Wow, my first blog post for Do It Yourself RV! Saying I’m excited would be an understatement. My family and I travel in a 2014 Airstream 23D International Signature. Dragging it around the country is our 2016 GMC 2500 Duramax diesel. We currently average in the neighborhood of 100 nights per year in our Airstream and therefore have about the equivalency of a high school education in RV travel.
I feel passionate about doing my own RV service work and enjoy helping others learn how to do the same. So, why is it important to have some level of do-it-yourself ability with RV service work and repairs? RVing is not a “Spectator Sport!”
Let’s face it, traveling down the bumpy roads, with a house made from “Ultralight, Micro, Feather, Breeze, Composite” components, held together with the hopes and dreams of the manufacturer can require a lot of maintenance and repairs to perform as it was designed to.
Many people jump into RV ownership with no consideration about who’s going to perform such maintenance and repairs. Paying someone for general maintenance, upkeep, and repairs can eat away at a family budget. RV service departments rate north of $150.00 per hour. That can add up fast.
With that said, add in relying on your local dealer service center or repair shop and your RV could end up sitting on their lot for weeks or even months waiting on this work to be done. This can really start to eat away at the quality time you had hoped to spend using your RV.
With the difficulty of getting reservations at some campgrounds, work schedules, and limited vacation time, Whew… Without a basic RV repair skill set, you may very well lose an entire camping season waiting for someone else to perform repairs.
We did not purchase our RV to sit around while waiting for service work. We purchased it to use, to spend quality time with family and friends camping or traveling. Having to deal with someone else repairing my RV, over time, would make its ownership just too much of a hassle.
Learning how to perform basic RV maintenance and repairs is not hard. Most RV systems are fairly simple and safe to work on. I understand that not all people are given the same talents at birth. Some people are not as technical as others, but there are countless resources out there to help the average Joe maintain their RV. Do It Yourself RV, YouTube, RV LIFE, AIR Forums, iRV2, and many, many others are all great resources for learning such skills. You can also use digital tools such as Maintain My RV to learn about routine tasks that will be due soon.
Many clubs like the WBCCI host rallies with hands-on classes and workshops, put on by RV manufacturers and suppliers, to help you learn the skills needed to properly maintain an RV.
Most importantly, having the knowledge to fix the things that happen while traveling will greatly increase your enjoyment of your RV and could quite possible salvage your trip. There also is a certain amount of pride in ownership that comes from being able to fix your own stuff.
We have been on very few trips over the years where I did not have at least one repair to do. It might be as simple as tightening a screw, but that’s exactly the point I’m trying to make. Feeling comfortable wrenching on your RV allows you to develop a “relationship” with your RV.
Knowing the subtle clues to look for, and recognizing something that just does not look right can prevent major problems from happening. Now, PLEASE understand that I am not saying that if for some reason you don’t feel comfortable doing a repair you are somehow less of an RV owner, that’s not what I mean. I’m just saying that if you can take the time to learn how your RV systems work and develop some comfort in your own ability to work on your RV, you will likely enjoy RVing that much more.
Most importantly, remember that RVing is not a “Spectator Sport.” Empower yourself to become more self-reliant and take more control of your RV experience.