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Old 04-01-2016, 05:16 AM   #1
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Service? or lack of Service?

Does anyone else have the experience of taking weeks to get service and then having to leave RV for days or weeks to get it repaired?

I'm new to owning an RV, and am amazed that owners tolerate this situation as it seems to be accepted as standard procedure even for simple adjustments when no parts are needed ...

Just curious as to why RV consumers accept what would be unacceptable in nearly every other consumer product support system ...

While this has been my experience with our new 2016 Winnebago Journey in the Houston area, I am curious if it is also common with other brands and in other locations?

Also curious as to why this situation exists? I know an RV is a complicated combination of many sub-systems, but so it my home and I can get it services and repaired much easier than my RV. Also same for my car.

Does anyone know of a dealer or RV service center that is sensitive to an owner's convenience and time. I hate to have my expensive RV sitting waiting for someone to even look at it!

On the bright side, I have had good experience in general with repairs that actually get done.
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Old 04-01-2016, 05:24 AM   #2
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First, welcome to IRV2...

I have found that in the RV world it all depends on the shop, time of year, what, if any relationship you have with the shop, what issues where disclosed on the RV before yours, and how long the fix time is on that.
I had a shops in GA that treated working on RV's just like working on cars, I sure do miss those guys!!!!!
I hope you find a good answer that will let you stay in The RV world for a long time!
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Old 04-01-2016, 05:53 AM   #3
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Sadly what you describe is all too much the norm. There are places that are better than others. I have found that the dealers are often the hardest to deal with while the independent RV repair shop treats you like you matter. After my warranty was over I promised myself that I would never take it back to my dealer unless absolutely necessary.

My dealer was and is simply overwhelmed. There are always dozens of RV's in the queue waiting to be fixed. While at the same time, new units are selling. Most of the time, our dealer, and I am sure it is many dealers, bumps everyone waiting for service down the moment a new unit sells. That new unit's prep for delivery takes the priority. From what I can tell, that initial prep will be the last time your rig will be a top priority to anyone at the dealer's service department.

Should not be that way, but.....
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Old 04-02-2016, 06:44 AM   #4
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When comparing getting service done to your home or car as opposed to an rv, your comparing apples to stale bread. No comparison. Many, many more options for home/car repairs. A simple check of any phone book would show you the lack of rv repair shops in any given area.
That being said, one of the most important aspects of owning an rv, is that you must be a do-it-yourselfer, or a mr. fixit. You must at least have some knowledge of the systems, how they function, where everything is, and how to, if necessary, fix a problem, or at least bypass it till you can get it fixed.
If your out at a remote campground, Sunday afternoon, and you find a leak, or have a bolt, screw or water fitting come off or loose, Who You Gonna Call???
Many, if not most of the time, your at the best place to get help...the forums. There will always be somebody, somewhere, who has had the same problem, and many will give good advice as to how to solve a problem.
Just learn about your rig, keep a small supply of "stuff" to do repairs, and don't count on repair shops to welcome you with open arms to get a repair done "quickly".
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Old 04-02-2016, 07:56 AM   #5
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I think a good part of the issue ceases with warranty expiration. At that point, it seems like many more owners are willing to exercise their imaginations and get their hands dirty doing at least some of the necessary maintenance themselves - especially after the bill they get for their first service after warranty. The fact many dealers seem to drag their feet much more while coaches are under warranty not lost on many.

Myself, though I do use dealers for parts and supplies on occasion, I generally do what I can to avoid them. If service/repairs that I can't do myself are required, I prefer to seek out mobile techs, or in the case of chassis work, independent truck repair centers.

The biggest lie dealers tell is that they'll take care of you after the sale. If what I've seen available is "taking care of me", I can certainly do better if left to my own devices.
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Old 04-02-2016, 08:55 AM   #6
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We also are new to RV ownership. We bought used a year ago in May. We knew nothing and had to learn quickly. Our first experience with a repair place was Camping World in Grand Rapids.

We went to have a window replaced, tire pressure valves added for inside rear tires and a plumbing leak fixed. Took over 3 weeks. At one point when I called to get an "Update", they said they didn't have my rig. I was a "bit" upset.

