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Why Does RV Service Still Take Forever?

Things are bound to break or fail the more your RV bounces down the highway. Whether you like it or not, RV service is a part of owning a mobile home. However, getting things fixed or repaired can be time-consuming and extremely frustrating. So why does RV service take forever? Let’s take a closer look.

rv service takes so long

How RV Repairs and Maintenance Happen

RVs, like standard passenger cars, require routine and sometimes non-routine servicing. While some RV owners feel comfortable performing these tasks themselves, many rely on specialized RV repair shops or RV mobile service techs.

Many RV dealerships have service departments to help customers with maintenance. While many people prefer to do their own repairs, some tasks require professionals. Service centers often have close relationships with manufacturers and suppliers to acquire specific parts promptly.

Breakdowns and repairs while on the road | Mondays with the Mortons S2E5

Why Does RV Service Take So Long?

When it comes to RVs, nothing moves fast, including RV service. Having your RV serviced can be rather tedious and lengthy. Let’s learn why.

Warranty and/or Insurance Approval

Servicing can take longer if you need work covered by a warranty or an insurance claim. The service department will first assess the situation and report it to the appropriate parties for approval when you have work done.  

Ideally, the service center would hear back from the claim and get to work immediately. However, others may not be in quite the same rush as you are to get the work done. Service centers typically do not begin any work until they receive approval from warranty or insurance providers.

Sometimes these approvals can take days or even weeks to get all parties on the same page. Generally speaking, the more points of contact the longer the wait. Also, if it is not clear if something is covered via warranty or insurance, there may be more back and forth.

Man fixing tire on RV
Depending on what parts are necessary to repair your RV, it might take a while for it to be fixed.

Sourcing Correct RV Parts

While RV service centers can do the repairs, they likely won’t have all of the parts on hand. Depending on the job, this may require them to acquire the parts directly from the manufacturer. Suppliers often ship the parts through the mail, which can add a tremendous amount of time and frustration to your repair, especially if you expect a quick fix.

Additionally, you may encounter part and supply shortages. Ports for shipping containers can experience delays or backups, adding a significant amount of time to your repair. Some people report having to wait months for parts to arrive before beginning the work on their RV.

Pro Tip: Don’t know where to go for help with your RV? We compared Mobile RV Repair Service vs. RV Service Centers: Which Is Better?

Communication Delays

Things can get messy whenever you deal with multiple parties and rely on clear and quick communication. You may need to deal with service advisors, service techs, warranty companies, manufacturers, and insurance companies. 

A single miscommunication between anyone involved can lead to exceptionally long delays in the process. When you factor in weekends, holidays, and vacations, it can seem like getting minor services done on your RV is nothing short of a miracle.

Why Does Warranty Service Take So Long?

Like a house, warranties for appliances and other items typically don’t fall under the manufacturer. So while you may want to reach out to the RV manufacturer, they may not help much in all circumstances. This may mean you need to reach out to the manufacturer of the appliance or piece of equipment instead.

These instances may include faulty water heaters, axles, or even microwaves. Manufacturers source these items from a supplier who also warrants them. While your RV manufacturer may have excellent customer service, they can’t always provide what you need.

Any claims you file with a supplier can add significant amounts of time to the process. And not all companies are fast or responsive. Once they approve your claim, you will still have to wait for the items to ship. This can be an incredibly frustrating process if you want things done quickly.

Furthermore, extended warranty companies may need to get involved if you purchase a warranty extension.

major RV repair slide
A major repair like this can take a long time.

How Long Does It Take to Service an RV?

If your RV needs a significant repair, it can sit at the shop for weeks or even months. As a result, many recreational RVers will wait until the end of the camping season to have any repairs done to avoid missing out. 

Exactly how long an RV service takes will vary on several factors. If you need a routine touch-up and the service center has everything on hand, you likely won’t experience much delay. The best-case scenario is that you’re in and out in a few hours or a day. However, that’s not always the case. Some people will bring their RV in for diagnosis but not drop it off until parts arrive. 

