Wednesday, November 29, 2023


‘Something is wrong with the ENTIRE RV industry’

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:

Rather be lucky than rich

Michael B. says he has had a lot of luck while on the road. He writes, “We have always been lucky when needing repairs on the road. From oil changes, tire repair for bolts in them, water pump on the Jeep, motherboard for the trailer, broken spring on the trailer requiring towing and replacements (still made our next stop), and losing a wheel that required new axle and other repairs that took about a month to get that trailer back. I always say I’d rather be lucky than rich, and so far, so good. This was all pre-pandemic and a lot has changed, so remember traveling is all about the adventure and overcoming the adversities!”

Something is wrong with the entire RV industry; need stronger regulations

James J. is disgruntled with the poor workmanship of the entire RV industry and wants better regulation. He relates the saga of his trials, “I purchased a Rockwood 2618VS from Perris RV in Murray, UT. Upon shakedown, it developed a couple of problems – the gas/electric water heater would not stay lit, and the oven pilot would not stay lit. Returned to the dealer for warranty repair. After a couple of weeks of excuses, they told me everything was fine.

“Nope! Same issues. I made extensive notes on what was happening and the test conditions. Returned the trailer for follow-up service, losing use for another couple of weeks. All good to go, they say. During pick-up, I tested the WH and demonstrated to the service manager that it was still malfunctioning. I had to wonder if they even attempted to test. The oven was not tested on-site by me at that time, as it does take fifteen to twenty minutes for the pilot to flame out. I had a trip planned and would return it afterward for what was likely to be another couple of weeks of sitting on their lot.

“During the in-between times, when we actually could use our new trailer, a couple of other issues were discovered. Trim on the RR vanity was pealing loose. The vanity medicine cabinet was wiggling loose. Waves could be seen in the vinyl flooring of the galley area. If I wrote a book about the back-and-forth attempting to get these things resolved, it would become a novel.

The last straw

“The dealership’s solution to fix the loose vanity trim was the last straw. In my opinion, a little glue would fix the trim. But no, they decided to order and replace the vanity. The first replacement installed was a vanity-only unit—no integrated sink like the original. So they cut the sink out of the old vanity and cobbled it to the replacement vanity. When I went to retrieve my barely used trailer, the vanity looked like crap. It was very obvious what they did. I rejected it on the spot. After a few weeks, they finally got the correct vanity installed. It was okay, except the caulking was poorly done. It was at that point I decided these people have a problem and cannot be trusted to perform quality RV maintenance.

“Taking things into my own hands, I found the issue with the oven upon replacing the pilot. The WH will work great if I leave the door open a crack, seemingly because it wants more air than what the door allows. Some research indicates it has the correct door for that model, so I suspect it has the wrong jet. I’ve had to re-fasten the vanity and mirror unit to the wall. We will live with the wavy flooring.

“It’s one thing to get disappointed by a single dealership. But something is wrong with the entire industry when so many are unable to perform at acceptable levels of competency. I have found an RV repair-only shop that in time will tell if they are competent. For routine issues, I will be performing most repairs and maintenance myself where possible, despite that I would prefer to hire a competent technician. We need stronger regulations for the RV industry. Automotive manufacturers and dealerships do not get away with this kind of crap.”

Beware of social media

Joseph T. says beware of the bad information out there: “There are WAY TOO MANY Facebook engineers who are spewing incorrect and dangerous opinions and not FACTS. I spend part of my time correcting the info like this: Q: ‘I have a propane and electric refrigerator and smell ammonia and my refrigerator quit working, is that a problem?’ One of the answers was, ‘Not a problem, the freon leaked out.’ There is so much bad info out there, it is dangerous!”

Just because it is a “low-end” trailer doesn’t mean the construction should be low-end too

Dan M. relates his experience with the poor craftsmanship on his new trailer. “In 2021 I purchased a new Coachmen (Forest River) Spirit 3379BH TT from a local dealer in CA. Over the next several months of getting ready to go full-time, we started noticing the poor quality craftsmanship on this travel trailer.

“To illustrate, here are some of the problems we encountered and that I fixed myself or had others repair: 1. Kitchen drawer slides were ‘secured’ to the back wall with 1/4″ screws, which came loose; 2. Electrical crimp connection to the main slide came loose during travel, the slide would not retract; 3. Water leak at the water pump due to a loose hose connection; 4. Crimped hose to the potable water tank resulting in slow flow to the tank; 5. Water leak at the fresh water hose connection line due to a large 4” screw penetrating the line from the trailer flooring; 6. Electrical outlets broken or loose in the wall; 7. Propane line to the outside kitchen stove top was too short to connect; 8. Storage shelves inside were too flimsy to support the weight of the items and pulled loose; 9. Trailer skirting came loose during travel due to a lack of adequate supports and securing screws; 10. Numerous interior trim parts required securing with additional screws.

“My main complaint: Just because I purchased a ‘low end’ ($50K) travel trailer, I should not have to deal with repairs such as these if quality construction was done initially.”

Top-notch service

Jerald D. sends kudos to this RV service center: “My RV repair extends from tents to pop-ups, to class A motorhomes. Repairs have been good and BAD. I just want to say Edwards Equipment Trailer Sales & Service near Belleville, IL, has been a lifesaver. He has tackled jobs, large and small, scheduled and EMERGENCY, always with TOP-NOTCH service. His prices are fair with competitive charges… ”

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

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.

