Owning an RV is an exciting experience, but it can be a costly one, too. In addition to typical running costs, maintaining an RV can often feel like maintaining a second home. A Class A motorhome can easily weigh almost ten tons, a significant amount of weight that puts a significant amount of strain on the vehicle's mechanical components. This combination of home features and high mechanical load means that any number of things can go wrong, often leaving you to contend with frightening repair bills.

It can be tempting to try to save a few dollars by fixing problems yourself, but there are a few signs that it's time to ask RV repair services for help. 

Transmission Troubles

Like any other vehicle, RVs rely on a transmission to control the transfer of power from the engine to the wheels. Of course, a typical passenger vehicle's transmission only needs to contend with a few thousand pounds of weight. A motorhome may weigh several times as much and put a considerable amount of strain on the transmission. RV engineers account for this load when designing the powertrain, but that doesn't mean that it isn't possible to overstress the transmission. Towing a heavy trailer behind your RV over steep grades can quickly overheat the transmission, burning transmission fluid or even causing permanent damage. Slippage, grinding, or clunky shifts are all signs of trouble that require immediate professional evaluation.

Engine Overheating

It's fun to imagine yourself as the roadside hero who can pop the hood, unfurl a roll of duct tape, and solve any mechanical issue. Unfortunately, reality tends to be less romantic. A modern RV is as complex as any other vehicle engine, and that can make it difficult to determine the underlying cause of an overheating issue. Remember that your engine has a specific set of safe operating temperatures, and exceeding the maximum temperature is likely to result in permanent and costly damage. If your RV is overheating, don't chance it. Get your vehicle into a shop immediately before a $5 cracked hose leads to several thousand dollars of engine damage.

Electrical Issues

Electrical gremlins try to diagnose any vehicle. With your RV, there are some simple diagnostic steps that any do-it-yourselfer can typically handle, such as checking for blown fuses or bad batteries. If these common causes aren't the source of your problem, then calling on professional help is usually a good idea. Professional assistance is especially valuable when dealing with the 120-volt "house" electrical system that powers appliances inside the RV. This system is similar to the electrical system in your home, making it both dangerous and complicated for an amateur to repair.

Bad batteries, minor plumbing issues, and even some simple mechanical problems are all within easy reach of the typical do-it-yourselfer. Taking care of these small problems on your own is a great way to save some money and learn more about your RV. For more severe issues, however, calling on professional help is often the best way to ensure the long-term reliability of your RV.