The 5 Most Expensive RV Repairs

the-5-most-expensive-rv-repairs

No one said RVing is cheap. But trust me, the five most expensive RV Repairs we share in this article are the items you most want to avoid.

In this episode of the RV Podcast, we interview Jeff Shelton, the CEO of Wholesale Warranties, a company that will shop around and find the most affordable extended warranty policies tailored specifically for your RV.

You can watch the interview as part of our RV Lifestyle Channel video on YouTube by clicking the player below:

If you prefer an audio version of the podcast, you can catch it on your favorite podcast app – Apple Podcasts, Google, Android, Spotify, Sticher, and any of the others – or just click the player below to hear the entire episode right on whatever device you are using to read this.

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The 5 Most Expensive RV Repairs – Transcript

Below is an edited transcript of the interview with Jeff Shelton, the CEO of Wholesale Warranties. We’ve been recommending Wholesale Warranties for years now. They offer a free, no-obligation quote on what an extended warranty would cost for tour RV at https://wholesalewarranties.com/rvlifestyle

Mike Wendland:

Well, thank you. Thank you. One of the things that I think folks don’t realize is how expensive it can be to have to repair some problems that develop in their RV, whether new or used. What’s the most expensive thing that an extended warranty would cover on an RV?

#1 Most Expensive RV Repairs: Motorhome Engines

Most Expensive RV Repairs - Jeff Sheldon
Jeff Shelton, the CEO of Wholesale Warranties.

Jeff Shelton:

If you have a motor home, obviously, the big, scary thing that I think most people have a little bit of anxiety about is the engine, engine and powertrain.

Transmissions are extremely expensive as well. I know a lot of our clients who have plenty of money, or they’re financially well to do, we do a lot of policies that are just cover those catastrophic type of failures. When you have an engine that’s $40 to $60,000, depending on the motor home, a lot of times when they do fail, you get a crack block or something like that, a lot of times you will have to completely replace the engine altogether.

No matter what your financial situation is, that can be a really catastrophic failure. We always have insurance, if your RV catches fire and you need to replace it.

Actually, a lot of loan companies though, won’t allow you to have an RV without full coverage insurance because you can have those catastrophic failures.

With a lot of the engines, if you have a failure there, those can be catastrophic. You might still owe on your motor home. We’ve paid out a lot of claims that are 25, and 30, and even $40,000 to completely overhaul an engine.

This isn’t covered by the manufacturer’s warranty on the engine?

Typically, when you buy a brand new RV, you’ll either get three to five years on the engine, engine and transmission. Typically, a lot of the diesel pushers, it’ll be a five-year factory warranty.

If it’s a gas engine, a lot of them will be three to five. They also have transmission, and then electrical around it. When that manufacturer’s warranty runs out, you definitely want to take a look at getting some type of coverage for that catastrophic failure.

There are also alternators and a lot of electronics around the engine that can also fail. The big, most expensive one that people have a lot of anxiety about are those catastrophic engine failures.

Engines are built very well nowadays. The chance of failures are, they’re getting better, but when they do fail, they’re just so expensive.

#2 Most Expensive RV Repairs: Slideouts

Most Expensive RV Repairs - rare on a leisure travel van
Slideouts are great when they work properly. This is the floorplan of the Unity we used to own. We never had any trouble with the slideout.

Mike Wendland:

All right. That’s one common one. What is another? That would affect, basically, just motor homes, but how about whether it’s a fifth wheel or a big motor home, what are some of the next, most expensive repairs that you want to be aware of?

Jeff Shelton:

I think a lot of, lot of them have to do with the slideouts. Most RVs do have some type of slideout system. Typically, the bigger the slideout, the more difficult it can be to fix and repair.

With the motors, and figuring out all those tracks, it’s a huge challenge. A lot of times if you are handy, and some people try to figure these things out themselves, but with a slideout they’re just so heavy and awkward to fix that you need a professional.

Mike Wendland:

What’s the cost of fixing that?

Jeff Shelton:

Our averages range anywhere from about $1,800 to about, we’ve seen $5,000 in slideout repairs, pretty much on RVs, especially with the bigger slideouts.

#2 Most Expensive RV Repairs: Hydronic heating systems

Most Expensive RV Repairs
Heated floors?

Mike Wendland:

All right. We’ve talked about engines, we’ve talked about slideouts, what’s number three on the list of the most expensive repairs you don’t want to have to make yourself?

