Russ on the Road: Is your RV warranty worthless?

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WASHINGTON — I begin this article by asking the question if your RV warranty is really worth anything. I found out through experience mine didn’t seem to be worth as much as I thought. That has something to do with my particular circumstances and somebody else might find that the same warranty, from the same manufacturer, on the same model and year RV to be worth more. Maybe. Maybe not.

By way of laying some groundwork, one needs to understand that RV warranties are different than other warranties such as those on automobiles in terms of who is obligated to perform warranty work. Take my Ford truck for example: if I’m not mistaken, any Ford dealer that has the ability to repair my truck under the terms of the applicable Ford warranty has an obligation to take in the vehicle for repair. That means wherever I go, be it 1 mile from home or 1,000 miles, if the truck needs warranty attention any qualified Ford dealer I wish to bring the truck to for repair has to accept the job. They sign onto that when they become a dealer.

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Rebecca Smith

Rebecca Smith

Rebecca Smith is a Wisconsin native currently living in Illinois with her husband, Eric, and two dogs, Maggie and Grace. She enjoys hiking, biking, kayaking and, of course, camping in cabins and park models.

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  • Drew says:

    Russ,

    You’re learning the hard lessons of rv ownership. Here are some of my opinions- I think early on you found out things are not as they seem. Knowing that, if I were you I would have spent the time you did on pictures, paragraphs, and so on to learn more about my rv in general. I don’t know how mechanically inclined you are but there are limitless places to learn all of this. It makes you a stronger and more self reliant person, and it’s fun besides. Doesn’t the knowledge of your rig sound fun to you? I love the satisfaction of fixing things. It’s not for everyone but even if you just had the basics- people might be less inclined to take advantage of you. The warranty issues you mention are perfectly valid but as you’re finding out- the risks and hassles involved probably are worse than fixing some of those minor issues yourself…or maybe having someone you trust help you out instead. These lessons are hard to learn in some cases but I’ve found that the alternatives can be more satisfying…both for your mind and wallet. Good luck Russ, I hope things straighten out for you.

  • Jim Wilson says:

    Having spent more than four decades in the RV industry, all of that time in the service end, I have always thought that an educated consumer was my best customer.
    Today, Boomers are buying an RV without any clue of what they are getting into. They are unaware that the management of their sales department has a much different attitude than the management of the service department, of that same dealership. They assume that they just bought a Lexus and should get Lexus quality service. That is so far from the truth.
    Unlike the automotive industry, who spend Millions in education, and to update their products parts and service documents, like exploded parts views and service updates, most RV manufacturers have no such programs. There are exceptions to that trend, but normally only by the long established higher end manufacturers.
    If you need a wiring diagram for your $40K travel trailer, and contact your dealer, or even the RV manufacturer, their responce will be a “Deer in the Headlight” look, for several reasons. 1-In their three weeks on the job as Parts Manager, they have never heard of such a thing. 2-The service documents, if they were availible, would likely be incorrect, as the Factory already changed how they were building that particular line. 3-Consider how many RV assembly lines there are, times how many different floorplans per line, times how many RV plants there are, and you can see how big the job would be to keep documents complete and accurate. In the day of the “Mega” manufacturers and dealers, size is what matters. Bottom line is king.
    Untill manufacturers and dealers get ahead of the curve, regarding their parts and service departments, warranties will always be an issue.
    Consider their are literally hundreds of floor plans with hundreds of production changes daily, by hundreds of production managers, installing product by hundreds of vendors, and you can see the task of the poor parts and service people, at the dealership level, is mind exploding.
    The dealers can not keep up with the warranty repairs on the product they sold, much less another dealers product. Plus the attitude of “You didn’t buy it from us, so we won’t service it” is the common attitude.
    Remember: “Specifications subject to change without notice”
    Just my opinion.

  • JB says:

    After owning three new RV’s in the last 25 years and attempting to deal with warranty problems…I have come to the conclusion that most manufacturers are crooks and liars when it shoves junk out the door to unwitting consumers.Grand Design…Dutchman…and Carriage are the brands I bought new..and none were worth the money spent on them.Many of us “old fa***” have become disillusioned with RV’s anymore and are in the process of giving up on the massive amounts of junk rolling out manufacturers doors.Live and learn.

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