What Does a Mobile RV Service Technician Actually Do?

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In our article, “What’s the Difference Between a Certified and a Registered Technician?” we discussed the different levels of RV technician certification from the independent issuing bodies of the NRTVA/RVTAA, RVTI/RVDA, and RVSA.

But that still leaves an important question: Just what does an RV service technician actually do? What kind of services can a certified mobile RV tech provide?

Much like a residential “contractor” or an automobile “mechanic,” an RV “technician” is an umbrella term. One technician may only perform routine maintenance, while the next specializes in roofing, and yet another only repairs HVAC equipment. Still other technicians may crossover into two or three categories.

We recommend directly asking your RV repair technician what is the scope of work they perform. No one does it all – or at least no one does it all well! 

Before we dive in! If you’re curious what Sterling RV Services offers, check out our Rates & Services page and our FAQ page. The quick summary is that, as of 2023, we specialize in appliances and system diagnostics and repair with a side emphasis on roofing. We also offer generator diagnostics and off-grid solar power installations.

1. Inspections & Consultations

A mobile RV service technician may offer generic inspections and consultations. Entry-level technicians hired by RV manufacturers and RV dealerships are often first assigned to conduct PDIs (Pre-Delivery Inspections) and customer walkthroughs.

However, for an in-depth quality inspection of an RV before purchasing or selling, we recommend contacting an NRVIA-certified RV Inspector for a top-to-bottom inspection complete with photographs and written report.

2. Preventative Maintenance

A mobile RV service technician may offer routine and preventative maintenance services. These are handyman-type tasks, where common jobs include:

  • Air conditioner coil cleaning
  • Roof cleaning and conditioning
  • Furnace cleaning
  • Winterization
  • De-winterization
  • Slide-out seal conditioning
  • Exterior cleaning and detailing
  • Battery electrolyte refill

Many entry-level service technicians specialize in preventative maintenance. They may offer annual care contracts, seasonal specials, or campground discounts. These technicians often work part-time or seasonally, and not all are certified.

3. Construction & Renovations

A mobile RV repair technician may offer construction and renovation services. These are contractor-type tasks. Common jobs include:

  • Slide-out floor replacement
  • Subfloor patch and repair
  • Cabinetry re-painting
  • Re-plumbing water lines
  • Reupholstering furniture
  • RV countertop installation
  • Flooring installation
  • Roof resealing, recoating, or replacing

Most RV service technicians will offer some – but not all! – of these services. Some technicians or RV service centers may specialize in only one niche, such as upholstery, flooring, roofing, or painting. After all, painting cabinets is a wholly different tool and skill┬áset than replacing a roof!

4. Systems & Appliance Repair

A mobile RV service technician may offer diagnostics and repair services for RV appliances and onboard systems, including electrical, water, hydraulics, etc. You can spot this technician a mile away because they always carry a multimeter and a pack of screwdrivers! Covered systems include:

  • Furnaces
  • Water heaters: tankless and conventional
  • Air conditioners and heat pumps
  • Slide-out room systems
  • Awnings
  • Refrigerators: absorption and residential/compressor
  • Leveling systems: electric and hydraulic

Most RV service technicians will offer some – but not all! – of these services. Many will specialize in 1-3 systems. For example, one tech might strictly work on air conditioners and furnaces, while another may choose slide-outs and leveling systems. Some of this work, such as replacing an awning, requires 2-3 people.

Note that there are some proprietary systems, such as the Aqua-Hot hydronic water heater or Truma Combi furnace/water heater, which are best left to Certified technicians with OEM training.

5. Specialized Services

There are several services that fall outside the purview of the typical RV service technician.

Generators

Diagnosing and repairing generators is a specialized skill that requires knowledge of small engine design, alternators, and petroleum-based fuels like gasoline, diesel, and propane.

Off-Grid Power & Solar

Installing off-grid power systems, including solar panels and deep-cycle batteries, is a specialized skill that requires in-depth electrical knowledge. Designing an off-grid power system is a optimization problem balancing space, weight, capacity, speed, storage, aesthetics, and cost.

Collision Repair & Bodywork

Collision repair and bodywork are specialized skills that require years of meticulous practice to master. They are usually best performed in a shop environment. Common tasks include:

  • Painting, buffing and polishing
  • Sidewall delamination repair
  • Fiberglass crack repair
  • Trim replacement and repair

Chassis & Frame Repair

Chassis and frame repair is a service that usually requires welding equipment, a shop environment, specialized insurance, and years of experience. In lieu of an RV dealership, truck n’ trailer service centers are often able to repair RV suspensions and frame damage.

Engine & Transmission Repair

Diagnostics and repair of anything in the powertrain of a motorhome, such as the engine and transmission, is best left to an ASE-certified mechanic. If possible, find a shop that specializes in your chassis manufacturer’s products, whether from Ford, Spartan, Freightliner, Mercedes-Benz, etc.