As full-time RVers, my wife, Jolene, and I dread the thought of our coach breaking down. But let’s face it – we’re driving a house on wheels, in a state of constant earthquakes. Things happen.
After a full season of work camping in Yellowstone, we encountered an issue upon leaving the park. During the season, I would start the coach and let it run every so often to ensure the engine remained in working condition. I’d even take an occasional drive around the camp area, staying within the posted 10 to 15 mph speed limit. At no time did these brief excursions hint at the hidden issue that getting ready to surprise me.
After packing up and preparing to leave, I discovered that my warm-up runs were about the maximum speed we were capable of. We had to be towed.
Are You Covered?
Towing service can be covered in a number of ways, including Good Sam RV Emergency Road Service®, Coach-Net® RV plans or your own vehicle insurance. When towing a motorhome, you’ll obviously need a well-qualified tow operator with the proper equipment and expertise. The nice thing about having RV tow coverage is that your provider will know which local tow companies can handle RVs.
Always make sure your tow operator is qualified to tow RVs.
In my case, there was an experienced RV tow driver in the gateway town. He arrived without delay, and hooked us up for a tow to Idaho Falls. (You’ll often find the nearest qualified repair facility won’t be around the corner, which is why it’s a good idea to maintain an emergency service plan with no tow mileage limits.)
Seek Service From Certified RV Specialists
Our breakdown turned out to be related to a fuel pump that was not delivering the necessary pressure. The repair shop in Idaho Falls was very professional; they allowed us to stay in the coach overnight and provided electricity. A new fuel pump was ordered, and arrived the following morning.
The mechanic had the tank dropped and old pump pulled as soon as the new pump was delivered. Even with a slight setback due to a difference in the wiring harness – a mid-year spec change – he was able to apply a small modification to make it work. We were back on the road that same afternoon! In fact, the coach has
been running better than it has in the last few trips. (The pump must have been getting tired. While it was still working on our previous journeys, it was not delivering the proper pressure.)
Even flat tire should be dealt with by a professional.
Expect the Unexpected
Despite the breakdown, we finished our trip on schedule, and only missed one of the stops we had planned. That brings me to another important point: The key to no-stress RV travel is flexibility! Always allow some padding in your travel plans; that way, you can spend a couple of extra days at a destination you particularly like, or account for repair time in the event of a malfunction.
Finally, to reiterate my earlier point, be sure to have some type of RV-specific emergency service coverage, no matter what. Whether you encounter a flat or need towing, keep in mind that RVs are big and highly complex vehicles. Even something as seemingly simple as a flat tire is beyond most of us – whether due to lack of a spare or the proper tools – so it’s not something you’ll want to deal with on your own. When it comes to resolving roadside issues, you’re best off leaving it to the experts.
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