Thursday, June 8, 2023


The amount of repairs they have to do EVERY trip is NOT worth the 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:

“Read the owner’s manual”

Jim J. is replying to a post in last week’s issue about reading the owner’s manual. He says, “I am responding to Rick S. who said ‘read the owner’s manual.’ I have. Cover to cover. All of them. The issue isn’t my lack of reading, but the RV manufacturer’s lack of specificity in their manual. I find that the manual covers a broad swath of units and frankly, several model years just to make things muddier. It is equivalent to a car manufacturer having one manual for all its passenger cars covering 3-5 years’ worth of models.

“And not every 3rd party component comes with its own manual. Further, those 3rd party manuals cannot really tell you how the RV manufacturer installed their components. Over the last six years of RV ownership, I have essentially had to train myself via various online tools and hands-on experience to become my own (decidedly uncertified) RV technician. Luckily I have access to a highly-skilled, certified, insured, mobile tech to deal with what I don’t know.”

An almost-unheard-of service experience

Dan B. is one very happy camper! This is great! He shares, “You are not going to believe this! Contacted Smith’s RV in Manton, Michigan, last Monday for problems with the slide cover not allowing the slide to extend. They said to bring it in on Tuesday. By the time I got home, they had already called with diagnosis and repair options. Ready to go on Wednesday! New brackets and torn/jammed cover material were replaced. Very reasonable price! IN ONE DAY! Unheard of! I’m a very happy camper!”

Dedicated service by Newmar

Neal D. needed warranty service and Newmar directed him to the chassis builder and followed through. “Our regular mechanic (Les Glenn at Diesel Plus in Ringgold, Georgia) identified a hydraulic fluid leak near the side radiator in our 2022 Newmar DP on April 4. I called Newmar to inform them of the leak and asked what their procedure was in order to have the repair covered under our one-year warranty with them. They informed me that the leak is Spartan’s deal because they manufactured the chassis. They then got Spartan on the line and stayed on the call as Spartan gave me instructions.

“Newmar has since called twice to ask how the repair is going. I informed them that Spartan is shipping parts and the repair is anticipated to begin on 4/11. Newmar plans to call me again on 4/13 to see how the repair went. I am very pleased with Newmar’s apparent desire to ensure that our RV is in good working order. I also am extremely pleased by Spartan’s willingness to work with our non-Spartan certified mechanic without voiding our warranty.”

RV tech for 20 years

Robert M. gives us the insider lowdown on dealers and service. “I’m an RV tech with over 20 years of experience. Many well-made brands have been sold out to companies that only care about money. Couple that with used car salesman tactics, and you get angry customers. Quality fell down drastically in the early 2000s. One company led the charge. They had 67% of the market in 2004, and they have only gotten stronger. At the same time, labor rates have nearly tripled, and tech pay has barely doubled. Big dealerships have created an environment of poor service with unqualified techs. Every dealership has the same one-star review. Look it up, don’t take my word for it.”

If I build it myself I will know where the black water vent pipe is—it will go through the roof!

JJ K. sold their house and bought their dream 5th wheel. Next time they are going to build it themselves. “I had built out a homemade camper in the back of a pickup truck with a topper during Covid. I did some camping in it and it was fab, BUT the hubby couldn’t go with me. So, we sold a house (an ENTIRE HOUSE) so we could buy a top-of-the-line RV (fifth wheel, top-of-the-line, will not mention brand name). It is BEAUTIFUL. The manufacturer has TOP NOTCH customer service; however, that does not make up for the total amount of repairs we have to do EVERY trip.

“The RV has a built-in generator, but it isn’t strong enough to air up its own tires OR winterize/blow out the water lines. Why would they provide an air compressor if it won’t do these simple tasks? If you have to drive to a gas station to check your tire’s pressure, they are no longer ‘cold.’

“Our ‘black tank flush’ inlet is supposed to spray into both black tanks, but nope, it only goes to one black tank. So, we are waiting for supplies to get that fixed. Our air vents (for the black and gray water tanks) apparently end somewhere in the attic, so the foul air gets into the attic, as does the bathroom exhaust vent also vents into the attic, but not strictly outside. The A/C was not sealed from the attic, so it was pulling in the foul air from the tanks back into our RV.

“These are things that simply were done WRONG in the manufacturing process. You pay upwards of $100,000 for a rig like this and when the closet rod breaks not once, but twice, you are annoyed, but simply go get a new, stronger rod to make the repairs (and say a few curse words) yourself. But having to take things apart to SEAL up what should have been done during the manufacturing process is ridiculous.

Next time I’m going to build my own camper

“I have told my husband that IF we ever decide to get rid of this camper (I’ve almost got all the hiccups fixed now), I’m not going to EVER buy a manufactured camper. I’m going to buy myself a step van or a box truck and build my own. I will KNOW where my black vent pipes are and they WILL stick fully through the roof, AND I won’t put a sink in an island where it can’t get any air and the back-flow valve won’t stop up every other minute.

“My homemade rig won’t have plastic fenders that simply blow off every six months. They spent so much time making everything so light, but the folding table they provided weighed so much that we traded it out for a standard plastic folding table.

“So much just doesn’t make any sense. I’m sorry I got sucked into an official ‘RV’. I just want to make my own and have it work consistently and not have ALL my ‘vacations’ turn into ‘fix the RV at some random campsite drudgery trip.’ I forgot to mention the spontaneous explosion of RV windows.”

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.

Click or drag a file to this area to upload.

Last week’s RV Service Centers and Repairs Report:


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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1 month ago

to JJ K. Soooo why NOT name the brand??

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