Tuesday, November 28, 2023


Wife wants to hire RV mechanic but hubby is a die-hard DIYer

RV Shrink

Dear RV Shrink:
My husband thinks he’s a bona fide RV mechanic. He’ll work on a problem until he’s probably spent more money than having a qualified RV mechanic do the job. He refuses to have anyone work on our rig until he has exhausted all of his possible do-it-yourself fixes. He has a one-track mind, so whenever he is on a mission to fix something I’ve lost him completely until it gets solved.

He is always online looking for advice, tricks of the trade and cheap fixes. Wouldn’t it be wiser to just have a mechanic repair our rig? Wouldn’t it be cheaper in the long run, not to mention less hassle and headache? —Cheap Tricks in Toledo

Dear Tricks:
Some people want to be a rock star and others an RV mechanic. I think your husband is on the right track. Even if it ends up costing him more money to completely solve a problem, he has educated himself for future situations.

Online advice is priceless. There is hardly a subject not covered. We all experience the same mechanical problems sooner or later. You will find people online describing your precise issue, how to fix it and what parts you will need. I find it amazing.

Your husband’s laser focus can be looked at in another way. During the time you lose his attention, you could be stuck in a motel, waiting for a service technician to call and tell you they finally figured out your problem. Some of these people have to think about it for as long as your husband and try as many parts and solutions. The only difference is, they have the meter running at more than $100 bucks an hour.

Many RV problems come down to plug-and-play electronic boards in current models. You can often find great troubleshooting help from aftermarket board companies online.

Your husband is building experience that will pay off handsomely in the future. You should be happy and encourage him. A lot of women who used to go for handsome are now looking for handy. You had better keep a close eye on him. —Keep Smilin’, Richard Mallery a.k.a. Dr. R.V. Shrink

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Bill Massicotte (@guest_39811)
4 years ago

I think you gave her very good advice. I am a DIY-er myself and more out of necessity do I research and eventually repair my problem. I sometimes find the fix in a dream after researching the problem.
I have saved thousands of dollars fixing my RV and repairs around the house. I plan to continue until I can’t.
Bill Massicotte

Thomas Becher (@guest_39611)
4 years ago

I’ve always done my own work. Had to. Always told ” we Don t work on motorhomes, ” except at Rv dealers where it took weeks to get an appointment. Easier to do it myself and know that it was done right. My hourly rate was a can of coke. Sure, sometimes it took longer than a professional but it got done. In 20 plus years I maintained my class c until I bought a fifth wheel. Then my experience helped to maintain a real piece trouble.

Primo Rudy's Roadhouse (@guest_39544)
4 years ago

I agree with you about better off trying to fix than hire someone. I am an avid DIY’er and life long learner. My RV (or previous) has never been in the shop except for tire replacement. Maintenance is easy, you just have to do it. Trouble shooting broken systems can be more tricky. Methodical trouble shooting skills help a lot. Another help is that my RV is relatively simple with out auto level and such. I have fixed an inoperative fuel gauge on my fuel tank, stalling gen-set and a water heater limit switch. The out come is quite rewarding and the money I saved can be used to buy more camping/RV stuff.

Wolfe (@guest_39489)
4 years ago

If you think hubby is doing poor repairs, that’s a different issue. If its fixed right, be grateful.

If you think DIY costs more, reverse that by several orders of magnitude. Dealers charge thousands for things an hour of research and $5 parts would fix. When his power died, my buddy was charged $200 diagnostic and quoted for a new inverter — I changed a blown fuse and all was perfect. I changed another guy’s burnt out $5 jack switch instead of replacing the entire premium price tongue jack. Replaced a converter for 25% dealer quote. You get the idea.

Being educated and capable helps avoid scheissters even if you don’t choose to fix it yourself.

John Koenig (@guest_39486)
4 years ago

What happens when you’re paying $125/hour for a “profession Service Technician” and, they’re either clueless or, find what they think is the problem but, don’t have the necessary part and, CAN’T get it? I was back (again) at the Dynamax factory last summer. The FACTORY cries “We don’t have the part and, it will take a least six weeks (and VERY possibly longer) to GET the part (a residential refrigerator that I was willing to pay for!). Heck, MANY big box stores can deliver a refrigerator in 2~4 DAYS. The factories simply DON”T want to be involved once their poorly built Rvs have left the factory. LCI (Lippert Components Inc) doesn’t help either. LCI is the 800 pound gorilla in the RV parts business. The two occasions I called them, they were of NO help. The business geniuses of today preach having a parts inventory is business heresy. NOBODY in the RV industries want to have parts IN STOCK that a customer is likely to need down the road. Our expensive RVs can be put out of service from the lack of what should be a basic part. Truly a sad situation.

Meanwhile, for the original poster; perhaps while her hubby is happily toiling away, she could treat herself to a “spa day” to help her relax. Then come back and thank her hubby for working so hard (and maybe provide some “personal services” for him). Just a thought 😉

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