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How Much Do RV Repairs Cost?

Updated on July 09, 2016
TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

I am an avid RV enthusiast who has traveled, lived, workcamped and volunteered nationwide for more than 50 years and still am going strong!

What you pay to purchase a motor home or camper is only the beginning of your ownership expenses. This is why it is important to have some idea about the costs for repairs before you buy.

This article will give you some guidelines that will help you to know what you might have to pay once you own your travel unit.

Repairing an RV can cost a great deal of money.
Repairing an RV can cost a great deal of money. | Source

What It Will Cost To Fix My Coach?

The amount of money you will pay for repairs obviously depends on what is wrong with it.

However, no matter the issue, if you take your unit to a dealership for repairs, you’ll pay a minimum of $129 per hour for labor plus exorbitant cost for parts.

In some cases, the more expensive your coach is, the more you will pay for both.

Recently, a salesman at a well known national dealership told me that they “up” the labor costs as high as $189 per hour for the more expensive units. Parts for them usually cost more, as well.

So, unless you are willing to simply accept this type of price gouging, it might be a good idea for you to do some comparison shopping.

RV repair costs can empty your bank account in a hurry.
RV repair costs can empty your bank account in a hurry. | Source

Where To Check For Prices

To get some idea about what you might generally have to pay for parts and labor, you can check the sites of well known dealers such as PPL Motor Homes and Camping World.

You can also call or visit some repair shops to find the information you seek.

Some shops give you a break and instead of charging by the hour, offer you a flat rate per job.

If you can get them to do this, you’ll always save money.

A few years the generator in our RV stopped working. We were in Rapid City, SD. The locals there told us that there was a shop in town that specialized in generators, so that’s where we took our coach.

It was only after endless hours of labor that the men there told us that there actually was only one man there who knew about generators, and he was in the hospital!

After two days of examination by mechanics who did not really know what they were doing, we got out the manual, figured out the problem and told them what they needed to do.

When the job was finished, they thought they were going to charge us for 12 hours of labor, but we refused to pay it. Instead we demanded that they charge us the going flat rate.

It was not our fault that they didn’t know how to fix the generator, and we sure as heck were not going to pay them for the hours they wasted trying to find out what they should already have known!

Demanding the flat rate saved us hundreds of dollars!

The bigger and more complex the coach, the more expensive it is to fix.
The bigger and more complex the coach, the more expensive it is to fix. | Source

Older Vs. Newer Units

The rule of thumb has always been that the simpler and more well constructed the RV, the less costly it will be to fix it, however age is also a factor.

What you pay for repairs can depend on the age of the unit you own, but new is never a guarantee of trouble free.

  • Generally speaking, older units will have more problems than newer ones. However, those that have been well maintained may actually be better because their issues may already have been addressed.
  • Conversely, new coaches often have myriads of issues, some of which can be quite serious. If they appear within the warranty period, repairs will cost nothing, if not, they can cost plenty!

One example of this second scenario occurred when an elderly couple bought a new luxury motor home. Problems began on day one and continued until the warranty ended five years later.

Immediately after that, the floor joists gave way. It was going to cost them $6,000 to fix them.

When the couple asked the manufacturer to pay half, he refused and advised them to trade the unit for a different one. They did, and some other poor soul eventually purchased that same coach and got stuck with his own set of headaches!

  • If you have buy a new RV from a dealership, they usually will offer a 5 year warranty for all repairs. You should get it.
  • If you buy used, no matter the condition of a coach, you should plan on spending a great deal of money to maintain it.

The best way to protect your finances is to learn as much as possible about doing things yourself. Every trick you learn is like money in the bank!

Where You Get Your Work Done Influences Pricing

Prices for repairs and parts can vary greatly.

  • If you go to a large dealership, they will price gouge you until you can hardly see anymore.
  • If you find a good, local mechanic, you can save a fortune.

We had a major problem years ago while we were traveling through Oklahoma. The local dealership wanted $1,00 to do the work we needed.

Instead, we found a good mechanic, followed him to his small ranch, hooked up to his electric and water, and stayed there for two days while he worked to replace every gas hose in our unit. The total cost for everything was $200.

Typical RV Repair And Parts Costs

Here is a short list of items that many owners eventually need to repair or replace:

  • To replace a refrigerator can cost upwards of $1,000 plus installation.
  • Air conditioners run about $500 plus installation costs.
  • New tires will cost between $250 and $900 each depending on size and brand.
  • If your entry stairs need to be replaced, you can pay $300 plus depending on the type and size of step.
  • If your inverter dies, plan on spending about $2,000 for a good, new one.

Prices will vary from place to place, so it is smart to shop around before you make arrangements for repairs.

Good Sam Club offers warranty insurance that will pay the bills for newer units. You might be wise to buy that coverage if your rig qualifies.

It cost us thousands of dollars to repair this Safari Sahara, and we still took a loss when we sold it!
It cost us thousands of dollars to repair this Safari Sahara, and we still took a loss when we sold it! | Source

Make Sure You Can Afford to Pay for RV Repairs Before You Buy

As with all things, it is up to you to do your homework.

RVs are luxury items, and should be seen as such.

How much it will cost to repair one will depend on what you buy and where you take it to be serviced.

Unfortunately, the price is never going to be cheap.

Motor homes and campers are wonderful to own and travel in, but before you buy one, you need to make sure you will be able to afford to repair it.

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  • TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

    TIMETRAVELER2 3 years ago

    tillsontitan Thank you so much. I've been at this for a very long time so experience (the best teacher) had taught me plenty. I'm only sharing to save others a lot of grief. So glad I met you!

  • tillsontitan profile image

    Mary Craig 3 years ago from New York

    This is really great information for people who already own an RV and for those thinking about buying one. You're right on point with your great RV articles.

    Voted up, useful, and interesting.

  • TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

    TIMETRAVELER2 3 years ago

    mperrottet Thanks so much. Yes, this is a big problem for RV owners and it can cost them thousands more than they should be spending. Make sure to watch the is very telling.

  • mperrottet profile image

    Margaret Perrottet 3 years ago from Pennsauken, NJ

    Good article, and you are so right about finding a good mechanic or handyman to do repairs if you can't do them yourself rather than taking the RV to a big dealership. Voted up, useful, interesting and sharing.

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