with larger and sturdier ones. By the end of year two, the toilet was leaking and had to be replaced. I performed all of this myself at a cost of hundreds of dollars. If I had gotten all this done at an RV repair shop it would have cost thousands of dollars. I paid $24,000 for this RV at the end of 2018 and now in 2023 the same model sells for $35,000 to $40,000. A complete rip-off!”

A fine tooth comb job!

Raymond D. is happy with the quality of work on his travel trailer. “We have no complaints nor any issues with Fermin at Will’s RV here in Franksville, WI. Once our TT comes out of storage, Fermin and his gang go over it with a fine tooth comb, top to bottom, tongue to bumper. Once it’s done, Fermin recommends maintenance that I can do or he and his men can do at a reasonable price. Wills RV has been maintaining our TT for more than six years and never had anything negative to say about their services.”

YouTube is a huge help

John W. does his own work and offers advice: “We bought our Lance 1685 trailer new in 2012. It has never been to a dealer or service center since. The best approach is to get familiar with all the systems and DIY fix as needed. YouTube is a huge help. I understand that some repairs (slideout removal, axle replacement, etc.) may need a qualified mechanic with experience and equipment I don’t have. Luckily we haven’t needed those kind of repairs. The best bet is to pay a little more for hopefully better quality. BTW, our ‘old’ Lance made it from Virginia to Alaska and back last summer with no issues.”

RV dealer goes the extra mile

Larry L. got no help from Camping World but another RV dealer went nationwide to help. “My 2017 Flagstaff travel trailer needed a new pilot light assembly for the Suburban oven. Camping World in Salt Lake is a dealer for Suburban stoves, so I called to order the part. The parts person said the part is discontinued and unavailable, and that I was out of luck.

“So I went to Miller’s RV in Spanish Fork (UT) and asked them if there was anything I could do. They looked up the part, confirmed that it is discontinued, and then went on a nationwide part search at several different supply houses. They found one clear across the country, special ordered it, and called me three days later to say it had arrived. Thanks to YouTube, I was able to install it myself and my stove functions perfectly. Kudos to Miller’s. Camping World, not so much.”

Much better experience

Don N. left Camping World for another RV dealer. “I’ve submitted many negative texts about Camping World of Jacksonville. Ended up trading to General RV of Orange Park, FL. Much better experience. Couldn’t camp for over a year due to Camping World. Worst experience of my life.”

Wanted to make sure the customer was happy

Mark B. had issues with a new camper but the dealer fixed it promptly. “After the mostly negative talk here on dealers and service techs, I just wanted to say we ordered a Real Lite truck camper from Mericle RV in Fort Lupton, CO. Did take a couple of months longer than expected for delivery, but that’s on the factory. When it did come it was missing the side awning, the drain line for water was pinched shut and the control panel didn’t work properly. Mericle contacted the manufacturer for parts and fixed issues very quickly. Very pleased with their sales dept., service and attitude. Seemed like they just wanted to make sure we were happy with our purchase. Anyway, would recommend them and we are pleased with our camper.”

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 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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Nanci Dixon
Nanci Dixon
Nanci Dixon has been a full-time RVer living “The Dream” for the last six years and an avid RVer for decades more! She works and travels across the country in a 40’ motorhome with her husband. Having been a professional food photographer for many years, she enjoys snapping photos of food, landscapes and an occasional person. They winter in Arizona and love boondocking in the desert. They also enjoy work camping in a regional park. Most of all, she loves to travel.


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Neal Davis
1 month ago

Note: I have sung Les Glenn’s praises in the past. Most recently after he had moved from the Chattanooga, Tennessee Freightliner dealer (Premier Truck Group in Ringgold, Georgia) to North Georgia Tire (also in Ringgold) He left North Georgia Tire two weeks ago because he found them overcharging his RV customers for work he’d done. He is now (as I noted in my submitted comment above) at Diesel Plus in Ringgold, Georgia. Les is a gem. He is conscientious, meticulously thorough, extremely competent, honest, and friendly.

Last edited 1 month ago by Neal Davis
1 month ago

Brian K. is a self absorbed *****. Heard a V.P. of Holiday Rambler use that “Driving your condo down a rough road” excuse in 2008 at a rally. He got Booed out of the room.
In 2007 I was told Holiday Rambler figured in $50K of warranty work on a $200K motor home. They knew they were building a poor product. If you gave up and didn’t use the $50K, they were ahead. Their warranty system DID make you want to give up!
The RV industry is TERRIBLE!

Robert Jobson
1 month ago

wanted to second the story about Fermin at Wills RV. they are the best

1 month ago

Dear Brian K, I’m so sorry our expectations as the customer are so high. Please let us know if we can improve on anything else to help make your job a little less like work. I will try not to sound whiney taking a cold shower next time and if need another tow for a de-rated Cummins, I’ll just handle it, AGAIN.

Sincere Apoligies
The Proofs

PS: if you have a student Loan that you need handled, please forward me the most recent statement so I can get that addressed for you too.

1 month ago
Reply to  Cancelproof

De-rated Cummins? Seems to me that is a diesel / vehicle / gov’t juice problem. Can that be blamed on the RV industry? Just askin’.

1 month ago
Reply to  KellyR

Exactly correct. Response was sorrily lacking from the dealer but yeah, DEF head sensor issue. Same as 10,000 others. Bad example.
Should have talked about the a vibration that took 4 trips to get diagnosed but frankly, it was far to complicated a story for 3 sheet metal screws in a wheel well. In truth, been pretty happy with the rig Entegra 44. Not so happy with NIRV.

1 month ago

Brian K’s comment is thoughtless and just dosen’t make sense. He makes it sound like buyers are standing in lines at dealerships and and yelling “We’re not buying your RV’s because you don’t offer dishwashers!” Potential buyers cannot demand what they need on an RV, but only buy what the manufacturer will offer. But what buyers CAN demand is a product they can purchase without worry of breakdowns, poor workmanship and prompt warranty services. And, if RV’s were never meant to have residential items, why the heck are manufacturers including them?

1 month ago

Well, Brian K, I have been camping in RVs for 55 years with 42 years of owning them as an adult. I have worked with many dealerships for both sales and service over those years. A LOT has changed in your industry!

I guess one can blame customers or roads…or whatever…for the industry’s woes or realize that customers are the reason the industry exists and demands for real quality and service aren’t unreasonable.

Last edited 1 month ago by Spike
Tommy Molnar
1 month ago
Reply to  Spike

Well said, Spike. Also realize it’s not just the RV industry that can’t find qualified workers – or any workers. The attitude in this country seems to have changed from adults knowing they will spend their lives working so someday they can retire, to an attitude that the country owes them a life of NOT working if they choose not to. Car dealerships, home builders, plumbing and electrical contractors, you name it, finding people to work is hard work in itself. Even fast food restaurants where teenagers used to get their start are many times staffed by retired seniors looking for extra money. It’s rougher than ever out there.

1 month ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

Your comments are spot on. I worked 40 plus years to get us to this point. The younger generation want hand out for doing nothing. Not all are like that thank goodness.

Lee Ensminger
1 month ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

The attitude in this country seems to have changed from adults knowing they will spend their lives working so someday they can retire, to an attitude that the country owes them a life of NOT working if they choose not to.”

Tommy, I could not have said that better myself, so I just repeated and emphasized your words. Well said.

Wayne C
1 month ago
Reply to  Spike

Exactly. 18 years is not nearly long enough for a comparison. My current RV is 12 years old.

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