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Cue the theme from Ghostbusters because today we’re addressing a question we get asked a lot – when The RVgeeks need RV maintenance and repair, who we gonna call?
We take incredibly good care of our RV. After all, it’s our home, our office, and our travel vehicle. We, and pretty much everything we own, move down busy highways and over rural terrain in this rig. We live our lives and earn our living in this rig. We’ve got a lot invested here. Plus, we’re just about as particular as they come about RV maintenance and repair, as well as performance standards. So, frankly, we don’t turn our rig over to anyone easily.
Our motorhome is a 2005 Newmar Mountain Aire, a 43-foot diesel pusher we bought brand new when we realized after a couple of years on the road that we wanted to continue to live and travel in an RV.
We’ve been on the road full time for nearly two decades now, and this is only our second rig in all those years. At almost 17 years old, our Mountain Aire looks and performs almost as though it was brand new. And that’s due to the care we take in maintaining our RV and keeping it in good repair at all times.
As we’ve noted in posts and videos over many years, although we’re RV geeks because we do most of our own maintenance and repairs, we don’t do it all. There are some things we leave to the pros. But, who do The RVgeeks turn our home, office, and travel vehicle over to when we feel professional attention is due? That’s the question we’re tackling today. Let’s get to it.
Do RVs Need a Lot of Maintenance?
Anyone who has ever owned an RV knows that a “house” you drive down the road, over hill and dale, through puddles and potholes, along the ocean, and up mountains requires quite of bit of maintenance to keep running smoothly.
But here’s the thing:
If you’ve lived in a sticks & bricks house, you know that there are always things that require maintenance or repair, despite the fact that it stands still in one place forever. It’s the nature of the beast. You’ve got appliances and plumbing and a roof and a basement and an entire electrical “grid” to deal with. All those things require maintenance, and any number of things can go wrong.
The same is true for an RV of any kind. You’ve got axles, tires, cabinetry, electrical, and plumbing systems. And on a motorhome, there’s the engine, transmission, exhaust system, and more. To keep that vehicle in good shape, you’ve got to tend to regular maintenance, and you’ve got to address repairs when they arise.
So, the answer is yes – RVs do require maintenance, but no more than your sticks & bricks house and vehicles combined (which makes sense, since an RV really is a vehicle and a house in one). Is it different? A little bit – you don’t drive your sticks & bricks down the road. But the basic concept remains the same. An RV – essentially a small house on wheels – requires quite a bit of maintenance.
What Maintenance Does an RV Need?
RV maintenance and repairs include everything we mentioned above and more. You’ve got an entire plumbing system, appliances, an electrical system, possibly including a generator – everything you’ve got in a house, and more. And for motorhomes, you’ve also got a big vehicle with an engine, transmission, axles, exhaust, and some relatively complex mechanical features.
The way we look at it is that good maintenance is key to the prevention of major repairs. We do our best to maintain the good health of our RV in hopes of preventing repairs that might be very costly, but also have the potential to kick us out of our home and office for a period of time.
So, regular maintenance – much of which we do ourselves but some of which we leave to the pros – is the key to the continued health of our travel vehicle, our home, our office, our wallets, and our sanity!
How Often Should You Service Your RV?
Our best answer to this question is “regularly” but let’s break that down a bit.
Routine maintenance tasks are more important than you might think, and being diligent about tackling them on a regular basis is essential to keeping your rig in good shape.
We handle many routine maintenance tasks ourselves, but there are some projects we steer clear of for various reasons. There are many benefits to having a skilled technician take care of certain routine maintenance tasks. For example, dealing with large amounts of oil is not something we’re interested in or equipped to handle.
More importantly, though, there are some aspects of RV service that require specialized tools and equipment (including a really big lift!), and there are also many tasks that require special training and skills. These are the things we leave to the pros.
Perhaps the most important benefit of professional RV service is getting those specially trained eyes on our RV, especially in places where we wouldn’t even know to look or we couldn’t look because our access is limited with our wheels on the ground.
So, after nearly two decades in an RV full time, our best answer to questions related to how often you should service your RV is regularly, because you’ve gotta get some highly trained eyes in every nook and cranny to make sure you’re safe as you drive your rig down the road. That’s the bottom line.
Where Do The RVgeeks Take Their RV for Regular Maintenance?
This one we can answer in a single word: Cummins.
We’ve entrusted our rig to Cummins Coach Care locations more than any other shop, and we’ve never been disappointed. But how and why did we choose Cummins in the first place?
