9 Tips to Stave Off High Cost RV Repairs

I'm a big fan of DIY projects but RV mechanics, electrical, plumbing are something I prefer to leave to the big boys, the mobile repair guys or in dire cases, the dreaded "repair shop."  Why dreaded, you ask?  It's that feeling I get once they give me the diagnosis then I ask for the 'damage.'  That lump begins to form in my throat in anticipation of the pocket-emptying reply.  Inevitably, the 'damage' is even worse than what I expected. It sends my brain reeling into thoughts of how many things I will have to do without to get this repair fixed.  Being between a rock and a hard place (my technical RV repair knowledge is limited) I acquiesce and cry into my "free repair shop coffee" cup while waiting hours for the repair.

At the very least, my favorite RV repair guru, GOT BILLY RV REPAIR, comes out to where our rig is parked and I get written up for both the service call and repair.  In his defense, I have been charged nothing at times when he deems the problem is not worth fixing or after he diagnoses the problem he may feel it would be better if I did it myself .  After looking at my roof A/C recently, he told me that a deep cleaning of the coils would solve my problem and showed me how to do it and what to use.  He said it takes a long time and is tedious because the access area was small but that I could easily do it.  He didn't even charge for the service call since he was in the area anyway.  It took me about 3 hours in a sweat shop of an RV but it turned out he was right and I saved a cool couple hundred or more.    Let me warn you though, that repair men like that are few and far between and many charge exorbitant fees just for a diagnosis.  If you have a mobile repair man work on your RV, make sure to WATCH them and ASK questions.  I have learned many a tip or trick to be able to diagnose or even fix small problems this way.  And since you're paying for their service they should be RVIA certified.

Recently I read an informative article by Bob Difley on the blog that listed nine other helpful tips on how to avert high RV Repair costs and become your own DIY RV repair person at least some of the time:

Reducing repair and maintenance costs
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  • Learn to do the simpler repairs yourself. Diagnosis is the key. Pick up a good repair and maintenance manual (Bob Livingston writes the industry standard manual).
  • If you feel you can do the job, think of the nearly $100 an hour charged by repair facilities and it could be the inspiration you need?
  • Go online to search for instructions and video tutorials on how to do most any repair that you might need to do, then determine if the job is within your range of intelligence, even if it is not in your range of expertise.
  • For engine and drivetrain repairs, auto parts stores can be good sources of both instructional information and rental tools to perform the job. And if you guessed wrong, they will take back the part you bought with the mis-diagnosis and possibly offer good alternatives.
  • For coach and system problems check out the RV Doctor (Gary Bunzer’s website) or RV Education 101 (Mark Polk’s website), both of which have lists of repair instructions, video tutorials, CDs and DVDs to help you.
  • There are several online forums where you can ask questions and get feed back on both analysis and the physical act of repairing for someone with all thumbs.
  • Don’t give up on the first error you make or function you cannot understand or perform. Sit back, take a break, think about the problem, and look for another solution.
  • Even if you can’t finish the job, or get stuck, work out in advance a Plan B for just such situations.
  • And don’t forget, it is all part of the RV Lifestyle–becoming more self-sufficient and self-reliant. And that’s a good place to be.
At Hidden Valley RV Park we've circulated this invaluable info to our staff and interested guests.  Check out the rest of his article and his series of posts on "How to Live The RV Lifestyle in Turbulent and Unsettled Times."   

Teri Blaschke is the RV Park operator of family owned HiddenValley RV Park in San Antonio, TX and writer of the park blog “A Little Piece of Country in San Antonio.” Teri contributes to various other blogs with a focus on either travel or social media and how it relates to the outdoor hospitality industry but her passion is serving the RV travel community by providing a memorable RV camping experience and growing the Hidden Valley RV family.  Connect with , Facebook and Twitter@HiddenValleyRV
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