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:
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.”
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 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: