From time to time, all RVs need repairs. Some would say there’s always a repair or maintenance item that needs attention. We’re DIY guys, so we typically avoid RV repair shops, but today we’re here to share with you seven reasons why we think you should avoid repair shops, too.
First, let’s be clear. Despite the fact that we do most of our own maintenance and repairs, there are certain mechanical/engine repairs that we always leave to the pros. But, this is different from today’s topic. Today we’re not talking about jobs that require professional mechanics. We’re talking about RV repairs – things that we can do ourselves and that we would never leave our RV in a shop entrusting someone else to do. RV repairs – not engine repairs. Just so we’re clear.
So, let’s get into our seven reasons for suggesting that sometimes it’s best to avoid RV repair shops.
- 1) RV Shops Are Overwhelmed
- 2) Shoddy Work
- 3) Some Shops Refuse to Work on RVs That Are 10+ Years Old
- 4) Missed Opportunity to Get to Know Your RV Inside & Out
- 5) Labor is Very Expensive
- 6) No One Cares About Your RV More Than You Do
- 7) Mobile Repair Services Can Save You Time and Money
- 8) What Are Your Reasons To Avoid RV Repair Shops?
RV Shops Are Overwhelmed
RV shops are overwhelmed (because everyone thinks they need a shop to repair and maintain their RVs for them). There are long wait times to get an appointment, and you never know how long the service will take.
Do you want to drop your rig off at a shop where they’ll likely keep your RV outside, exposed to weather elements and to any other “elements” that might be interested in your RV? We sure don’t.
Besides – we live in our RV. This is our home. Not only do we not have time to wait days for repairs, but we’re not all that keen on RV repair people traipsing through our home.
We saw a video recently where a couple of YouTubers left their 5th wheel at a shop for some repairs. While they waited for the shop to get to their repair, they had to stay in a hotel. They decided to do some work at the hotel, and realized that they needed something from their RV to get the work done. So, they drove over to the repair shop in their truck, and there they found people about to walk into their rig which had been left unlocked by the shop techs.
This was their HOME. Wide open for anyone to walk into, while they were a few miles away, holed up in an expensive hotel room waiting for the repair shop to fix something on their rig.
No, thanks! So – that’s reason #1. RV shops are overwhelmed, and not only will you have to wait to get your RV repaired, but goodness only knows what will happen while you’re waiting.
The second reason to avoid RV repair shops is the possibility of shoddy repair work due to rushing, difficulty getting the right parts, and an overall lack of quality whenever people are in a hurry to get rigs in and out, so that they can get more rigs in and out.
We paid a lot of money for our motorhome, and it needs to last. At nearly 20 years on the road in the same rig, you can bet we’ve paid attention to top-quality at every turn. First, we’ve done most of the maintenance and repair work ourselves, and second, we’ve turned our rig over to only top-notch professionals whenever we’ve needed professional support.
We can’t afford shoddy workmanship, and neither can you.
Some Shops Refuse to Work on RVs That Are 10+ Years Old
That’s right – there are RV repair shops that refuse to work on rigs that are more than 10 years old. We’ve read that Camping World has this policy, but this makes no sense at all. Why would an RV repair business refuse to repair an RV that’s been on the road for 10 years or more?
Take our 2005 Newmar Mountain Aire as an example. Wherever we go, people think our rig is brand new, because we’ve taken very good care of it since the day we purchased it. In fact, if we were to drive it into the lot of a Camping World right now, they would probably think it was brand new. And yet, their policy – and that of other RV repair shops – may dictate that because it’s 17 years old, they won’t work on it!
But there you have it – reason #3 to avoid RV repair shops!
Missed Opportunity to Get to Know Your RV Inside & Out
This one is very important. In fact, this may be the most important reason on our list of reasons to avoid RV repair shops.
Conducting your own RV repairs is the best way to get to know your RV so that when you have an issue, you can tend to it right away, without having to involve a repair shop. And understanding the systems of your RV is important.
If you’re on a trip and you find a leak in your rig at 8PM on a Saturday night, what would you rather do – understand your plumbing system well enough to grab your tools, do a little investigation, and grab a fitting at Home Depot and fix it? Or would you prefer to panic, throw towels around, stop using the water in the rig, pack up, drive home, and hope to find a repair shop that’ll take you next week?
When you take on DIY jobs around the rig (even minor ones), you build confidence in understanding your RV and how everything works. Little by little, DIY job after DIY job, you get to know it better and better. The next thing you know, you’re taking on some fairly substantial maintenance tasks and helping the people next door to you at the campground!
So – reason #4 to avoid RV repair shops is that it’ll force you to get to know your RV.
