Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
We just started traveling in our new travel trailer this winter. I was looking forward to a snowless winter of adventure and sightseeing. So far it has been a winter of waiting on parts and camping in large RV dealership lots waiting for service. My whole outlook on the economy has changed. I thought the country was in a slump, but not according to the line of people queued up waiting for service on their trailers, fifth wheels, motorhomes and vans. My husband says we just have to get all the bugs worked out on this maiden voyage and then it will be different. I keep thinking about the old boat definition: A bottomless hole you keep throwing money into. I am trying to stay positive and confident that our adventurous travel will happen eventually, but it's hard. Do all people go through this process or did we just end up with a lemon that I am having a hard time making lemonade out of.
--Soured on Service in Sedona
It sounds like you might be having an abnormal amount of service related problems. I am assuming you are under warranty, as you mention "new" travel trailer. Regardless of that, I agree it is no fun parked in or around a service facility waiting for work to be done. The standard response when seeking service work from a large dealer during peak season is, "It's a hundred dollars an hour, about a weeks wait, and we will need you to move out of your rig." That response can ruin anyone's attitude about RV travel. I do not know what types of problems you are having, but I like your comparison to a boat.
One secret is to develop a thorough understanding of all the systems that keep your rig rolling happily down the road. That has never been easier. Most RVs all have the same basic equipment. Even if you are not mechanically inclined you can glean diagnostic information from the internet today. You can troll the RV forums, watch How-to repair videos, and talk to fellow campers. You would be surprised how many problems you can fix on your own with just a bit of studying. Knowledge is king. Every problem you can solve on your own eliminates a line at the lemon factory repair facility. A heater problem is often a plug & play control board, a refrigerator problem might be a simple ignitor. It is simple today to find and order parts online and have them shipped anywhere. Once you become familiar with your rig and how it functions you will travel with much more confidence, have many less pit stops and save a truckload of money on problems that are not covered by warranty. This is one suggestion on turning your lemon into lemonade.
The RV forums will also give you great advice on "where" and "where not" to have service work done. Listen to the masses that have already been led to the slaughter instead of making all the mistakes on your own.
--Keep Smilin', Dr. R.V. Shrink