Asked for a call back from the service manager and no call back. Called again and kept getting another state CW that was the phone center.

I called them finally on a Monday and talked to service department. Told them I was coming to get the rig on Thursday after 5pm whether it was fixed or not. They needed to make sure it was drivable period. They were open until 8pm.

I got a call Wednesday asking why I had not come since I told them I would be there Wednesday. Told them I told you Thursday after 5pm. Got a call Thursday (just talked to them Wednesday) and asked when I was coming because they were going to lock it up in the fenced yard and if I didn't arrive soon I would not be able to get it. I explained I was on the road and if they locked the MH up I would be screaming at someone since the service manager told me I could pick it up after 5pm. This was a 2 hour drive for me to take it here.

They apologized multiple times during this three weeks. There was a replacement of the "Service Manager" 3 times during this 3 weeks. No I am not kidding.

I picked up the rig, checked the repairs. Window was not done, plumbing was fixed (and done correctly), tire gauge system in and done well. Asked what happened to the window and the response was 'You wanted the window replaced?". Showed them the work order and the first item was "replace passenger side window with broken seal."

I see a lot of complaints here about repairs and the shops. I just found a Mobile guy in our area. Found him on rvservicereviews.com Perhaps they will have one in your area. Getting the window fixed and some upgrades we want done.

Good luck, but we have learned to fix numerous items and will continue to learn.
Lynne
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Old 04-03-2016, 05:23 AM   #7
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So then it seems the complexity of the RV is the excuse for poor service. Seems little profit motive for dealers (or independents in Houston area at least) to provide timely, quality service. This does not seem to be something manufacturers are concerned about enough to try to improve, rather the status quo of weeks and weeks to get something fixed is accepted as normal.

I am pretty handy, and recently replaced a jammed lock set on bathroom door, removing and replacing trim in the process. But some things like the door awing that will not retract all the way take a dealer and if under warranty, takes the RV dealer. I agree it seem the sooner my manufacturer's warranty is out, the more options I will have, but this seems a sorry situation. Is there any rating of how well manufactures honor their warranties? That is, how well they insist their dealers support owners with after-the-sale service?

In general Winnebago has a good service call-in line. Helpful and knowledgeable. And Ron Hoover La Marque has beed helpful and pretty good in general (as Ron Hoover Katy is moving locations and has extensive delays even beyond 3 to 4 weeks). But the time and effort involved for the owner is incredible. So as to make me questions why I even use warranty service. I'd pay to get stuff fixed if I could get it done quickly and correctly. But it also seems Winnebago only sells parts to its poor-performing dealers?

We did not buy our motorhome to camp out at the dealership waiting for it to be looked at, then waiting even longer for it to be repaired, and did not expect to be without it for weeks during warranty repairs, or put up with malfunctioning parts for months until we have enough to make it worthwhile going through the hassle of getting repairs done. But it seems we must resign ourselves to this sad situation.

Is there no profit motive for dealers in RV repairs? This would seem the main reason they do not allocated the space or people to taking care of warranty work. I would happily pay some deductible for each visit to shave weeks off the repair time. And to have competent service managers and technicians.

Seems to me the current system is broke and no one even is working on any way to fix it?
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Old 04-03-2016, 06:13 AM   #8
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My experiences our area.

Dealer services are poor, at best. However there are multiple independent repair shops that make their living solely from service that do a good job. Time of year/season can be a factor in getting in for service, but they will work with you depending on your schedule need.

We are on our third Motorhome, all bought used. So have minimally had to deal with dealer or manufacturer's warranty situations. This is a good thing, IMO.
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Old 04-03-2016, 06:47 AM   #9
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Several issues come to mind. One is the lack of any sort of standard accreditation for RV techs. RVIA does have an accreditation program but it is strictly voluntary and costs money. Some manufacturers do run their own tech schools, but that seems to be the exception rather than the rule. The RV industry is minuscule compared to the automotive and house building industry. In 2015 they built roughly 350,000 new RV's compared to 4.2 million passenger cars, and just shy of a million housing units.