Jeff Shelton:

Well, you know what we’re actually seeing a lot more of, and it depends on your system is, are you familiar with those hydronic floor heaters?

Mike Wendland:

Oh, yeah. Yeah. In-floor heat? Yeah.

Jeff Shelton:

I’m really trying to learn more about them because they seem really cool. I know that they have them in houses. I was familiar with them for a while.

Mike Wendland:

Same basic thing.

Jeff Shelton:

It’s the same basic thing, but when we see these claims of upwards of $10,000 for failures, I’m like, “Wow. How can … “

Mike Wendland:

Yeah, well, they got to remove the whole floor.

Jeff Shelton:

The expenses on those can be extremely, extremely expensive. Not all RVs, obviously, have those, but that’s the one that we always find on the newer, higher-end RVs.

#4 Most Expensive RV Repairs: Leveling Jacks

photo about leveling and putting out RV slides and leveling - Most Expensive RV Repairs
(NOT my rig! 🙂 This is an old photo about leveling. They obviously need new tires, too.)

Mike Wendland:

Yeah. All right. How about number four? What’s number four?

Jeff Shelton: Leveling Jacks. For a complete replacement, we’ve seen them range anywhere from about $2,400 to about $5,000, typically.

Sometimes, when you have a jack go, too, is sometimes they no longer manufacture those jacks. You’ll have to replace the whole entire set. You have to get the entire new system, especially on the older RVs. That can be a little bit of a challenge.

These systems are pretty intricate and having them work all together. The computer systems that they develop for them are really cool, but the challenge comes in on, obviously, replacing them, or getting those items fixed as well.

#5 Most Expensive RV Repairs: Air conditioning systems

Mike Wendland:

Well, that takes us to number five on our list. We could keep going, but we’ll just hit with these most expensive. What is the next most expensive repair that we don’t want to have to make?

Jeff Shelton:

Of course, I always use that disclaimer, “Depends on your RV.” and what they have in it.

A lot of times those air conditioning systems, especially when you deal with motor homes. Typically, with a larger motorhome, you’ll have three air conditioners working together. You actually have your dash air that comes with the chassis, and then you’ll usually you’ll have two, one in the bedroom in the back, and then one in the front. They’re typically run by thermostats, and work in conjunction with each other.

And the air conditioners typically have a heat pump feature as well that can go bad.

The systems are getting more and more complex now, so we’re seeing a lot of heating and cooling air conditioning units.

We see them range from about $2,400 to $5,000 for your actual heating and air conditioning components. We include furnaces in that as well.

Other big RV Repair Expenses

Most Expensive RV Repairs
Most Expensive RV Repairs – refrigerators.

Jeff Shelton:

The other big one that we also run into a lot is refrigerator repairs. I don’t know if anybody’s ever had their refrigerator malfunction, but a lot of times you just have to completely replace them. The challenge with replacing those is, you have to take out the windshield, or you have to take out a door.

Mike Wendland:

You can’t fit it in there.

Jeff Shelton:

Yeah. They can’t fit it in there. They put in the refrigerator and then build around it. Usually, you have to pop out some type of windshield to get those things out. There’s a lot of labor, a lot of challenges that come with replacing them.

Is an Extended Warranty Worth It?

Mike Wendland:

Here’s a question before we wrap it up. People have this question, do I get an extended warranty when I buy a new RV? Give us some general thoughts, because you’ll go to a dealer and they’ll try and sell you one right there. We always urge people to shop around. Don’t just listen to what they say. Tell us a little bit about that process.

Jeff Shelton:

Yeah, yeah. I always said do your due diligence, take a look at the contract. That’s a big part of it. To answer your question, when you’re buying it brand new, what we take into consideration, and the warranty company takes into consideration, is you’re going to have factory warranty on that right off the bat.

Let’s go with the typical diesel motor home, for instance. What you’ll have is a one year, somewhat bumper to bumper coverage. I don’t like that term, because it doesn’t cover your bumper. It covers most everything on your RV. After that, you might have a five year policy on the engine and powertrain. Some of your items, you might have a generator that has a two year warranty, you might have a refrigerator that has a two year warranty.

Each component might have separate warranties coming from their manufacturer. If you buy it brand new, the cool thing is, is that you’re on a level playing field with everybody else. The warranty company takes into consideration your manufacturer’s warranty, and you get probably the best pricing out there on a per year basis.

