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:
Techs: Not enough, not well trained, low pay and move frequently
Here’s John S.’s solution to techs, training, and poorly made RVs: “There are not enough techs to keep up with all the repair needs. Some are not trained well. All are not paid enough so they move around frequently. Industry builds them fast and poorly to sell fast. Sales are good but service is weak. Put a house on wheels and drive it down the road shaking it and there is always something to fix. They’re built cheap and fast so the need for repairs is frequent.
“Instead of taking my motorhome to a dealer or repair shop, I get a mobile tech to come to my home to make the needed repairs. It’s not any more expensive than going to a dealership or repair shop and the fix is done correctly. So far I have been lucky to find qualified techs. The industry needs to major on quality and not quantity, but the almighty dollar rules the road. Because of this, things will never get better. Buyer beware. RVs are a luxury item and a money pit. Need to have a lot of money to take care of the upcoming repairs. Financially it is a losing $$$ cause to have a motorhome.”
Great dealership until sold
Gerald H. had one issue and weeks later it was “fixed” … but it wasn’t. He explains, “I bought my new motorhome from a large local dealer that was known for excellent customer service. From the time I bought it and the two weeks before I picked it up, they changed hands into a large nationwide dealership. At home, I discovered that the outside speakers did not work. I called the manufacturer tech line thinking I was missing something. They said they see issues with the outside switch for outside TV or radio.
“I called the dealership and scheduled an appointment; they were three weeks out. Dropped off RV on the appointment day. No response for three weeks, so I called and they said they had not looked at it yet. When I said I had an appointment, their response was the appointment was when you bring it in, not when they would look at it. Two more weeks before it was fixed. They first replaced the amp that powers the speakers, then replaced the radio, then replaced the switch which fixed the problem except they installed the switch backwards and the switch to the radio came out. The USB cable that was supposed to be connected to the back of the radio was on the passenger seat, not installed. Had to pull the radio to connect it.”
23-year-old motorhome still gets great service
Ron R. has an older, much older, motorhome and these guys keep it going. He writes, “We have a 2000 Beaver Marquis 40′ motorhome that is showing its age a bit. Since we are full-timers, we need to keep our home in good shape. We have used Coach Masters in Bend, OR, almost exclusively, and really appreciate these folks! They are super busy but don’t quit until the problems are resolved. Knowledgeable, personable, diligent, and they even let us live in the coach while it’s repaired. These are the good guys!”
Excellent techs at this Camping World
AC H. has good news about this Camping World: “I know there has been a lot of negative talk about Camping World, but if you are ever in the area of Raleigh/Garner, NC, the Camping World service center there is second to none. These guys are excellent technicians, they will tell you if they can repair something or not and if they can’t, they will give you advice on where you can get it done. Their service is quick and reliable and if parts have to be ordered they keep in touch with you to let you know the status of the parts ordered. I, and a lot of our RV club members, have had repairs done there and we are very happy with the results.”
Lack of communication is a constant frustration
Tom W. found the lack of communication almost worse than the final bill. Here’s what he had to say: “Where to start? We were told our 2018 Grand Design 315RLTS would be in the shop for two weeks for repairs. Four weeks later we finally go to pick up our unit and found that not all repairs I had discussed with the service writer had been done because our insurance would not cover it. No one contacted us to let us know this beforehand. Communication with this person was a constant problem. We got no updates and no return calls to us when we tried to reach out for any info on the status of repairs. We ended up hanging around the shop for about four additional hours when I told them to replace the seals on two of our slides. Another $600+ for that.
“The closet doors always come off the track when traveling, they hadn’t touched them. They corrected it, but only after we had come to pick up our rig that they claimed was ready. We did have major repairs needed as we had two tires fail when traveling. Actually had a hole in the floor and damage to the metal and trim exterior and the coupler needed to be replaced. Anyway, lots of work, but their lack of communication was a constant source of frustration as were the delays in getting work completed on time. The result is we will not be returning for any future services. Just an FYI: Lazydays RV in Woodland, WA, is the shop.”
Manufacturer service the way you want it
Rick D. likes the service from Newmar. He writes, “Newmar RVs are well built with quality products, but even then you may still have problems. I always call Newmar’s service department. They know their products and how they function. If they don’t know the answer about a vendor’s product, they will do a three-way call with the vendor until you get an answer. After determining where you are and where you are heading, they will direct you to the closest dealer to make the repairs.”
Parts on Cummins engine don’t match VIN
Mel K. is finding parts a headache for him and the repair shop. He says, “I have to say, the service we have received from different companies has been good although somewhat expensive. It seems every third or so trip something else goes. Ours is a 2007 Triple E Empress Elite motorhome (we bought in August 2019) with a side radiator diesel pusher which was top-of-the-line. Very well-built motorhome.
“The problem is not the body, which is almost built to residential standard. The chassis is a Freightliner, so no issues there, and the Cummins engine has a stripped down block as sent to the bodybuilder. I am happy with it also.
“Now the bodybuilder adds the parts they want and the ones that best fit their configuration. Now here is the rub: The parts don’t necessarily follow the Cummins parts that Cummins would put on. When you give them a VIN or SIN number, the part recommended may not be the one on the engine. Now you or your repair shop have to start looking for a part, and with the age of our motorhome a lot of the time the part is no longer available or has to be outsourced.
“An example: A control valve on the hydraulic pump for the power steering and hydraulic motor for the side radiator fan started to leak because of electrolysis (iron/aluminum). I called everyone I could think of all over North America and no one had the part. On the pump schematic, it didn’t even have a part number.
“I asked in the IRV2 forums and within half a day I had someone in Florida (wish I could recall his name) who had the same problem. He bought it from the White House Products in, of all places, England. I ordered it late Friday at the end of the day for them. On the next Wednesday, it was in my driveway. Now I have a problem with the hydraulic motor on the side radiator fan leaking oil. So far Freightliner has not been able to find the part.
“I am also in touch with White House Products, fingers crossed. I can drive it but don’t think I want to make any long trips as we were planning. Also trying to find a part number on the failing part can be a real challenge. I also think, in my situation, a lot of the issues are from sitting too much and not being used enough.
“The Freightliner, First Truck Service Center in our area has been good to work with but at times it seems even their hands are tied. The repair bill seems to be coming down each year but it cost us about $8,500 last year, which worked out to about $188 per night of camping. That was our lowest repair bill since we bought the motorhome. Hopefully, this year will be better. If not, we may have to think about RV ownership.”
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
We’ll continue to 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:
I honestly can’t remember when I last visited a dealer for a repair. The dealer we bought our trailer from has long ago gone out of business. We use a mobile tech here at home, and have relied on mobile techs if repairs are needed on the road. Simple stuff we can do ourselves but I’ve reached the age where the definition of “simple stuff” has changed.
Came here intending to chime in, but honestly, John S. said it all, and said it very well. Could not agree with him more on both the state of RV Service and the use of mobile techs.
I could not agree more. Further, save your money on an extended warranty and put it toward mobile techs when the need arises. Such techs have a greater likelihood of saving your vacation than an extended warranty.