Thursday, September 21, 2023


Issues with RVs are self-inflicted by owners

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:

Are issues with RVs self-inflicted?

Rick S. believes due diligence is imperative when buying an RV and issues are related to not doing so. He writes, “While I sympathize with owners that have had unpleasant ownership experiences, I believe that x% is self-inflicted due to zero due diligence prior to purchase on the product, dealers’ ratings and other owners’ experiences.

“We have owned three Class A coaches: one from Forest River (Mirada), and two Newmar (Ventana and Dutch Star). A total of over 140,000 miles on these three coaches provided us with trouble-free ownership.

“I attribute our success to: 1) In-depth due diligence on the two dealers (Rex and Sons in Wilmington, North Carolina, and Independence RV in Winter Garden, Florida) resulted in outstanding service experiences. 2) Choosing a brand with a reputation of quality and price points that match (or stretches, to a point) your budget. 3) Establishing a relationship with your chosen dealer is imperative. And 4) Maintaining the coach to the exact preventative maintenance requirements from the chassis and coach OEM.

“I have witnessed owners who will pick a dealer or brand based solely on the price or how much of a discount they get only to be horrified that their chosen dealer has zero services or customer service! They then try and get another dealer to ‘service’ their RV and are again horrified when the dealer doesn’t jump when they demand x, y or z.”

Service techs are not skilled

Raymond D. had his fridge in the shop for three months and it still wasn’t repaired correctly! He tells us, “Most service centers are incompetent and service technicians are not skilled techs. My Coachmen was in for a refrigerator malfunction. They had it for three months and it still wasn’t repaired. I got it back in the same shape as I sent it in. This happened on more than one incident, just honoring the warranty.

“Finally, after no satisfaction, I do all my own work. Being an HVAC technician and maintenance worker, I can do things right and even make improvements at a reasonable price. I only use RV service centers for parts, and then only when I am forced to! I now run a campground five months a year and have minimal problems but am able to do my own repairs.”

No happy campers here…

Ron M. is definitely not a happy camper. His RV was in the shop and they had to use their old tent! He reports, “Brand-new Jayco 171BH. Water damage was bubbling under the cabinets and under the bed plywood. Additionally, the front jack failed, the refrigerator failed and so did the shower on Father’s Day, the first day we got there!

“We took it back to the dealership with over 20 different problems and told them we got a LEMON. They called us to pick up the RV because all the parts are on backorder. I’ve been saving $46,000 to buy a pile of crap. We had to use our old tent last weekend. 20 years old and still working great. I thought buying an RV could be more convenient but it’s still in the shop getting repaired, and now school starts in two weeks! Don’t buy JAYCO from Jayco of Morgan Hill, California. They SUCK!”

Exhaust pipe cut off when sold!

Debra W. had an unsafe RV and the dealer wouldn’t fix it! She says, “R&R sold us a 2019 Winnebago Sunstar with the exhaust pipe cut off underneath. The first trip we went on across the state the carbon from underneath came inside and set off the detector. It was scary and took us a while before we found the problem. It makes our vehicle unsafe, and they would not fix it!”

Don’t expect perfection and do your research

Chris L. has some valuable advice for the RV purchaser. He writes to us, “It kinda is true about RVs (as in autos) that the year, day, etc., it was built has an effect on its final quality. That seems to (somewhat) hold up as our 2016 Lance 825 truck camper has been without major issues. Our dealer, when we needed service or parts (things wear out and break) has been just as good. Do the research before purchase, do a complete inspection on delivery and get used to doing whatever maintenance you can do yourself.

“Buying used? Service purchase records. Don’t ever expect perfection because it doesn’t exist! It’s a house on wheels, lotsa (most/all new/used) homes have defects.”

Find a mobile tech you trust

Jeffrey M. writes that a month-plus wait at the dealer was too long so he found a good mobile tech instead. “Experienced an A/C water leak on our first trip out in the middle of a heavy rain. There was a month+ wait at the dealer to have it fixed.