When your factory warranty expires, then the extended warranty kicks in. I always like to tell people, just let them know, that it’s not like you’re paying for things that you’re not getting. They do take that into consideration when you buy the warranty. You can wait until your factory warranty is about to expire, it just gets a little bit more expensive.

NOTE: To get a free no-obligation quote from wholesale Warranties on when an extended warranty would cover and cost for your RV, go to https://wholesalewarranties.com/rvlifestyle/

Mike Wendland:

You don’t know, because each appliance has a different warranty, and you guys figure it. It does make sense for a new one. Does it make sense, I don’t want to cast dispersions about dealerships, but they all seem to want to push a certain product all the time. What advice do you give to consumers when they’re at the dealer and they’re buying and they say, “Here’s our extended warranty.” What should the consumers say then?

Shop around for the best deals

Most Expensive RV Repairs - read the contract
Read the contract!

Jeff Shelton:

I always say, make sure you get a contract, read through the contract and take a little bit of time, and at least try to get some competitive pricing on that.

Like you said, I don’t want to cast a negative cloud on them or anything, but there is a little bit more of an incentive to try to get the absolute cheapest program. If you don’t do the research, don’t read the contract, don’t look at the reviews, don’t understand exactly what you’re buying, or at least have some idea what you’re buying, a lot of times, it’ll just default to the cheapest program and try to make the most money up on the program. They typically don’t see you after it’s sold.

Mike Wendland:

Right. Shop around. Obviously, when you’re buying a used RV, whether it’s from a private seller or from a dealer, I think everybody says, “Well, that’s why I want to talk about an extended warranty.” How do those work? How are they priced? Are they priced according to the age of the RV? Give us a little education there.

Jeff Shelton:

Yeah, yeah. If you’re pricing out a used RV, obviously, you can get it through the dealership, but we also set up people with the used policies as well. We make sure that we do an inspection on it as well.

Another feature you can get with a company like us, is that you do get a free inspection with it.

Sometimes they’ll find things that might need a little bit of tweaking you can get from the dealership. That being aside, you should have a little bit of time. They’ll try to say, “Hey, you need to buy here, buy now.” You do typically have a couple of days, so at least try to get the actual policy so you can read through it, and make sure that you understand exactly what is, and also is not, covered.

Look for Exclusionary Policies

There are different levels of coverage that they might offer you. If you want to know what the most comprehensive policies are, the term that you’ll probably want to look for is exclusionary policies. Exclusionary policies, that means everything is going to be covered on your RV. They have to specifically tell you what is not covered.

The reason that I think a lot of people like those programs is because it’s when you take a look at a list of things that are covered, it’s very difficult to go through your RV and say, “Okay, I have that. Is that on the list? I have that.” To check off everything that you have and everything that’s on that list to understand what you’re getting, can be challenging.

The top level of coverage is always the exclusionary policy.

They are the most comprehensive. There’s some value to listing components as well, especially covering your engine and powertrain, if you just want to get that covered.

You get a list of your engine powertrain and maybe some breaking systems, chassis type of coverage, and all that is catastrophic to repair. Just make sure you understand the limitations of your warranty policy by reading that contract and maybe checking reviews online. Shop around, definitely try to get some quotes out there.

Mike Wendland:

Last question. Jeff Shelton, Wholesale Warranties, that’s the name of your company. Tell me a little bit about what that means. I call you, I’m buying an RV, do you then shop around to get the best rate? How does that work? Why should I call you guys?

Jeff Shelton:

Yeah, that’s what we do is, we work as a broker. We sell more policies than anybody out in the country. We’re the largest provider of direct, to consumer, extended warranties.

I call it Wholesale Warranties because that’s what we do. We work directly with the various providers. When we offer you a policy, typically, we don’t offer it because we are that company, we really vet these things out to make sure that they have the reputation that they want, that you’re going to be happy with, and the respect in the industry.

Also, we want to make sure that we work directly with the claims manager. If something gets denied and we feel that it should be covered, we want to make sure that we can actually go ahead and that covered for you. Call the claims manager, work on your behalf to make sure that everything’s covered according to the policy and your expectations.

You really want to under promise and over-deliver. We want to make sure that there’s a reasonable expectation to what exactly is, and also is not, covered. We don’t want to sell things with unrealistic expectations by any means.

Mike Wendland:

All right. Jeff Shelton, our guest from Wholesale Warranties. Thanks for giving us an education about the things we don’t want to have to go for.

Jeff Shelton:

Thank you so much for having me. Good to see you again.

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