Saturday, December 9, 2023


RVer warns ‘not to buy anything from 2020-2023 due to manufacturer defects’

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:

Camping World scratches brand-new RV

Scherry C. will never be going back to this Camping World. She wrote, “Went to Camping World in Bowling Green, Kentucky. I needed the water heater worked on. They kept our RV for more than a month and never completed the work. We decided to take it someplace else. When we went to pick it up the battery had been stolen and our RV had a big scratch down the side. They had also destroyed the dump tank we had attached to the back. This was a brand-new trailer. They did replace the dump and the battery but would not fix the scratch. Will never go back.”

Once the RV dealer makes the sale, all bets are off

Ray M. had a number of problems with his new RV and after the dealer couldn’t fix it, he took it to the factory. He said, “I purchased Dynamax Isata 3 new from a dealer in Iowa. Had numerous problems with the electrical, TV, A/C and the heat pump. After several attempts to have the dealer fix it, I took it to the Dynamax, Forest River factory service in Elkhart, IN. They fixed everything in a couple of days. They got me in in less than a week. All under warranty. Could not be happier with the factory service center in Elkhart. It is hard to find a good dealer to service your RV. Once they make the sale, all bets are off.”

Reader warns: Do not buy 2020-2023 units

Marilee N. thinks her trailer should be recalled. She wrote, “I owned three RVs and my 2022 is the worst with poor manufacturing. The Wolf travel trailer needs to be recalled. The awning does not adjust, the wall seams are not flat or tight, the outside refrigerator overheated and leaked water at the same time. The outside kitchen wall separated and the inside kitchen faucet leaked from day one. The main door doesn’t close correctly. Major water leak under the shower. The dealership had to remove the shower and black tank to fix it. I tried to return the trailer two weeks after I bought it. I advise not to buy anything from 2020-2023 due to manufacturer defects.”

Fingers crossed every time they go on a trip

Paul S. has had his share of issues, even on the upgrade. He wrote, “We bought a new Keystone 5er about four years ago and had to sell it one year later as there were so many rinky-dink issues with everything. Very poor workmanship. We ‘traded up’ to a new 2018, Heartland Bighorn 5er, 3010.

“Obviously higher quality, in many respects, but it had many of the same issues in quality that the Keystone had. Both were new! Cabinet hinges, moulding breaking away, screws loosening way too easily on fenders, etc.

“Through our travels, we have met many campers with similar incidents and I have come to believe that some crews are simply drunk/stoned, or whatever when they construct these very expensive rigs. I have met folks with the exact same models/year, with nightmare stories.

“Where is the quality control?! And when you try and get things repaired while still under warranty… GOOD LUCK! They deny most repairs, as shop fees are not in line with warranty reimbursement dollars/time spent. Such a shame and disillusionment when you expect to get what you paid for. We love our Bighorn, but it’s fingers crossed each time we go on a trip!”

They survived 95 mile per hour winds that flipped RVs next to them, the RV not so much. Lasts as long as a disposable lighter!

Angela M. wrote to us about being a first-time RV buyer and the ensuing nightmare of repairs after tornado-strength winds. She says, “We are a young family and it was our first time buying an RV last year and wow! We were naive enough to think our first RV (Grand Design Momentum 45-foot triple-axle) was going to be our forever RV. We went with a ‘high-end’ toy hauler thinking it would be better than the less-known brands. Little did we know these things last as long as a disposable lighter.

“We were in a tornado-like storm with 95-mile-an-hour winds, hail, and heavy rain about three months after our purchase. Two campers next to us flipped and our camper front came a foot off the LVL boards we had under the jack footings, twisting the jacks and the front end of the camper. We promptly took it to Transwest (one of the most reputable service centers and also close to our home in a rural area). After a quick fix on the bent jacks, we realized there was more damage to the flooring and walls in the bedroom area above where the front jacks were.

