A fact of traveling by RV: breakdowns

By Chris Dougherty
Chris Dougherty is a certified RV technician.

Breakdowns happen no matter what form of “transportation” you use. Whether it’s a car, plane, cruise ship, yacht or RV, there’s always the possibility you could get stuck on your vacation. As Forrest Gump said, “It happens.”

I have had a number of breakdowns over the years and have taken them in stride. I must admit that I usually deal with them all myself, but in the early days I was as dependent on RV technicians and tow trucks as many of my customers have been dependent on me – which is a sentiment I take seriously, by the way.

So how do you deal with the ever-present specter of the dreaded breakdown?

1. Be prepared. If you are good at repairing mechanical things, have tools with you that will help you take care of the problem. Have a good RV repair and maintenance guide with you, or online resources to give you the information you need to do the repair. Have a plan for a breakdown that includes things you will need to do, including finding a place to stay, calling your destination to postpone your arrival, and so on.

2. Use a roadside assistance plan. These are particularly useful in getting a tow, RV service, lodging and so on. These companies, which include AAA, Coach-Net, Good Sam Roadside Assistance and more, have enormous resources at their fingertips to help you from the moment of breakdown to the moment you’re back on the road.

3. Extended service plans (ESPs) for RVs are a great safety net for many RVers. I always recommend ESPs for RVs, especially larger and more complex motorhomes.

4. Have an open mind, and try to consider the breakdown as part of the adventure! Most places where you’re stuck have things to see nearby.



2 Thoughts to “A fact of traveling by RV: breakdowns”

  1. Alex

    To be fully prepared for all eventualities, a motor home owner should be aware of proper towing requirements for their unit. Towing company operators can’t always know the peculiarities of every design out there. For example, some smaller Class C vehicles are very low with long overhang which would be in contact with the road if the front end was lifted by the “hook and tow” method. Some are also so tall, that they must be transported on a “low boy” trailer or risk contact with an overpass.

  2. Jim Guld

    We had several breakdowns in our 14 years full-time. Most were quickly resolved and we were on our way. A couple, though, happened to take some time. The last event was wonderful. We were able to make last-minute reservations for the train to the Grand Canyon and overnight at the El Tovar Lodge. Talk about making lemonade out of lemons!

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