It’s important to note that shortages in staffing, increased business, communication errors, and shortages on parts can all cause delays. While the service center may expect a repair to take a week, it can quickly turn into several weeks or even months. It’s important to understand that service centers can only control so much.

This is ultimately why we and so many RVers eventually turn to the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) route. Caitlin and I have been performing our own RV service and repairs for years. It’s also very important to keep up on maintenance to catch problems before they become problems.

Pro Tip: Here are the most critical maintenance items to help your RV last a lifetime.

tom morton and caitlin morton of mortons on the move diy rv service
You can always try to service your RV yourself.

How Often Should You Service Your RV?

Many RV manufacturers require regular servicing of your RV to maintain warranties or other coverages. You must know your unique situation and the requirements for any warranties you might have. While some parts can get by with an annual inspection, other essential components require regular maintenance.

Many RV manufacturers include maintenance checklists or schedules as a part of the owner’s documentation. This can help keep your service records organized and up to date. By staying on top of your maintenance, you can avoid a much larger servicing down the road.

Pro Tip: Going to try to DIY and fix your RV independently? Make sure you have these 21 Electrical Tools Every RVer Needs.

How Much Does It Cost to Get an RV Serviced?

Rates for RV service will vary from shop to shop and often geographically. A typical shop hourly rate will range from $125 to $225 per hour. However, the price will also include parts when you have your RV serviced. The final price is a combination of parts and labor, plus any applicable taxes or fees.

Can You Do Your Own RV Service?

If you don’t want to wait around, you can service your RV yourself. Take into account your skills and abilities. You don’t want to bite off more than you can chew because this typically just adds to the cost if you do end up requiring a professional. 

You also want to check your warranties or other coverages and confirm a DIY repair won’t void them. Some warranties may require approved or certified facilities to complete the work. Any work done by an unapproved person or facility could cause some severe consequences if you have to file a warranty claim down the road.

Fixing our Leaking Sinking Hydraulic Landing Gear on our Fifthwheel in a Walmart parking lot!

Is It Time for Routine Service?

One of the best ways to keep your RV on the road is by having your RV serviced regularly. While it can be a tedious and frustrating process, it’s often a necessary evil when it comes to RVing. Remember to have patience and understand that some things are out of your hands and the RV service center’s.

We would love to see more RV manufacturer and RV parts supplier accountability for warranty work and repairs to be done swiftly. RV service centers and techs must continue to innovate to improve this process for their businesses and their customers.

What has been the longest you’ve had to wait during an RV repair? Drop a comment below!

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About Tom Morton

Tom, a Pacific Northwest native, is our technical genius. Born in Washington and raised in Alaska before settling in Michigan. He's the man who keeps our operation running, both figuratively and literally.

With a background in Electrical Engineering, Tom specializes in RV solar systems and lithium batteries. He made history as the first documented individual to use a Tesla battery module as an RV battery. Tom has personally assisted countless RVers with system installations and has educated thousands more through his videos and articles.

Cinematography is another of Tom's passions, showcased in his work on the Go North series. You can see his camera skills on display in The RVers TV show on Discovery Channel and PBS where he also stars as a co-host.

Tom's mechanical expertise extends beyond RVs to boats, planes, and all things mechanical. He's renowned for taking on maintenance and repair projects single-handedly and is often spotted underneath RVs, making him the technical backbone of our endeavors.

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Mark

Friday 15th of March 2024

A number of dealers are trying out what can only be described as Concierge Service. Basically, "Pay us $X thousand a year for the privilege of being able to call us to try to help over the phone while getting a priority slot in line if you have to bring your rig in; we may even diagnose and order parts before you show up."

I have mixed feelings on this. Basically it says if you have enough $ to pay a dealer up front for a subscription (just in case something happens), then they might treat you better than they do today...

Best, -Mark

Greg Luettke

Thursday 30th of December 2021

This year our grand design Solitude needed a new floor under the kitchen/living room slide (some of the undercoating had pealed off sliding over a roller). We waited two months for our appointment, but they did the work in two days at the Mfg. plant in Indiana, and replaced the convection M W (fan blower had quit) all at no cost! I now have a great admiration for G. D. Greg