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Why Does RV Service Take Forever?

Why Does RV Service 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.

What Is RV Service?

RVs, like standard passenger cars, require routine and sometimes non-routine servicing. RV service typically requires owners to take their vehicles to a specialized RV repair shop or RV mobile service tech.

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. It can be a rather tedious and lengthy process to have your RV serviced. 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 repairing RV
RV servicing can be a tedious and lengthy process!

Sourcing Correct RV Parts

While RV service centers can do the repairs, they likely won’t have the parts on hand. Depending on the job, this may require them to acquire the parts directly from the manufacturer. This will often require the suppliers to ship the parts through the mail. This 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 to begin 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.

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.

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. These items manufacturers source from a supplier, who also warranty 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. Not all companies are fast or responsive. Once they approve your claim, you still have to wait for items to ship. This can be an incredibly frustrating process if you want things done quickly.

How Long Does It Take to Service an RV?

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.

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 camping season to have any repairs done to avoid missing out. 

Full-time RVers don’t always get that luxury, and it requires a bit more planning. 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.

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

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.

Man repair inside of RV.
You can always try to service your RV yourself.

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 Mortons on the Move

Tom & Caitlin Morton of Mortons on the Move gave up the stationary life for one where they are constantly on the move. They are full-time travelers, television hosts, and digital media producers.
They left their jobs, sold their house and possessions, and hit the road in September 2015 in their full-time “home on wheels”. Since then they have traveled the US, Canada, and even internationally by RV.
Now, they are Discovery Channel & PBS TV Co-stars of The RVers, producers of “Go North” on Amazon Prime, co-founders and instructors of RV Masterclass, and contributing authors for Hwy.co and an Arizona travel guide.

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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

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