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:
This repair fiasco was an absolute, expensive disaster
Kevin B. had a saga of things go wrong on their first big trip out in their new RV. He writes, “2,900 miles on a 2023 Winnebago Travato 59GL, which has the Volta Power Systems Pure 3 lithium battery upgrade. On our first long road trip from San Diego to Fort Collins, CO, on the second day of the trip, the power system failed. Unable to camp—we had NO power to do anything in the camper even on shore power. After contacting Winnebago, we were told the earliest appointment was three days out in Loveland, CO.
“Unable to use anything, we had to pay for hotels until the Friday the camper went in for service. I arrived early in the morning for the appointment and I told them I would wait for the diagnosis. The service advisor said it might take until Monday, so now I had to rent a car AND find another hotel. Heard nothing Friday, Saturday, or Monday, so I called and was told late Tuesday that the entire system had to be replaced and the lead time on parts was 5 to 6 WEEKS.
$300 diagnosis fee
“Unable to stay in Colorado for that long, I told them I would have to pick the van up and get it back to California for service. The service advisor said the soonest pick-up time was the following day after 3 p.m. When I picked the van up I was charged a $300 ‘diagnosis fee,’ a scam for money, in my opinion. All under warranty, this should have been covered.
“I phoned Winnebago again and advised them I needed to return home with the van and asked them to find a service center closer to me. Literally took them six hours and the EARLIEST appointment was two weeks out AND 60-plus miles away from where I lived in Southern California.
“I called La Mesa RV, where I purchased the vehicle, and was given an appointment a week later. The appointment is next Tuesday but I expect to lose the camper for at least a month to a month-and-a-half due to parts availability.
“This fiasco so far from home has been expensive. Lost campsite fees, hotels for 10 days, rental car and gas, and having to eat every meal out made our first long road trip an absolute disaster… an expensive disaster. I’m about to park it outside the sales office at La Mesa RV and give them the keys, as this thing has already been towed three times for electric problems.”
Three excellent repair tips
Chris G. has some excellent advice for all RVers concerning repairs. He says, “Some advice on repairs: 1) Join one or more discussion groups that cover your make of RV. This way, you can ask questions and get possible fixes for many of your problems. You may also see what problems other owners are having which may help you catch issues before they get serious. 2) Don’t use RV repair shops for chassis issues on motorhomes, use truck repair shops instead. They are cheaper and faster. Two RV shops quoted me more than $4K to do the brakes on my class A motorhome, but a truck place did them for $2,300. 3) Learn to fix as much as possible on your own. Lots of great videos are available online.”
Getting a great deal is not always the best deal
Illene W. did research and they took their time before purchasing an upgrade. “I agree with several owners, that due diligence on what to buy and where is very important. We took our time for an upgrade to our Salem Hemisphere 29XBHL. Did research, and looked at the quality vs. cost. Warranties and service are a must. Maintain your RV. Getting a ‘great deal’ is not always the best deal.”
Camping World took three months to figure out they needed to tighten six bolts
Lennon wrote about his horrid experience at Camping World. He shares, “While our RV was at Camping World in Harrisburg, it took them three months to figure out that they just needed to tighten six bolts around our kingpin in the 5th wheel.
“We also had received our 5th wheel with one of the freshwater inputs to flush one of the blackwater tanks with the valve installed backward. I had to take it back to them twice. They said they inspected and it worked perfectly, but it didn’t. I had to have them show me in front of my own eyes to prove it. Then they saw I was right and fixed it.
“Here’s the worst part: During those three months that our 5th wheel that we live in was sitting on their lot and we were stuck in a hotel because of those 6 bolts they were too lazy to learn how to fix properly, someone had defecated in both of our bathrooms. We know this because we had completely emptied and flushed both tanks a second time on the Camping World premises before leaving the 5th wheel there. The tanks were empty and clean and the valves were all closed.
“Blackwater poured out all over”
“So, when my kids and I were finally able to pick up our home on wheels and go to the Dutch Country RV Park and hook up our sewer, the sloppy blackwater poured out all over my daughter’s feet, pants and hands. Granted, she didn’t wear the industrial rubber gloves we have for that purpose, but it should have never happened.
“We were also missing silverware (strangely) and a couple of miscellaneous food items. Not a big deal for those, but the fact that someone else was sleeping and defecating in our home while it was at Camping World is beyond forgivable.
“I went to Camping World and complained to the service rep, service manager, and general manager. The response was denying that it could have really happened on their watch. They just didn’t care and did nothing about it and did nothing in the way of compensation or apology.
“We have also had bad experiences with Camping World locations because of getting the wrong tires that caused blowouts, and more. We’ll never use Camping World again. We only did in the beginning because it was all under warranty, but the poor service is not worth dealing with them ever again.”
On the bright side… a great review of an RV repair shop in Texas
Debbie M. writes to us about the RV repair shop that gets them in and out fast! She said, “We live in San Antonio, TX, and have used the small repair shop, Texas RV Supply, for 15+ years. Mark, the service manager, has always helped us get in and out fast. There is never any ‘leave the rig here while we wait for your parts to come in.’ We bring in the rig for them to look at, they make notes as to what parts are needed and we take the rig back home with us to continue using. Mark calls when the part(s) are in and we can usually get in within a week, many times the next day even! In most cases, we go run some errands or have lunch, and the rig is fixed and ready within 1-3 hours! Nothing like the horror stories my extended family has had with their rigs or what I read about here.”
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: