RV Miles is the top destination for RV and camping news, podcasts, National Park updates, recipes, gear, and so much more.
RV repairs have you fed up? Has your RV been in the shop for 3 months or longer? Your dealer may be lying to you about why.
What’s Going on with RV Repairs?
RV service has become a major problem over the last several years. As RV manufacturing has boomed, the number of RV repair facilities and RV technicians hasn’t. Couple that with parts shortages and shipping delays, and you’ve got a recipe for some very angry customers trying to get a simple warranty repair done on their RV.
It’s even more frustrating when you have a 1-year warranty on your RV and end up missing an entire camping season because your brand new trailer has a bent axle or a dead water pump. With all of those RVs waiting to get repaired, dealers have to triage them somehow. Some offer appointments first to those who bought from them – which is why it’s important to buy from a reputable dealer.
Others might prioritize easier jobs, or jobs that have an obvious solution and don’t have to be diagnosed. Or maybe they prioritize jobs that pay the most.
Sometimes, with the more nefarious dealers, that means they’re going to lie to you. And usually, they’re going to blame someone else — the manufacturer.
It usually goes something like this: You make an appointment with a dealership to repair a leak under your shower. Besides needing the leak fixed, there’s been some water damage to the trim on your vanity. Your appointment is already 6 weeks out if you are lucky. You drop it off and it’s two more weeks before they’ve diagnosed the problem. They opened up the shower and need to get authorization from the manufacturer for the warranty repair. Two more weeks go by before that happens, and they replace the leaky fitting. But now they need to order the replacement trim pieces, and they can’t close the shower back up until the trim is in place.
Another few weeks go by and you call and check-in. They tell you the trim still hasn’t arrived from the manufacturer. You wait longer. You call again. Still no trim. Now you start harping on them every other day – and finally, get frustrated enough to call the manufacturer. Two days later, your trim shows up, and you’re buttoned up and on your way.
The manufacturer rep didn’t want to throw the dealer under the bus, so they didn’t tell you that the trim was actually never ordered.
I’ve talked to several manufacturer representatives who have described exactly this problem. I’ve talked to many customers who have caught their dealer in the act. Sometimes they’re waiting to get several parts together from the same manufacturer to save on shipping. Maybe they just didn’t want to do your job until things slowed down. Or maybe they just kept forgetting because they’re disorganized.
Whatever the reason — It happens All. The. Time.
Not All Dealers Delay RV Repairs
Now, there are lots of really great, reputable dealers out there. This is not about them. This is about the ones who don’t care about their customers and are completely willing to lie to their faces.
And the dealers aren’t always to blame. Sometimes they’re being straightforward – that manufacturer really hasn’t sent the part. Or that part just isn’t available — that’s really common right now.
And some manufacturers are much more difficult to get warranty approval from than others. Manufacturers are willing to pay much less for warranty repairs than dealers would make directly from a consumer, so some dealers are just bound to deprioritize that low-paying work.
But none of that is a reason to be lied to.
For the vast majority of repairs, we find it easier to deal with mobile techs. Even if you are under warranty and have to pay for it out of pocket. Even if their hourly rate is much higher than a shop, they’re likely to get the work done much faster.
What Can You Do?
So if you do need to go to a dealer for a repair, how can you make sure you aren’t getting the run-around? You can and should work directly with the manufacturer. Especially if it’s just a real simple part you want to deal with yourself, sometimes you can avoid going to a dealer altogether. Manufacturers’ reps can also connect you with a dealer they have a good relationship, and they can keep you posted on communications they’ve had with the dealer. If a dealer says a part has been ordered, call the manufacturer right away and make sure it happened.
And if that manufacturer is the one causing the problem, they’re more likely to speed things up with you involved. If the dealer says the manufacturer won’t cover warranty repair, call your manufacturer and find out why.
Unfortunately, in a time when RV ownership is on the rise, RV service centers don’t have to be very customer forward. You’ve got to take things into your own hands.
Have you had an issue with a dealer or manufacturer lying to you about repairs? We’d like to hear about it in the comments.