Instead of Using RV Dealerships for Repairs, Use Mobile Repair Service

If you’ve owned an RV trailer or Motor Home for a while, your knees probably knock together and you wipe away nervous sweat from your brow as you begin having visions of negative balances in your bank account when your vehicle needs repairs.

Fremont Street Experience
Me at Fremont Experience in Las Vegas.

 

 

Even if you have a warranty it still means days or weeks of waiting to get it repaired if you take it to an RV dealership. More and more people are living full time in a Recreational Vehicle or Motor Home than ever before.

According to a recent report from the RV Industry Association, “The surge of interest and sales in RVs was substantial in 2017. Shipments were up more than 17 percent in 2017 marking its eighth consecutive year of market growth.”

As a full time RVer living in a motor home, I run into people all the time who are living full time in their RVs. The lucky ones were smart enough to have worked somewhere for 30 years, got a good pension and are able to move about the country seeing the sites. But not every one had so much foresight.

Other full time RVers work in construction and they move with the job. They may stay a few weeks at a campground or several months, depending on the length of time of the construction job.

My experience with taking my Motor Home into a dealership for repair work has not been a good one. If you only use your RV for a few weeks out of the year, then you can afford to wait a few weeks to a month or more for your service. But if you’re living in it full time, it means staying in a hotel, removing most of your perishables, clothes, electronics you may need and other items while you wait for the dealership to repair your home.

The longest I waited was two weeks for a repair, and that was a rush job. We stayed in a hotel the whole time. So on top of the high cost of repairs you have a hotel bill to deal with.

However, if you’re lucky enough to have a knowledgeable mobile RV repair facility in your area, you can avoid many of these problems.

I recently had to have my basement air conditioning/heating system repaired. I had tried to get it worked on near the beginning of the year, but no one would work on it – no dealership in the area and not the one mobile RV business I called.

The reason: it’s a basement air conditioning/heating unit. Manufacturers quit making them for awhile in favor of using roof top air conditioning units. Parts are hard to get . . . yadda, yadda, yadda.

My AC was not working at peak efficiency, but I didn’t know why. It only cooled a little. I went to YouTube to see how others handled basement AC repairs and found very little information. I’m not technical and I’ve had more than one occasion where I dived into a project, just trying to wing it and wound up in a deeper problem.

I ended up moving away to an area farther south. One day I noticed a mobile RV truck repairing someone’s 5th wheel. I went over and asked if they worked on basement air conditioning systems.

You could have knocked me over with a feather when the technician said, ‘We work on everything.”

“Basement air condition systems?” I said in disbelief.

He said he did. He didn’t work on as many as he used to, but it would be no problem to work on mine. And it could be done right in the park where I was staying. (Picture the clouds parting, the sun beaming through and the Hallelujah Chorus being sung by Angels in the background.)

Just to give you a little prior information, about two months before meeting the technician, who by the way was from Lacey’s RV Services and Parts out of Westville, FL., my AC unit was only half working. I woke up about 4 in the morning to an ozone smell in the air, an electrical burning odor. I could hear something mechanical underneath trying to cycle on and off.

Immediately I turned off the AC unit. I didn’t know what to do. One RV repair shop I had called earlier, and which I had used for repairs before, suggested I get rid of the basement unit and install two roof top AC/heating units.

What I did instead was to buy a window AC unit and stick it in a sliding window – kind of difficult since the units are made for windows that raise up and down. I couldn’t plug it into the motor home because it kept tripping the circuit breakers. The park owner suggested I just plug it into his power pole where I hooked up the shore power.

I didn’t really look at the power pole before but there were two three-prong receptacles there. Problem solved.

When the first cold snap hit and I couldn’t use my basement heating unit, I called Lacey’s and they would send someone out the next day. Two technicians arrived. They opened the access for, pulled off a panel, and immediately saw that the circuit board had some melted wires and burned relays.

It looked like a bowl of spaghetti with all the wires, but I could see exactly what he was talking about. This was on a Friday. They said the parts would probably come in on Monday and they would come back out. I wasn’t available to see them until Wednesday.

This time one of them came alone, installed the new circuit board and relays. It took about an hour and this guy pulled out wires and put in new ones, all the time giving a running commentary about Winnebago having their own wiring system and that you couldn’t go by the color of the wires.

He was pulling them out and putting new ones back in like a mad scientist working on a positronic brain he had just invented. Afterward, he stuck on a new wiring diagram on the panel over the old diagram, so any new technician could see what he had done.

The AC and heat now work perfectly. I was happy with the cost and it was the least pricey of my repairs thus far and well worth the cost.

My point is, mobile RV repair services can be a life saver if you need immediate repairs. Just make sure you find out if they can repair your problem, how much they charge for a service call and how much per hour.

Okay, so next time maybe I’ll tell you how I discovered the cause of my new hot water heater not working. And, no, it wasn’t the circuit breakers.

Grab This RV Check List To Guide You in Purchasing An RV or Motorhome

San Francisco Bay in the background.

Okay, by now you’ve read through my sad tale of buying my Winnebago Journey Motor home and, hopefully, you’ve stopped laughing and wondering how someone could be so daft.

I’ve made up a form that I wish I had when looking for an RV.  Print it out and keep it in your glove box of you car. Keep in mind, I wasn’t going to buy a motor home. My wife and I were just looking.

 

Here’s the link:  RVCheckListForm