Trips to assess more damage

“After repeated trips to assess more damage and hoping to find solutions, the service technician who was in the lot to go over concerns told me that he was never told the camper was in a storm and to check the roof and jacks only. There were holes in the walls with daylight coming through when we had the camper hooked up, and then they would be gone when we set the camper on the jacks in the service lot for assessment. After the third return, he said ‘he would have just put the hose in it himself to total it out for us’, in a jokingly condescending manner.

“I was appalled and spoke to the counter representative who assured me he was fully aware of the camper situation. Basically, they spent nine months and multiple claims with our insurance to attempt to continuously fix the camper. We had an appointment to return to service after we returned from TX. Unfortunately, we didn’t make it back home or to Transwest from that trip. Our camper began to collapse onto the bed of our truck while driving on I-35. We were stranded in a large warehouse district parking area for four days with three tow truck companies showing up and leaving after refusing to hook up and haul the camper just eight miles to the closest service center.

Insurance budged

“Luckily, insurance budged and let us have a mobile RV service representative come to assess and quote the damage. Come to find out the kingpin was broken and the fifth wheel was only cosmetically attached to the floor of the camper at this point. That is why we had the appearing and disappearing holes when we would hook up and set the camper on the jacks. The mobile RV guy told us this camper would have to be taken to the frame for full assessment and repair. Quoting approximately 150-300 hours in labor plus materials, the camper was totaled. We had to pay $11,000 upside down in the camper due to the previously failed attempts.

“Transwest told us their hands were tied by insurance because they cannot just tear a camper apart for assessment to quote damages for insurance. All the while the insurance company said no, they rely on the service provider to make the best call of what is needed to assess damages and they are allowed to do whatever is best protocol.

Our lives were put in danger

“Our family feels like our lives were put in danger by the reluctant effort to assess and repair our camper in the first place. I recently got some supplies from Transwest and was speaking to a counter guy who was getting a gal to ring me up. He said he had 25+ years in the industry and from his experience any camper in a storm like that would most likely be a total loss just with the basic damages normally seen with those types of storms.

“After that, I was left wondering how we got nine months into trying to fix something that wasn’t assessed properly in the first place. Total learning curve. We just got an XLR Micro Boost (26-foot toy hauler with no slide) with gap coverage now that we know the game. If you are gonna have an RV be ready to play games, and buy many of them!”

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.

Click or drag a file to this area to upload.

Last week’s 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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Tony Barthel
14 days ago

That warning about not buying 2022-23 MY RVs is something I hear and proof that people don’t shop carefully. Some brands retained or even improved their quality in that period. New brands like Brinkley and Ember came on line so they’re saying all those are bad? Just another example of uninformed people being given a voice. There are bad RVs and good RVs and bad companies and good ones. If not I wouldn’t have a column here reviewing RVs.

Ray (@guest_262406)
16 days ago

While avoiding 2020 through 2023 COVID campers as a practical approach, the problems with quality arose earlier than that for several makes. To avoid cheap manufacturing one must consider when/if that make was taken over by a conglomerate.

Kbats (@guest_262125)
19 days ago

I frequently see the 2020 – 2022/23 range as “COVID Campers”. I think this is somewhat of a disservice since many of the 2020 units were built and delivered prior to COVID lockdowns. By summer of 2020, the 2021’s were at dealers. I have a 2020 Chateau 28Z that has been great. It was built in fall of 2019 and delivered winter 2020. I’m not at all discounting the concerns about units rushed to market in ’21 and ’22. There are certainly good ones and ones that need careful inspection but I imagine this goes for all manufactured years.

Gary Bate (@guest_261960)
20 days ago

We have a used 2009 Winnebago View that we purchased with 40,000 miles on it. It was well taken care of and looks new, from the mound of maintenance records only regular maintenance was needed or done. We’ve since put on an additional 36,000 miles in the last 3 years and she just purrs along still looks new. However pretty as she is the build quality seems poor to me (as a contractor) built with 1×1 and staples, fortunately the engine and chassis are MBZ. I can fix most other things but it’s all minor stuff. After all we’re driving a “home” down crap roads so that’s to be expected. But yeah probably best to build your own rugged trailer, or you better be handy and stick to local campgrounds.

Elliot (@guest_261954)
20 days ago

Unfortunately, this is not unique to the RV industry. For at least the last 30 years, the consumer has become the de facto quality control department!

J B (@guest_261902)
20 days ago

I personally wouldn’t touch CW with a 100 foot pole. Fool me once…fool me twice.Or any other corporate thieves either.

Neal Davis (@guest_261876)
20 days ago

Thank you, Nanci! So many tragic stories! 🙁 It seems that it is the rare dealer who has a service department that is good. Perhaps a solution is that everyone under a factory warranty go to the factory for that work. The approval process would be brief, the labor rate would be fully covered, and the manufacturers producing shoddy products would be overwhelmed (possibly to the point that they improved the quality of their products). 🙂 Unfortunately, if the extended service contracts sold by the dealers are good only at that particular dealer, then the buyer is back in a pickle once the factory warranty expires. 🙁

Last edited 20 days ago by Neal Davis
Tommy Molnar (@guest_261905)
20 days ago
Reply to  Neal Davis

Going to the factory is a good idea, but for many RV’ers, the factory is a zillion miles away. That makes it tough to get factory repairs if it takes days to get there.

Bill Byerly (@guest_262034)
20 days ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

Agreed, it’s not practical when you’re a couple of thousand miles away from the factory.

wanderer (@guest_262003)
20 days ago
Reply to  Neal Davis

Or just admit that warrantees are worthless, and get work done by a shop that only does repairs and takes its work seriously. Keep good records in case you are stuck with a lemon with epic problems and you need to take legal action.

Rob (@guest_261863)
20 days ago

When we bought our Embassy class B, a major concern was having to drive to Elkhart for repairs. They are a small custom controlled builder not using dealers.
We shouldn’t have worried. The build quality is so good, we haven’t had issues in two years. Not only that, but Embassy helps find someone in your area to assist if needed. And talking to other owners, they don’t wait months to get their Embassy back. It’s done, often by the end of the day.
After reading the above article, seems like others have decided they have to make a trip to the manufacturer anyway just to get repairs!
Yes, it cost more, but so do cheaply made RVs… in repairs and in wasted time.

Bob (@guest_261838)
20 days ago

I took my new pickup for warranty work, overheating. The dealer said they found the problem and all should be good. Afer getting it home I noticed multiple scratches on the fenders,, grill and bumper. I called the dealer and they told me it must have been that way when I brought it in and they did not cause the damage. They had replaced the radiator which meant they were doing work over the front end where the damage was. Oh, and the problem was not fixed. I spoke with an attorney and he told me when I took it back, to take photos of the vehicle, while the service manager watched. And to document any existing damaged areas.
Proof of any further damage.

Gary W. (@guest_261978)
20 days ago
Reply to  Bob

Article is about RV dealers/repair, not auto dealers.

Dan H. (@guest_262001)
20 days ago
Reply to  Gary W.

Gary. Bob’s point was that we all need to protect ourselves regardless if it’s a rv or auto with pictures of our investments. I was in the boat business for 24 years and things happen in the service shop and when your investment is just sitting on the dealers lot. A good dealer would have stepped up and took care of his customer.

wanderer (@guest_262004)
20 days ago
Reply to  Dan H.

Yes, though it’s ridiculous you should have to take an album of photos every time you try to get a repair.

I was foolish enough to leave a rig with a dealer for weeks of delayed and half-baked fixes, once. Once was enough. Now I get an onsite tech or handyman, or go to a repair shop and remain on site while the work is done. Not leaving a major investment around for bozos to back into with forklifts.

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