Kellie and I have recently had our 2018 Kodiak into the service department for a few minor warranty repairs. I read countless articles and posts about the shortage of RV parts and the nightmares other people are facing trying to get their repairs completed in a timely manner. When it happened to us, I did some research to see if what the dealership is telling me is the case.
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The minor repairs were, the bathroom faucet wasn’t working properly, the awning began to “click” as it was being extended, and the A/C wasn’t cooling. Those repairs were completed within the first week of dropping it off. The A/C was in stock so there was no need for additional RV parts.
The Challenge Begins
Those were the “easy” repairs. We also needed to have one of the stabilizer arms replaced. We don’t have the scissor type arms, we have the Style C. It was damaged while we were on a camping trip to Sommerville Marina. You can check that story out here. The first time we called, we were told that the part was on order and it would be there the following week. (We heard that same line week after week). We called back the next week and got the same response, “next week”.
This was all going on during the week-long freeze and power outage that Texas encountered mid- February. I gave them the benefit of the doubt for that week. The following week we were told that they shipped the part during the freeze and had to return it to the “drop shipper”.
Long story short, we picked up our Kodiak without the stabilizer replacement and talked with the warranty manager before leaving. She insisted all the confusion was internal to the service department, which sounded like one hand not talking to the other hand. Everything worked out in the end and we were told that if we find the stabilizer before the backorder arrives, we will be reimbursed the cost.
Why Are RV Parts Hard to Find?
During the 2020 lockdown, families were still wanting to get out and enjoy time with their families. Airline travel and resort type vacations were out of the question. This caused a surge in RV sales and rentals. People just felt safer vacationing in an RV. Several RV parks that would usually close for the winter months were staying open to accommodate the increase in reservations. This surge, coupled with factories being short-handed or closed completely due to sick employees, caused a shortage of RV’s and yes, RV parts. Where Are The RV Parts?
So, what happened to the RV industry? Where are all the RV parts? After speaking with a parts department employee, RV parts manufacturers are back ordered for months. This in part is due to the 2020 lockdowns. The parts that are manufactured in China are sitting in shipping containers waiting to be shipped. A lot of the shipping vessels have yet to be reactivated from the shutdowns.
While most RV’s are made here in the U.S., the parts are manufactured overseas. RV dealerships are having trouble keeping up with inventory as well. Brand new RV’s are sitting at the factory waiting on just a few parts to finish. The service manager stated that the RV manufacturers are keeping what parts they DO have for the new units, not for warranty repairs. We were able to find our stabilizer jack on Amazon, but our warranty would not cover aftermarket parts, only OEM parts.
The Future Of The RV Industry
There is a lot of buzz going around that once everything opens back up, there will be more used RV’s coming on the market in 2021. Why? Many new RV purchases in 2020 were due to the lockdowns. As a result, The people who bought an RV and either didn’t like it, or as airline travel and resorts begin to be more popular, they will be selling. What does this mean for you? If you are looking to upgrade or know someone in the market, it may be a great time to land a slightly used RV at a premium price.
I have no doubt that the RV industry will bounce back. There is a community of people that love to travel. In my opinion, an RV is the only way to go. If you are waiting for repairs, be patient. I am one of the most impatient people I have ever met. So, Kellie has to remind me of this fact from time to time. The parts will come, the factories will get caught back up, and everything will be just fine.