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:
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.
“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!”
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 Service Centers and Repairs Report: