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RV Service Centers and Repairs Report: Service center repairs gone wrong; rig goes up in flames

A couple of weeks ago, we asked you to tell us about your experiences with RV service centers. You came through with hundreds of responses. Thank you! My inbox is stuffed! I had expected a long list of complaints, exorbitant waiting times, and issues with low-quality work. But the number of comments about great service work and great service centers really surprised me.

In this new column, we’ll summarize some of your emails and comments. 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.

Note: Any service centers and mobile techs mentioned here are the opinions of our readers and not RVtravel.com.

Last week, we ran the first edition of this column. Now we’re back for part two. Here’s what you had to say this week:

Extend the warranty

John K. has an idea, which, if implemented, could help RVers that are watching their warranty expire as they wait for parts. He writes, “I know that RV dealers vigorously fight against ‘RV Lemon Laws.’ Perhaps another tack could be more effective. Amend current Federal Warranty laws just a little bit. For every two days an RV that’s under the manufacturer’s warranty but cannot be safely used because service and or parts are not readily available, said warranty will be extended by THREE DAYS. A relatively simple solution that will put a fire under RV builders to: 1. Get it right BEFORE it leaves the factory, and 2. For the units that do ‘slip through’ (but should have been caught had a proper inspection been done), there would now be a STRONG incentive to do right by the purchaser.”

Oops, wrong trailer!

William B. had to even ask the repair shop, “Where’s my trailer?” Yikes! He explains, “We have mostly done our own repairs to our 2011 TT, new to us in 2017. We’ve never used a mobile tech.

“In the spring of 2018, I wanted the bearings re-packed with new Timken bearings. I found a shop with relatively good Google reviews (4.2 stars, I think). They ordered the bearings and called when they arrived. I dropped off TT and two weeks later was told my TT was ready. I paid the bill and was given my old bearings while my trailer was pulled out front. The service manager walked out with me and asked what was wrong when he saw my expression. I said, ‘Where’s my trailer?’ He said, ‘Right there, he just pulled it around.’ ‘That’s a Keystone Bullet, but it’s not mine!’ They had packed and put my new bearings on someone else’s trailer. We have not been back.

“The next repair was spring of 2021, with Burton RV in Alabaster, Alabama. The issue was to diagnose an awning that would not move. I called and spoke with the service manager, Lyle. He asked a few questions about what testing we had done and said it was probably the motor and there are two types. He said, ‘I have one in stock. If that’s the part you need, it will be quick.’ If I needed to order a part it could be six months due to COVID shortages.

“We dropped off the trailer the next day. About four days later Lyle called and said it was the motor and his in-stock motor would work. I was told it would take about three weeks due to other work orders. Work was done in just under three weeks. Very pleased with Burton RV. I would pay money for an online list of RV shops with ratings. One I could use while traveling.”

Can’t trust the salesman? Don’t trust the service department

Mike M. has some words of wisdom on finding both the right dealer and the right service department. “We shopped several dealers when we bought our new travel trailer last year. The two major objectives were to find a floor plan that worked and to find a dealer we could work with. We are fortunate that we had seven dealers within 25 miles of our location.

“Our experience and research indicated that if you cannot trust the salesman, you very likely will not be able to trust what the service department tells you. We bought from a local, family-owned dealership and could not be happier. They have been fantastic through any service issues we have and they went out of their way to help us diagnose the issue and find the parts when our water heater failed while on the road. Hats off to Seven O’s in suburban Syracuse, NY.“

RVers’ worst fear

We’re heartbroken for Joan R., whose entire rig burned up. She writes, “I had my beautiful Dynamax worked on a few times from the same RV service company in AZ. I had it in for service, plus six new tires, new airbags, and new rear and side cameras with a monitor. Seven months later I finally get it back (they drove it to me due to COVID).

“My front windshield exploded due to wrong wiring (25 amp in 5 amp sockets!). Where the monitor was installed, my entire interior burned up. I had 24k miles on it and never got to drive on the new tires or shocks. Such a huge loss and never could recoup the $12,000 in work I had done…just what my insurance would pay. (Forensic adjusters couldn’t come to a definitive conclusion it was AZ RV Services’ fault!! Even though I never drove it after they worked on it!)”

Wonderful mobile techs

Bryn M. has found a mobile tech that he really likes perhaps his recommendation will help some others. “We are fortunately lucky to have a Repair Guys Mobile RV, Boat & Powersport service company. They serve I believe five locations now and they handle all those repairs that a dealer doesn’t require to have done. They make it easy to now get our RV oil changed, genny Oil, SXS oil and our boat oil all done at one service. Winterization for our RV and boat is one simple appointment plus they do great written PPI inspections on everything outdoor-toy-related. The Repair Guys I believe is based in Las Vegas but they service us up here in St. George, UT.“

Yay for Camping World!

Dawn M. had a great experience with Camping World! “We had heard to never trust Camping World, BUT, while we were getting service at Freightliner, they noticed that the support for the fresh water tank was failing. There was an RV park next door to a Camping World. We booked a month at the RV park (we were going to visit folks in the area even before we were aware of our problem). Camping World was able to take us right in, examine the issue and come up with a solution.

“We went back to the RV park and then returned to the service bay for the work when parts and such were ready. We paid for the work out of pocket and then had Camping World send the information to the manufacturer because it should have been covered by the body warranty. When Camping World was paid for the warranty work by the manufacturer, they sent us a check refunding what we had paid them in advance. I think being able to pay for the work outright helped get service quicker since there was no time spent haggling over who paid for what. We do appreciate Camping World for sending up the refund in a timely manner, too.“

Editor’s note

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

Over the next few weeks, we’ll 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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Related

10-year policy stops RVer from getting RV serviced where he bought it

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Scott
12 days ago

Yes, yes…hats off to 7 O’s in Kirkville NY (Syracuse). Great dealer, family owned

Pursuits
14 days ago

Great idea, John K! However, I would be surprised if they would be able to correctly maintain such a database…half the time they can’t even figure out my original warranty!

Bob M
15 days ago

Last fall I had my travel trailer in to repair the poorly installed patio door by Jayco. It took longer than they said. When I asked why they said they lost people due to pandemic. Which to me means new hires may not be experienced to work on RV’s.

Tommy Molnar
15 days ago

At home we rely on a mobile repair guy we’ve been using for a couple of years now. Knows his stuff, and can usually show up within a week of being called, depending on the size of the job. I won’t have anything to do with local dealers and their so-called service centers.

Here in Houston where we’re staying at an RV resort while I get some medical stuff taken care of, there are several RV guys who cycle through the park (they do a huge business, going to several RV parks). We’ve picked two who we now trust – and know what they are doing. It usually takes a couple of days (sometimes several . . .) to get them in, but we trust them fully.

robert
15 days ago

I love John K’s idea, but the RVIA will fight tooth and nail against it

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