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By: The Getaway Couple Rae & Jason

An RV can provide lots of fun and allow you to make great memories with your friends and family. However, most RV owners can agree that things aren’t quite as fun when it’s time to do repair work on your travel trailer or motorhome. While there are many things that could possibly go wrong with an RV, there are a few issues that are much more common than others.

Several factors affect the anticipated cost of each of these repairs. One of the biggest factors is whether you decide to tackle the repair yourself or take your RV to the repair shop. Either way, being educated about the issue and the repair itself is critical to getting the repair completed correctly and cost efficiently. Here are 5 of the most common RV repairs along with the likely cause of the issue and cost of repair.

1. Tire Blowouts

A tire blowout can completely derail your trip and cause costly damage to your RV. A blowout during your travel will at the very least delay your schedule, and it could potentially cause much more damage.

Likely Causes & Cost of Repair

One of the most likely causes of a tire blowout is improper pressure. You should always make sure that your tires are inflated properly prior to every trip. Temperature fluctuations can also cause the pressure in your tires to fluctuate, so it must be check regularly.

In addition, don’t forget to check the pressure in your spare. If you do have a blowout or flat, you want to make sure that your spare is ready to be used. This will make your delay as short as possible and get you back on the road quickly.

Another potential cause of a blowout is excessively worn tires. Make sure that you regularly check the tread life on your tires and visually inspect the tires for any bulges or signs of uneven wear. Many recreational vehicles come from the factory with low quality tires that are prone to fail. Regular checks will help to ensure that everything looks OK.

The cost to repair a blowout is generally low in the $100 - $200 range. You can typically replace an RV tire inexpensively; however, if the blowout causes other damage the cost can go up significantly. For example, if the tire blows out and enters the cabin of the vehicle, you may be looking at thousands of dollars in repairs.

Man under recreational vehicle changing tire
Not where you want to be spending your vacation. Tire safety and proper maintenance are key to preventing tire blowouts.

2. Leaky Roof

Water damage is one of the worst phrases an RV owner can hear. Undetected water leaks can lead to extensive water damage which may equal huge issues and repair bills. However, a leaky roof can often be repaired easily to prevent extensive damage.

Likely Causes & Cost of Repair

The most likely cause of a leaky roof is old and cracked sealant. Rubber RV roofs must be inspected and maintained at least once every year. This includes a thorough inspection of all the seals on and along the roof. Be sure to check around the shower skylight, bathroom vent, and any other places where there is sealant on the roof.

If you notice any cracks or holes in the sealant, they should be repaired immediately. If left alone, these issues will lead to water intrusion. Simply get a tube of self-leveling sealant for the flat seals and thoroughly cover the area.

The cost of this repair can vary widely. If you only need to purchase a tube of sealant and spread it on, you can fix this issue for about $15. However, should you need an entirely new roof or need to repair water damage caused by the leak, you are likely looking at a bill in the thousands.

Fixing a hole in a recreational vehicle with plaster
It’s important to repair any cracks or holes in sealant immediately.

3. RV Toilet Will Not Hold Water

RV toilets operate a little differently than their household counterparts, and they have some parts that wear out a little more quickly than your home toilet. A common issue with RV toilets is that they won’t hold water, and this is usually a straightforward fix.

Likely Causes & Cost of Repair

If your RV toilet will not hold water, it is most likely caused by a bad gasket. Over time, this gasket gets worn from the sliding back and forth as the toilet is flushed. If the gasket is no longer creating a strong seal, then water can get past the gasket and drip out of the toilet and into the black water tank.

Another potential sign of a bad gasket is an odor coming from the toilet. This gasket also helps create a seal that blocks smells and gases from the water tanks and prevents them from entering the RV. If this gasket no longer creates a great seal, then odor can enter the bathroom through the toilet.

Luckily, this repair is not very costly, especially if you can perform the work yourself. The seal can be purchased for about $15. Even though you will need to remove the toilet, you can find step by step instructions online to perform this repair, and you should be able to handle it with few issues.

RV Bathroom with toilet and sink
Thankfully, an RV toilet that doesn’t hold water is an easy fix.

4. Air Conditioner Does Not Cool

Most people cannot do without an air conditioner in their trailer, especially if they camp in warmer climates. There are a few things that can cause the A/C to stop cooling, and some of those issues are quite simple to fix.

Likely Causes & Cost of Repair

This issue is not one that should be repaired on your own unless you are familiar with electricity and are fully capable of performing the repair. If you’ve eliminated the simple causes, it may be time to take your rig to a professional for further diagnosis.

First, check the breakers and make sure that the A/C breaker hasn’t tripped. If it has, then it is likely as simple as flipping the breaker back on and the unit should start cooling again. Also, check the breaker at your shore power panel to make sure it hasn’t tripped. Some RV parks have more reliable electricity than others, and it is not uncommon for breakers at the campsites to trip.

Another issue that can cause the A/C to stop cooling is a bad thermostat. Again, you’ll want a professional to handle this issue, but a bad thermostat can usually be replaced for a couple hundred dollars. Finally, the A/C unit itself may be bad and need replacement. This is the worst-case scenario, with a new unit and installation usually running over $1,000.

Installing an air conditioner in a recreational vehicle
Check your AC for loose wires or a flipped breaker. If it’s anything more complicated, it might be time to bring in a professional.

5. No Battery Power

Running things like slideouts and jacks on battery power is essential when traveling and getting set up at your campsite. However, RV owners often find that nothing runs off the battery and they need to repair this issue.

Likely Causes & Cost of Repair

The most likely cause of this issue is a dead or bad battery. Many people do not disconnect their battery when the RV is not in use, and the battery gets drained and damaged. Another thing that people neglect is proper battery maintenance and ensuring that it stays filled with distilled water.

If the battery is simply dead or low, then charging the battery should take care of the issue. Plug into shore power and wait until the battery is fully recharged. This should return operation back to normal. Also, be sure to check the fluid level in the battery and make sure that it is full.

In some cases, the battery may need to be replaced. A new battery runs about $200 and can be easily replaced in less than an hour. After replacement, be sure to properly maintain the battery so that the new one does not get damaged. Consider installing a battery quick disconnect so that you can disconnect the battery when not in use. A disconnect kit can be purchased for as little as $10 and can help prevent a damaged battery.

Replacing or charging a recreational vehicle battery
You may need to replace a completely dead RV battery if you don’t properly take care of the one you have.

In summary, the key to ensuring your RV stays in tip-top shape is regular maintenance. When something does go wrong, just remember to stay calm and know there is always a solution. We hope you found these solutions helpful.

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