“The black tank is clogged.”
It’s not the kind of news you were hoping to hear two days before you leave for the next leg of your long-term road trip. Unfortunately, crummy things happen to even the most experienced RVers. Instead of ignoring the possibility that an RV repair might impact your next road trip, why not educate yourself on the topic of RV repairs before those repairs become necessary?
Whether you are a weekend road-warrior, a full-time RVer, or renting a rig from Outdoorsy, part of your trip planning should include preparing yourself for the unexpected. RV and car insurance, a roadside rescue plan, and trip insurance are all tools that every RVer should consider having before hitting the road. Remember that even when you have accident and repair plans in place, it’s still a good idea to arm yourself with the best methods for finding an RV repair service either at home or on the road.
RV repairs aren’t always as simple as minor car repairs. Depending on the type of rig you travel in, anything from refrigeration and sewer systems to hydraulics, slide mechanisms, and brakes can cause a kink in your plans. Tiny or hard-to-find parts paired with warranty claims and out-of-area service centers become only a fraction of the repair puzzle. Often, finding a reputable mechanic who will fix your problem without damaging your wallet is the hardest piece of the puzzle to locate.
Thankfully, our team of experienced RVers can help you take some of the scare out of RV repair. We’ve experienced everything from flat tires and lost keys to broken windows and faulty fuses. Because of this, we’ve collaborated and compiled a list of the best tips to get your rig back in tip-top shape. That way, you won’t have to worry about where to take your motorhome or camper when it’s not operating at peak performance. Hopefully, our tips will help you to get back on the road in no time.
Tip #1: Put together a road trip repair packet
Before heading out for your next adventure, put together a road trip repair packet and store it in an easy-to-access place inside of your rig or tow vehicle. This packet should contain copies of your RV insurance, tow vehicle insurance, roadside assistance plans, as well as pertinent contact information for each plan like phone numbers, websites, and applicable policy numbers. If you place your data in a folder that has room to write on the outside, you can write the contact information, in order of importance, on the front of the folder, making the process of finding someone to help you with your out-of-service RV a little less stressful.
Tip #2: Understand your warranty and service plans
Did you purchase a new or used rig through a dealership? Did you buy your RV from someone who could transfer an extended warranty into your name? Before you hit the road, determine what types of warranties were included with your RV purchase. Many manufacturer’s warranties and extended warranty plans have tools such as technical service hotlines and web-based technical chats. In the event that something doesn’t work as expected, owners can contact someone who might be able to help troubleshoot a problem over the phone. It’s also a good idea to double-check what the dealership included in your purchase. Some dealerships give new owners the number to a dealership-run troubleshooting hotline or a complimentary membership to a roadside assistance plan. Once you know what services you have, add the contact and policy information to your road trip repair packet.
Tip #3: Let your roadside assistance, warranty, and service plans work for you
The hardest part about finding a place to get your RV repaired is knowing who to contact about those repairs. Use the contacts listed on your road trip repair packet and let those people work for you. More often than not, if your troubleshooting hotlines and technical chats can’t help you, those services will know who you need to contact instead. They will direct you to the mobile RV service or the closest warranty-approved dealership or repair shop to help get you back on the road. Remember, whatever type of RV service you choose, always make sure you follow your roadside assistance, warranty, or service plan’s suggestions for repair because you don’t want to void your coverage in the future.
Tip #4: Have the mechanic come to you
Mobile RV service isn’t just for issues that pop up while you are on the road. Mobile mechanics who specialize in RV repairs can also make house calls for routine services like oil, filter, and tires. Mobile RV mechanics can also come to your aid when something on your camper or motorhome needs fixing, whether you are at home or on a trip. If your nearest warranty-approved repair center isn’t within reach, sometimes, the warranty service will arrange someone to come to you instead. Mobile RV service is convenient and sometimes faster than finding availability at your dealer. Keep in mind that convenience also comes at a cost. The price for service and repairs is often higher when the mechanic comes to you.
Tip #5: Ask the RV park for service recommendations
Because RVs have so many moving pieces and all of those moving pieces move while driving, it’s no wonder things go awry when you are far from home. Thankfully, RV parks understand that things pop up (or fail to pop out) during your journey. That’s why so many established RV parks provide their guests with a park flier upon check-in. Almost always, RV park fliers do more than giving guests restroom and Wi-Fi codes. These fliers have contact information for reliable, local services ranging from the best mobile RV repair to the service centers nearby. An RV park’s reputation is at stake, so there is a good chance that the services advertised are tried and true.
Tip #6: Find service via word of mouth
These days, it’s easy to ask people for recommendations because it’s as simple as posting a question to your favorite social media feed or RV group. People post their opinions everywhere, and online commentary tends to gather a blend of both positive and negative recommendations. If you don’t have RVing friends in your circle, don’t worry! A quick internet search using the words RV service near me will pull up local ratings and reviews nearby, or if you prefer, use an app or website like Yelp to filter your search based on what’s close by. For some people, finding service via word of mouth is the best option. Ratings speak for themselves, and most people don’t sugar coat their experiences.
Tip #7: DIY your repair
This tip is for the mechanically inclined. If you need something fixed, there is probably a YouTube video, blog post, or hack posted somewhere online. Do-it-yourselfers love to share their successes online. Everyone likes saving money by fixing problems themselves, right? RVs are no different than cars and boats. There are working parts and electrical components that help make each system run. Some issues are easy to fix and take seconds, while other repairs might take days to fix and require technical savvy. If you decide to fix your problem yourself, make sure you follow safety protocol and don’t try anything that will void your warranty or violate your rental agreement.
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