RV Axle Problems - What To Do When This Happens!

Finding yourself at the repair shop on a trip is not our favorite way to spend our time on the road, but it is better than being stuck on the side of the road!

Nobody loves RV repairs.  And, these things never happen at a time that is convenient.  It is always when you are ready to hit the road for a highly anticipated trip.  Or better yet, the repair work takes longer and forces you to cancel just when you thought you could still go.  That is what happened to us this Easter.  I am both devastated and relieved.  Let me explain!

The old axles on our RV have been a problem since early on in our adventures.  We replaced 1 first and then ended up having to replace both!

RV Axle Problems - What To Do When This Happens!

I bet the first question you have is how we knew we had an axle problem.  Our camper was eating tires in the same place over and and over.  Since we were returning home from a trip and on our way to get our RV's annual inspection, we asked that the RV maintenance crew take a look and see if there was an issue with our axle.  

No surprisingly, we were told emphatically that "No, there is no issue with the axle.  Our guys put a level on it.  It is fine.  Check your weight."  Before I go further, this is not a post where I am bashing the RV industry, brands or RV dealers.  I just want to help others to advocate for themselves and not wind up in a pickle!

We already knew we needed new tires, so we left the RV repair place headed to purchase 4 new tires.  I recommend the Goodyear Endurance Tires for RVs.  The tire shop not only confirmed the axle was bent.  They recommended we take our RV immediately to a trailer guy they recommended to have it repaired.  

Picking up our RV from our repair work was a banner day for us.  Now we can get back to doing what we love!

Okay.  So done.  But if you are given bad or wrong advice, I do encourage anyone to go back and tell the dealership what you discover and express your frustrations.  I will never buy an RV from that dealership after this.  I don't trust their maintenance work and feel strongly about going somewhere that I can trust the work.  Don't wait for you to get into a big ole mess before you change dealerships and RV repair work.  Make it clear why you aren't coming back.  There is a tactful way to do this.  In my instance, I simply told them what the tire shop told me and showed me with the bent axle.  I went on to tell the dealership that if they didn't want to repair the axle or didn't know how that this should have been stated other than telling me there was not an issue.  Their advice was dangerous and could have been really costly.  While they apologized for the error, its just too late.  And, they have lost my trust.

Moving right along.  If you have axle issues with your trailer, call a trailer guy or someone that works on big trucks and big axles.  Trust me and keep reading here.  Other veteran RV owners will encourage you to do the same.

Repairs like this are not typically handled easily but you cannot give up.  I took two avenues.  I first reached out to Grand Design.  They did not want to touch the first warranty issue and with the first axle that bent on our RV.  They claimed it was no longer under warranty.  We had the axle replaced out of pocket in January of 2021.  

The old axles just didn't work over the long haul and both had to go.

Even with a new axle, we ran into the same issue a year later, I reached out to Grand Design a second time.  Again, they didn't want to touch this.  I also called the trailer guy that made our first repair.  He felt that the axles were not rated for enough weight and that the pipes on the axles were just not heavy enough for the job.  I pleaded by case with Grand Design to no avail.  However, after several emails, they did encourage me to contact Dexter.  Dexter is who made the actual axles and parts.  

Even though I am still frustrated with Grand Design, Dexter handled this situation quickly and professionally.  They were polite and prompt.  After providing all of the documentation and information, they decided to provide two new axles at an upgraded weight and paid for the shipping and freight.  We would be responsible for paying for the labor to have these parts installed.  

It is 100% worth it to contact the manufacturer of the RV and the parts themselves to solve a warranty issue that you have.  Sure it may seem like double the work, but it saved us over $1000.  Our initial quote for upgraded axles out of pocket was $1380.  After Dexter provided the new axles and wheel assemblies, we were only out of pocket $214 for the actual labor of installation.  That is huge!  

The new axles are a huge improvement.  They are much more robust, and we have high hopes for better trips ahead!

What I would encourage you to do in the meantime regardless of you having axle issues or not is putting your RV on a CAT scale.  Every tire guy we talked to during this process of tires going bad and all the rest of it, the issue of weight came up.  You could easily be over your tow weight rating and never know it unless you put your RV on a scale.  The next time you pass a large truck stop, put your RV on a scale and weigh it just to be sure.  It is hard on the frame of your RV, the axles and tires.  Its just dangerous.  We were not over our limit thankfully, and we were able to rule this out.  But, don't get into that situation.  The money you will pay to weigh your RV can be a huge peace of mind in the end.  It costs less than $15 to do this.  So worth it!

Also, keep all of your documentation.  Take photos of everything showing tire wear, underneath your RV to show damage and bowing of your axles, front and back RV pictures to document your RV and more.  I kept all of these things along with an uploaded picture of the CAT Scale weight, estimate from the trailer guy and more in my Google Drive so that I could easily email and provide documentation needed.  You will also need things like your RV VIN number, purchase date, and make and model. You will also need the serial numbers of the axles themselves.  There is a sticker on them with this information that you can provide for warranty work if needed.  Keep everything handy.  Be prepared to submit multiple times and formats.  But it can take a costly repair and remove some of the burden from you.  

RV Manufacturers are slow to admit guilt or blame in issues like this.  With small leaks and warranty issues, Grand Design paid quickly and was great to deal with.  For more complicated structural issues, I got no help or support.  Sure the price point was much different, and the customer service matched the price.  I was really disappointed with their service team in the end.  And I work in an industry where warranties and claims can be costly.  So, I get it.  But, I am also entitled to being disappointed with less that adequate customer service.  Maybe they will address this.  And, maybe they feel that they did all that they could do.  In this economy, there are so many costly variables that is hard to lay all of the blame at their doorstep.

I've never been happier to back this girl down our driveway!

The manufacturer of the equipment/parts did step up to the plate quickly and were great to work with.  I can't say one bad thing about my experience with Dexter. They were willing to work with us on a solution that worked for both parties.  And, our trailer guy said that the new axles were a great improvement to the previous ones.  He felt like the two new and upgraded axles would serve us well over time.  I hope he is right!

If you are in a warranty quandary, don't give up easily.  State your case.  Share the appropriate documentation.  Handle yourself professionally even when you don't get the results you want.  After all, we live in a capitalist country.  And that means you can put your money where you mouth is.  I plan to do that with our next RV purchase.  Not because I have an axe to grind but because I'm a good customer.  I want good customer service.  And, I can shop elsewhere to get it.  

RV's are like any other investment, you have to take care of them.  But, the fun and adventures on the road is worth every bit of it.  Until next time...happy camping!

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    1. I am sorry that you are experiencing this, and hopefully you can get it repaired soon! Happy camping!


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