A common question we get asked from newbie RVers is: why does RV warranty work take so long? We get it! When your RV breaks, you want to get back camping ASAP! Unfortunately, that is often not the case, especially with warranty work.
Let’s dive into why.
Too Many RVs, Not Enough Technicians
The first challenge is there are a lot of RVs needing work and not enough RV techs. This is due to a variety of reasons. One reason is that young adults don’t want to go to RV tech school. Additionally, we’ve heard the pay isn’t great and sometimes the working conditions in the shop aren’t ideal.
Lastly, with the advancements happening in the RV world, there aren’t enough techs that can keep up. There is a shortage of techs that have the skills they need to learn how to fix all the components of an RV. Especially now with the advanced electronics and appliances, as well as engines, motors, HVAC, plumbing, bodywork, carpentry, etc.
Warranty Work Must Be Done at an Approved Dealer
Why does RV warranty work take so long? Most factory warranty work has to be done at the same brand of RV dealership. Not only is this challenge for full-time RVers who aren’t close to their home dealership, but it’s also frustrating for dealers.
Dealerships only get reimbursed for the set rate from the manufacturer when they do warranty work. It really comes down to dollars and cents. Those who pay out-of-pocket for repairs get the money in the dealers’ hands quickly, so they tend to take priority.
Additionally, dealers must follow a process to make sure they get paid back from the manufacturers. Depending on the brand, this can be a quite lengthy paperwork process.
The Warranty Work Timeline is Long
Rv warranty work takes so long because there are multiple steps.
First, they must document the customer’s concern, then take pictures, and submit the problem to the manufacturer. Assuming a best-case scenario and the manufacturer approves the warranty request quickly (which is not always the case), then the dealer must order parts. Not all parts are always in stock. More delays! Then we wait for the parts to ship.
If the correct parts are delivered, the dealer then puts the unit in the queue to be scheduled in the service bay. In a perfect world, the day the parts arrive, the RV can get worked on to fix the mechanical failure. This rarely happens due to the backlog of work, things taking longer than expected, and inefficient scheduling practices.
Finally, let’s say the parts and the RV are now in the shop. You need to be hopeful that the correct repair is made and nothing else is needed. Sometimes after digging deeper, the techs realize there’s a bigger problem, or they diagnosed incorrectly.
Unfortunately, if this happens, the process goes back to step one of contacting the manufacturer. And let’s hope you didn’t take it home before anyone figured out it was not fixed correctly! All of these moving parts play a part in why RV warranty work takes so long.
How To Speed Up the Process
The good news about RV warranty work is most repairs only take a few hours and are simple. The real delay time is waiting on approvals and parts.
A sure way to speed up the process is to take responsibility. This means having a point of contact at the dealership and at your manufacturer. Keep in touch with both and ask for updates as the process moves along. The worst thing you can do is drop off your RV at the shop and never check in again.
Secondly, if you have a quality manufacturer that cares about customer support, this process can be painless. It’s important to note that some manufacturers are better and have a faster response time than others.
For example, we have a Grand Design fifth wheel and have had wonderful experiences with them related to warranty work. When we were frustrated with our repair shop, our point of contact at Grand Design took over.
We found out our parts weren’t ordered until two weeks after the initial diagnosis. Then the repair shop lied and said Grand Design never approved the order! We knew this wasn’t true because we had email proof from our manufacturer of the actual order date from the shop. Thankfully Grand Design stepped in to remedy our issues and worked with the shop directly so we didn’t have to. Not all manufacturers will do this for their customers, so it’s important to choose wisely.
For peace of mind, an extended warranty can be a good idea, especially if you’re full-timing.
Through an extended warranty, you’ll find there is a wider variety of repair shops throughout the United States to choose from.
Additionally, with an extended warranty, work doesn’t necessarily have to be done at a dealer. Sometimes you can even use a mobile RV tech!
Some extended warranty companies (like Wholesale Warranties) will help you through the whole process: from finding an approved shop to following up on parts to paying the dealership directly.
If you’re considering an extended warranty be sure to read our article What is an RV Extended Warranty and Do I Need One?