Labor is Very Expensive
Another reason to avoid RV repair shops is money! Labor rates for RV repair average between $150 and $170 per hour (national average). So, even the simplest of repairs can cost you hundreds of dollars!
If you’ve got a fairly simple maintenance or repair job to do and it requires items that cost 30 bucks or so but the job requires about three hours to complete, sure you spent some time (and your time is worth a lot),but you also got to know your rig a little better. You guaranteed a job well done as opposed to a potentially shoddy job, you did the job at your convenience and on your terms, and you also saved yourself somewhere around $500. That’s a lot of gas money!
No One Cares About Your RV More Than You Do
Reason #6 to avoid RV repair shops is that no one cares more about your RV than you do.
This is your home-on-wheels, after all. It’s either your temporary home or it’s your full-time home. You paid a lot of money for it, and you want it to last. You know that no one will take care of it like you will. If you ever sell it, you’ll want the best return on it that’s possible.
We have a 17-year-old rig that looks and performs like new, because we’ve taken care of it ourselves to every degree possible.
Mobile Repair Services Can Save You Time and Money
When you do need the help of a professional repair service, if you’re in a location where you can access your trusted professionals, that’s great. We, too, have certain RV maintenance and repair tasks that we leave to the pros, as you may have seen in our post entitled, “RV Maintenance and Repair – Who Do The RVgeeks Call?”
But if you’re out on the road and need RV repair, it may be better to call a mobile repair service. Sure, it may not be cheap, but the alternative is to find a shop and wait to fit into their schedule, spending more time and more money waiting, possibly staying in a hotel, and leaving your rig at their shop.
With a mobile repair service, they’ll come to you, do the job, and leave – all while you stay right in your rig, right where you are.
Here’s a link to our post on “Where to Find Mobile RV Repair Near You”, just in case you ever need the information.
Meanwhile, here are 7 RV Maintenance Tasks You Can Easily Do Yourself to get you started as your own RV’s technician so you, too, can begin to avoid RV repair shops!
What Are Your Reasons To Avoid RV Repair Shops?
There, we’ve outlined our 7 reasons for avoiding taking your RV into the shop for repairs, but we’d love to hear from you. What reason(s) do YOU have for avoiding the repair shop? Leave a comment down below and let us know!
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Tuesday 7th of February 2023
Just the other day I was thinking, Where would I be without your videos, and extremely helpful Posts? I Feel luckier than most because I have a '05 MADP 4304. I have gone to school on your help on almost every DIY item I've done. Thank you very much.
Wish I could keep up with you on the computer stuff, but that's on me.
Wednesday 8th of February 2023
Thanks so much, Don! Super nice to hear... and great taste in motorhome! 😉😉
Sunday 13th of February 2022
My friends that make fun of me for changing my own oil cannot change a flat, while I rarely need professional help with cars, the RV or the house. Who cares as much as you about your expensive possessions or about conserving your hard earned money?
Sunday 13th of February 2022
Totally agree Augie... NO ONE cares as much about your equipment as you do!
Friday 11th of February 2022
We've had two trailers & two motorhomes in our 17 years of RVing. Despite being quite middle class, I don't see how we could have afforded to do it if I didn't do 90% of the repairs myself. One is always either fixing something that broke, or proactively addressing something before it breaks.
And, on one memorable occasion, being handy saved a trip - the whole house filter housing completely split during the night, rendering our plumbing useless. I was able to go to Home Depot, buy pex, fittings, and tools and put in a temporary bypass.
YouTube, Google, forums like iRV2, and folks like you guys are what make hands-on ownership possible.
Thanks for your posts!
Friday 11th of February 2022
We are in the same boat.... er... RV, Steve! We're just ordinary middle-class guys as well, and fixing things ourselves makes RVing viable for us. BTW... nice work on the plumbing! And thanks so much for your kind words.
Tuesday 8th of February 2022
I bought my still-pristine 2002 Monaco Diplomat in 2017 only after I had read a lot of your posts. You made me comfortable with doing my own service and repair. I can handle all but any major engine and transmission work by using your tips snd referrals. I avoid dealerships and RV sales/service shops because I've seen first-hand the poor security, quality and the high wait and cost incurred. Thank you both for being my go-to trusted friends.
Wednesday 9th of February 2022
Sounds like you have an awesome rig, and a real comfort level with managing it, Scott. Thanks so much for your kind words. It’s always great to hear we’ve been helpful. Safe travels - Peter & John
THOMAS E YOUNG
Tuesday 8th of February 2022
The technicians can’t hit their ass with both hands at the same time! They do more harm than good! Their management isn’t any smarter!
Real Craftsman are almost non existent.