“Instead, I started my quest to find a good mobile RV tech. I found a tech who gladly provided me with his qualifications. He had a 4.9/5.0 rating. I read every review to screen out ‘fluff’ reviews—I didn’t find any fluff reviews at all.

“To make my case problem worse, our RV is stored at my relatives’ as our community doesn’t have any storage facilities. This wasn’t a problem for the tech. What really impressed me was he took before, during, and after pictures of EVERYTHING. 50+ pictures in total.

“I was totally impressed. I had a firm price for the original issue, and item pricing if I also wanted him to address the other issues that could develop into leaks later. The tech did all the original work, and the preventive maintenance items too. I feel if you want personalized service—find a mobile tech you trust. Will I use him again if needed? YES!!”

22 years and four RVs with the same dealer

Jesse C. has bought four RVs from the same dealer and has always been treated well. They write, “Our Tiffin 06 DP is now 17 years old. We bought it when the coach was 12. From the beginning, Stoltzfus RV, West Chester, Pennsylvania, has stood behind the unit for any issues. Their service department is superb in quality and timely repair work. We have more than 22 years of being their customer—two travel trailers and two motorhomes—always been treated with honesty and respect.”

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

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.

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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.


  1. People may not like this comment but, 1st, buy cheap – get cheap. When you are looking for the lowest cost unit you get the lowest cost components. They don’t stand up and fail. 2nd, as noted below, if you are not capable of doing some repairs, don’t buy an RV and camp at a Holiday Inn! RV dealers get really tired of owners who waste their time by needing simple items repaired and who seem to expect the dealer will have a tech just sitting and waiting to fix a simple issue. Owners need to be their own advocates and help figure things out. Come on man, if you don’t know which end of a screwdriver to hang on to, maybe you shouldn’t be RV’ing. Sorry, but just keeping it real!

  2. We got our first travel trailer in 1978; we’ve had truck campers, travel trailers, 5th Wheels , class A and C. Motorhomes, All the “ early units “ were much better quality than the one we bought especially after 2005 , the last travel trailer and 5 th wheel required repairs almost every time we used them , the last Thor built was the worst, I do all my own repairs , except wall and body work , 4 years ago I worked for a very small dealer in Iowa and got to see how bad the manufacturer treats the dealer denying almost all warranty claims or paying half what it’s worth to repair while the owner is down on the dealer for not taking care of repairs out of their own pocket.

  3. I really dislike comments like those made by Rick S. You have just been lucky. We owned a Rockwood Mini-lite that was such a lemon. On forums I was told by so many people that I didn’t do my due diligence during the walk-through. Please tell me without tearing the trailer apart that I would know the showermiser was installed incorrectly, or that the kitchen sink would fall out, or that the electric wires to the water pump were not connected tightly or that there was a 12″ x 18″ hole in the floor under the couch for two pex lines? I could go on and on. These posts that say we did our due diligence and have never had any issues because we are awesome and you are not really rankle me.

    • Due diligence includes paying for a professional inspection before spending one dime – even on a new rig. Yes, a good one from a highly rated pro inspector can cost $1,000, but it can also avoid untold frustration and expense.

  4. I guess Jayco used cheap front jacks, Mine broke about 6 months before the warranty expired. The new front jack they installed the bulb burned out about 1 1/2 years later. Which isn’t much use during that time.

  5. I have said it before and I’ll say it again: If you have zero mechanical, electrical, or plumbing skills, and are not willing to take on work yourself, stay away from RV’s. Warranties are useless, the industry is not going to change. Fix it yourself or stay in motels.

    • I agree wholeheartedly. The only (admittedly tiny) exception is the folks I’ve talked to with the million dollar plus Prevost coaches and apparently unlimited funds. One even had their own driver who slept in his own room in the Prevost! They get first class care straight from the Prevost network wherever they are and don’t need to know anything about fixing the coach. If it’s down for a bit, they can just summon a jet. For the rest of us, keep your tools handy!


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