RVs make life full of possibilities and adventure as they can take you anywhere, that is until it is in need of repairs. While they do offer loads of fun, RVs can also cost about $6,875 a year to maintain.
If you are considering buying an RV or recently bought one then you might be wondering what is the best way to keep it up and running. Your first step in RV maintenance is to find a reliable repair shop.
Read on for 5 tips for choosing one that will keep your RV on the road as much as possible.
1. Look for Experience
When it comes to RV maintenance and repair, you don’t want to use just anyone. RVs aren’t like cars, they require more knowledge than the average mechanic may know. This is because of all the special features included in an RV.
You should find a repair shop that has a lot of experience with RV maintenance or that exclusively works on these types of vehicles. They may also have a specialty for fixing technology found only in RVs such as:
- Embedded electronics, stoves, refrigerators, and moveable sections
- Septic and plumbing
- Propane gas and tanks
You want someone that knows how to fix large engines and transmissions found in RVs as well.
2. Choose a Shop with Options
To avoid high RV maintenance costs find a repair shop that you can use for all types of services. If something goes wrong then you know who you can rely on and get the best price.
Plus, when you keep going to the same mechanic, you will build a relationship built on trust. They may even offer you discounts for being a loyal customer.
There are many types of RV models and some service centers may only focus on a single class of RV. For example, click for class B RVs to see how they differ from class A and C. Each one has a different set of features that one mechanic may not know how to fix while another is an expert.
Some RVs have large engines while others are the size of a truck. Fifth-wheel RVs don’t have engines at all, so they will only need repair work on electrical and structural aspects of the RV. For instance, the mechanic may know RV AC maintenance as well as RV roof maintenance, but doesn’t know their way around an engine.
If your RV isn’t a trailer hitch then you will need a mechanic that also knows how to fix the rest of the RV.
3. Pick a Repair Shop Near By
When your RV breaks down you don’t want to travel far to get it fixed. If the RV is functioning then you could drive it to a nearby repair shop before it stops running.
However, if your RV isn’t starting then you need a tow truck that will fit your RV. Class A motorhomes are large and difficult to tow, which is costly.
Another option is to have a mechanic who can visit your home to make repairs. This will save you from traveling in an RV that might break down at any moment.
Choosing a local RV mechanic also means that they know the area and can get RV parts to you faster. You won’t have to travel several times to a far-away shop after waiting for parts to come in.
The sign of a great RV repair shop is when they offer roadside assistance. If you are nearby and your RV breaks down then ask if your mechanic can come to you. This might not be possible if you are in another county or state, but they might know someone else closer to you that can help.
If you can’t get your normal mechanic to reach you then ask people in the town for a reliable mechanic. They should point you in the right direction for a temporary repair shop while traveling.
4. Get an Estimate
At the top of your RV maintenance checklist should be a schedule of routine repairs. These items are necessary to keep your RV from faultering and the good news is that they have a set price tag.
However, unexpected repairs can occur that aren’t on your list of scheduled maintenance. In this case, be sure to get an estimate first. This is applicable even if you have a regular mechanic that you visit for routine items.
Shopping around for major repairs like transmission work could save you hundreds of dollars. And, you may find someone who specializes in this part of the RV or who has used parts that could cut the cost.
Once you get a few estimates, compare the price as well as the service provided. It isn’t worth cutting costs if the repairs are done incorrectly. You may be visiting a mechanic again sooner than you think if you choose price over value.
5. Check Reviews
Finding what other people think of a repair shop is important because looks can be deceiving. The mechanic may seem knowledgeable and offer you a deal, but they could be dishonest or do poor work.
Look online at the repair shop’s reviews on several sites like Google and Yelp. Don’t rely on testimonials from the shop’s website as these can be fabricated.
You can also ask friends or family if they know of a good RV mechanic. But, if they never owned an RV the chances of not knowing a specialist is high.
Visit RV shows or join an RV community online to get tips, advice, and RV maintenance recommendations in your area.
Being Proactive With RV Maintenance
Waiting until your RV isn’t working or neglecting regular tune-ups will only make finding an RV maintenance mechanic even harder. Choose a mechanic before something goes wrong so that you have time to browse repair shops and pick the most cost-effective and professional one.
Be sure to keep reading more travel articles to find helpful RVing tips.