Parts availability is a very real issue, the RV assemblers order parts from suppliers, they order enough to build the number of projected units and maybe a few extra. If you need a replacement part, quite often the order goes from the dealer to the RV manufacturer to the Parts supplier. The current supply chain is not particularly efficient for replacement parts.

Not sure what the answer is, except to find you a good dealer that you trust and only use the warranty for major issues. Not things like missing screws and such. Yes the units need to be assembled better but unfortunately I don't see that happening any time soon.

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Old 04-03-2016, 06:51 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Forrest_LD View Post
Just curious as to why RV consumers accept what would be unacceptable in nearly every other consumer product support system ...

While this has been my experience with our new 2016 Winnebago Journey in the Houston area, I am curious if it is also common with other brands and in other locations?
It is common with every brand and type of RV, some to a greater or lesser degree, but common to all. The reason people (grudginly) accept it is that there is no alternative if you want to own an RV. That is just the fact of RV life. I have frequented online RV forums for 15 years and I must have read your complaint hundreds of times in one form or another. Yet the same people who are complaining continue to buy RVs and sales are at all time highs. People have obviously decided that the joys of RV living outweigh the disadvantage of poor service. The industry is dying a good and growing business so they are not forced to fix this.

Stick around and you will see your complaint repeated over and over on these forums. The people will continue to buy RVs in spite of it. This is just the state of the industry, take it or leave it. More people are taking than leaving, so the situation continues to exist.

On a brighter side, I have read good service reports but they are rare.
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Old 04-03-2016, 07:00 AM   #11
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I've noticed numerous post here that explain why RV repair centers are backed up. You have hundreds of RV owners who are of the mind set that no matter how small the repair (many obvious DIY's) they take their unit back to the dealer, thus greatly overloading the dealer with repairs that could EASILY have been done by the owner.
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Old 04-03-2016, 07:07 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by D Lindy View Post
I've noticed numerous post here that explain why RV repair centers are backed up. You have hundreds of RV owners who are of the mind set that no matter how small the repair (many obvious DIY's) they take their unit back to the dealer, thus greatly overloading the dealer with repairs that could EASILY have been done by the owner.
I don't think "most" people should attempt to make their own repairs to a unit under warranty. If you screw it up and then need it fixed the dealer is probably going to tell you tough luck, you screwed it up, it's on your dime now. If the product was built correctly in the first place you'd never need to return it for repair. Now don't think I'm the kind of person that thinks everything should never fail, that's not true at all. I'm talking initial quality.
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Old 04-03-2016, 07:31 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by D Lindy View Post
I've noticed numerous post here that explain why RV repair centers are backed up. You have hundreds of RV owners who are of the mind set that no matter how small the repair (many obvious DIY's) they take their unit back to the dealer, thus greatly overloading the dealer with repairs that could EASILY have been done by the owner.
It sounds to me like you are blaming the customer for the state of the RV repair industry. That makes no sense. The guy who wants to give the dealer money and keep him in business is not to blame. If an individual wants to own an RV and has no DIY ability, he should be able to find a good shop and get anything done he is willing and able to pay for.

When the biggest supplier of RV service, Camping World, is saying in their investor paperwork that one of their primary goals is to lower costs and not build a customer base by giving world class service, that is a major problem.

There is a shortage of all trades, RV service technicians being one of them. The law of supply and demand takes over but owners are resistant to raise wages to attract the talented and experienced technicians they need to be a successful company.

None of which is the customers fault.
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Old 04-03-2016, 07:59 AM   #14
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The reason for the tech shortage almost always comes back to low wages, seasonal work, and poor working conditions, in that order. 2 of those 3 conditions (wages, conditions) easily fixed/controlled with decent management decisions. The fact RV repair can be pretty seasonal in many parts of the country (including some of the most populated) actually requires some skill on managements part. Ideas like free storage in return for work orders that will require serious time (collision, water damage repair, etc.), can keep a crew pretty busy year round. Managing work that for out requires that the store owner/manager have an active hand in service (rare in my experience), or pay decent wages to somebody that can manage their back end with competency (leading back to wage issues, and adding high turnover). It can be done - but obviously, you don't see it often (enough).
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