Well – in all the years we’ve been on the road, both of our motorhomes have been powered by Cummins engines. So, initially, we decided to entrust our rig to our engine’s manufacturer for what we hoped would be optimal care. Turns out it was one of the best decisions we’ve ever made.
We trust Cummins with our rig, but now we have many more reasons for our conviction and our loyalty. They’ve never let us down in nearly two decades. That’s a lot of experience over time. More importantly, though, they’ve found and expertly addressed issues we’d never have known about on our own.
Remember now – we’re driving over 19 tons down the road, and towing an SUV to boot. What’s your safety worth? Ours is worth a trip to Cummins Coach Care.
Over nearly two decades, we’ve taken our motorhome to a Cummins service center for regular RV maintenance and repairs we don’t address ourselves because they conduct the kind of detailed inspection we can trust. The detail with which they inspect our rig is so precise that we’re confident we can count on them to find issues before they become major problems that require more costly repairs… or cause major damage.
In the spring of 2020, we visited the Cummins Service Center in Kamloops, BC, (Cummins has a network of locations across the United States and Canada), and we actually made a video about it because the inspection they conducted was so impressively precise and eagle-eyed.
It’s this kind of precision and skill that leads to the uncovering of potentially major (and maybe even dangerous) issues BEFORE they become major. For example, a few years ago a service technician spotted a leaking wheel seal on our tag axle. THIS is why we like getting professional eyes on our rig!
We would almost certainly never have found that on our own, as there was no obvious evidence to alert us to it. Its discovery was due only to the skilled eagle eye of a professional technician — someone trained to understand these coaches thoroughly and completely.
This year we returned to the same Cummins facility for our annual engine and chassis maintenance and inspection and for a specific problem we knew we had to address but weren’t qualified to fix ourselves.
In this case, our dash air conditioning wasn’t blowing cold. AC repair requires special equipment that neither we nor any other RVer can reasonably be expected to carry around on our rig, as well as specialized training and skills that most of us DIYers don’t have.
Cummins diagnosed and repaired the problem – a failed fitting that allowed refrigerant to leak out of the system. Despite the fact that this particular fitting was fairly easily accessible, we wouldn’t have tackled this issue ourselves, because for our money air conditioning repair is best left to the pros.
In this case, Cummins had a new part manufactured by a local supplier, and we had our AC blowing cold the very same day. That alone was worth the visit.
But we’d also been having another problem that we’d attempted to repair ourselves – what we thought was a loudly squealing engine belt. We tried to address this issue several times using belt dressing, but it just wouldn’t go away.
In reality, the issue was a blown exhaust manifold gasket and a warped exhaust manifold, and it only took our Cummins technician a couple of minutes to diagnose it.
Had we not brought our rig to a pro, we’d probably still be driving around with decreased power and fuel economy, potentially causing damage to our engine over a longer period of time. Cummins repaired the issue properly and in a timely fashion, and we noticed a significant improvement in fuel economy on our very next tank of fuel, and the engine is finally quiet again.
How Much Does RV Maintenance Cost?
The answer to this question depends on a number of factors, including how well you care for your rig with regular RV maintenance and repairs.
What we can tell you is that Cummins is offering some brand new maintenance and inspection specials right now, and they can bring your motorhome’s maintenance up to speed at a reduced cost, an important consideration just ahead of winter.
And since Cummins owns Onan, generator specials are available, too!
Cummins service centers throughout North America will be offering these special deals only for a limited time, so if your rig is due for service, now’s the time to take advantage of these offers. First, click below to watch the video:
Cummins has set up a special landing page for our readers with more information about engine, chassis, and generator specials. Click the link below for complete details, and to take advantage of the opportunity to have your RV inspected and serviced by the highly skilled technicians at a Cummins location near you.
The Importance of Professional RV Maintenance and Repair
When it comes to RV maintenance and repairs, diligence is key. This is true for avid DIYers like us who tend to much of our own maintenance and repairs, and it’s also true regarding the professional attention we give to our RV. Getting the eyes of skilled, specially-trained professional technicians on our RV regularly is what keeps us riding down the road with confidence in an optimally maintained rig.
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Even though we're handy RVers, we're not professional technicians. So although we're happy with the techniques and products we use, you should be sure to confirm that all methods and materials are compatible with your equipment and abilities. Regardless of what we recommend, consult a professional if you're unsure about working on your RV. Any task you perform or product you purchase based on any information we provide is strictly at your own risk.