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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Neal Davis (@guest_241382)
5 months ago

Thank you, Nanci! We are in Charlotte, Michigan at Spartan RV Chassis for three days of classroom work/discussion on our Spartan K2 chassis and Spartan itself beginning tomorrow (6/19). We have a few questions/problems that we think are warranty items. So, I should have something to say about the degree to which they do/do not stand behind their product. We are scheduled to get upgraded shocks on our 2022 New Aire 3545 at Master Tech RV in Elkhart on Thursday (that likely will result in a comment of why we are doing it and probably a comment on Master Tech too. Beginning a week from tomorrow (6/26) we are scheduled for more warranty work at Newmar in Nappanee, Indiana. So, maybe more to say about them, too. We’ll see.

Bill Byerly (@guest_241369)
5 months ago

Thank you again for the reports Nanci !!

Conni (@guest_241265)
5 months ago

We bought our 2022 Jayco in Nov 2022 and I have no real complaints about it, the only thing so far we found was the heating vent in the bedroom didn’t work. My biggest complaint is with the authorized service dealer we have here. We got a recall notice and when I tried to make an appointment to get it fixed, the “appointment” was basically for drop off only. They wanted to keep it for a minimum of 3 weeks for a 15 minute repair. Then I was told they wouldn’t do any warranty work unless it was something that prevented use of the trailer. I have since found out the refusal to do the warranty work could be because we didn’t buy it there. We live in NV and bought it in OR, do they really expect us to take it there for warranty work? Needless to say since the recall wasn’t for a major problem and the heating vent not working isn’t major, we didn’t leave it with them.

Conni (@guest_241261)
5 months ago

Joseph T says “There are WAY TOO MANY Facebook engineers who are spewing incorrect and dangerous opinions and not FACTS.” So true. I can’t believe people actually ask some of the questions they ask on Facebook instead of going to reputable sources. Then the answers from the “experts” that are taken as gospel. OMG!

Jim Camp (@guest_241213)
5 months ago

I bought my Motorhome from RNR RV in Spokane, WA and have our repairs and maintenance done in their Liberty Lake, WA location. They do really great body work but did suggest maybe we need a new driver. Their repair work has been great and their maintenance seems to be okay. The only problems has been with the service managers positions. Mine seems to change people every year and they do not seem to leave any notes or emails with who ever takes their place. Last appointment parts that were supposed to have been order months before had not been. I had a list of at least 10 things I needed repaired but was told they could only do five. They did two in four days and the rest will have to wait until next time. I do recommend them as the people are great and they put up with a lot customer abuse that should be directed at the manufacturers. I will be going back.

Tina W (@guest_241171)
5 months ago

I’m lucky to have a husband who can fix anything. He’s rebuilt our entire 2003 Keystone by Springdale. We have a new bathroom, new kitchen, new walls and insulation, new cabinets, new bed platform, replaced the awning, and high end normal queen sized mattress. He even installed new windows that are beautiful! We painted the exterior and we think it looks like it has more character than most new RVs, which all look just about the same to me. We bought this used when we weren’t sure we would ever use it. We could afford a new one but my husband insists the parts and components are much worse on even the higher end brand new trailers. We went and looked at one that we liked, higher end. It was beautiful, fiberglass shell on a nicer frame. But it had no storage, no oven, and the awning was unacceptably small. If they want customers, they need to go back to older standards and do things right.

Last edited 5 months ago by Tina W
Bob M (@guest_241105)
5 months ago

I agree with James J. that we need stronger regulations in the RV industry. We can’t rely on the RV industry officials or the RVIA for quality and Safety.

Bob P (@guest_241182)
5 months ago
Reply to  Bob M

The reason for the RV industry’s lack of regulations is it’s not considered essential. As long as it’s that way nothing will be done, if enough RVers complained to their representatives then something would be done, but the small numbers of complaints don’t out weigh the number of political gifts the politicians get from the crooks turning out junk.

Neal Davis (@guest_241095)
5 months ago

Thank you, Nanci! Thanks to you and this column I am compiling a list of reputable service shops and technicians around the country. 🙂

Robert Champlin (@guest_241069)
5 months ago

I’m sorry but, I cringe when I see a call for more regulation. Perhaps I’m too old fashion at 75 years of age but is personal integrity and pride in performing quality work dead and gone. If manufacturers and repairmen would just do what is right, they would still make the almighty buck – and everybody would be so much happier. More regulations just muddy the waters even more.

wanderer (@guest_241096)
5 months ago

People lived crammed into 5-story walkup firetrap tenement flats with no plumbing back in the 19th century. There is a reason we instituted building codes, because builders could not be trusted to build safe and decent housing without them.

If you want a no-regulation solution to RV awfulness, fine. Open the trade doors and let the Japanese and Koreans sell RVs in our country. That’s the only way we got improved quality in our automobiles years ago, Detroit started losing market share to better-built products. But don’t be surprised if our lovely RV industry shows up on Capitol Hill with bags of money to keep their trade protection.

Cancelproof (@guest_241266)
5 months ago
Reply to  wanderer

You are absolutely correct that the Japanese auto builders forced our big 3 to improve quality, safety, desirability and fuel economy.

Jesse Crouse (@guest_241025)
5 months ago

From a Plumber- I belong to the PHCC Assoc. Plumbing Heating, Cooling Contractors Association. The oldest trade association in America-130 plus years with national, state and local chapters. We have standards. I suggest an RV manufacturer, dealer and service center association with real standards that are enforced. I am NOT HOLDING MY BREATH on that!

Will B. (@guest_240954)
5 months ago

As we bought our rig from a private seller and it was two years old, we’ve never had an RV dealership “home” nor any warranties. Pretty much everything that’s needed fixing, we’ve either done ourselves or worked with a mobile tech. After almost four years of full-timing, and reading hundreds of stories and comments, I don’t think I would *ever* attempt to get an RV dealer to fix anything. Incompetence abounds, or so it seems. I have no first hand experience of this and believe I am likely much happier for it.

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