How do we decide which RV maintenance tasks we’ll do ourselves and which we leave to the pros, and how much does service cost? And what was the potential fire hazard that First Truck Centre uncovered in our last video!?

Despite the moniker, “DIY RVer” doesn’t mean we perform every item on our maintenance list ourselves. There are so many things to consider, and just about every decision involves more than just price.

In this video, we follow up on our recent visit to First Truck Centre in Abbotsford, BC, Canada by explaining how and why we decide whether to do things ourselves. If it surprises you to learn that RVers who consider themselves DIYers would pay a shop to do something seemingly as basic as an oil change, watch the video to see exactly why!

Since we get lots of questions about pricing, we’ve included details below. Before you look at the cost to replace the air dryer desiccant canister and ask “Why would anyone ever have that done at a shop?” check out the video for a discussion about quality-of-life considerations and see why things aren’t always quite so cut and dry.

While one of the primary reasons we perform any of our own maintenance or repairs is to save money, it’s not the only consideration. So while there are times we do things ourselves, we sometimes decide not to. As mentioned in the video, those sorts of personal budget choices are something we each have to figure out for ourselves.

Following is a breakdown of the jobs we had performed at our recent maintenance visit to First Truck Centre (just click on one to expand it for more detail). Prices are listed in both Canadian dollars and US dollars, using the approximate conversion rate applicable at the time of our visit ($1.00 US = $1.25 CAD).


Motorhome Lube Service (LOF or ‘Lube/Oil/Filter’):

This service included:

  • Changing the engine oil
  • Replacing the oil filter
  • Replacing the fuel/water separator
  • Replacing the 2-micron fuel filter
  • Checking belts & tensioners
  • Lubing the chassis
Motorhome Lube Service Costs
$CAD $US
Parts $230.97 $184.78
Labor $299.00 $239.20
Sub-Total $529.97 $423.98


Coolant Flush & Replace:

Flushing the coolant, while not a difficult task, does require catching, handling and disposing of a lot of liquid, so we opted to have this done at a service facility.
Coolant Flush & Replace Costs
$CAD $US
Parts $183.70 $146.96
Labor $217.50 $174.00
Sub-Total $401.20 $320.96


Air Dryer Desiccant Cartridge:

While this seems like an item we would always handle ourselves, watch the video to see why we had it done at a shop this particular time.
Air Dryer Desiccant Replacement Costs
$CAD $US
Parts $75.79 $60.63
Labor $72.50 $58.00
Sub-Total $148.29 $118.63


CAC Clamp Torquing:

This task is not especially complex to perform. But it’s inexpensive, and extremely important, so we had it done by a pro.
Torquing CAC Clamps Costs
$CAD $US
Parts $0.00 $0.00
Labor $72.50 $58.00
Sub-Total $72.50 $58.00


Ride Height Adjustment:

With a copy of the specs from your chassis manufacturer, this seems like an easy item to tackle yourself. But the ramifications of an incorrect adjustment can be dire… and expensive. As you’ll see in the video, it’s more than just the adjustment itself. A professional tech’s ability to spot hidden problems make this job worth having expert eyes on it.
Ride Height Adjustment Costs
$CAD $US
Parts $17.87 $14.30
Labor $319.00 $255.20
Sub-Total $336.87 $269.50


Tag Axle Wheel Seal:

Spotting a leak is a prime example of the benefits of having a professional inspection. First Truck Centre caught our leaking wheel seal on our passenger-side tag axle early, preventing it from leaving us with a more expensive repair… or stranded on the side of the road… or homeless!
Tag Axle Wheel Seal Replacement Costs
$CAD $US
Parts $51.30 $41.04
Labor $290.00 $232.20
Sub-Total $341.30 $273.04


TOTAL COST SUMMARY:

Keep in mind that this list only includes items that were due at this particular service stop. As mentioned in the video, other items (such as transmission and hydraulic system service) were not due this year. We’ll try to cover those in a future video.
Summary of Costs
$CAD $US
All Scheduled Maintenance $1,488.83 $1,191.06
Repair Leaking Wheel Seal $341.30 $273.04
Miscellaneous Shop Supplies $120.70 $96.56
Sales Tax (PST & GST) $234.10 $187.28
GRAND TOTAL $2,184.93 $1,747,94


As we mentioned in the video, we’re including a link (below) to a copy of the spreadsheet we use for tracking the schedule for our chassis maintenance. We’re linking to a ZIP file that contains three versions: Microsoft Excel, Apple Numbers, and a PDF… so you can use the format that works best for you.

Of course, the schedule included in our spreadsheet is appropriate for our chassis. We compiled our list from the recommended service intervals listed in the owner’s manuals for all of our chassis components. Be sure to review your manuals and make the necessary changes to ensure you are maintaining your RV’s chassis properly.

Even though every RVer’s situation is different, we hope you find this overview of our chassis maintenance service decisions and costs to be helpful.


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