When you’re buying an RV, your state’s lemon laws vary when it comes to fixing defective recreational vehicles. In fact, in the United States, most states’ lemon laws don’t protect you against problems with your RV if they are over a certain weight or don’t have to do with the vehicle’s drive train. Learn about how your state’s lemon laws cover your RV.
Why are RV Lemon Laws Different From Those for Other Autos?
RV lemon laws tend to be different because of how RVs are constructed. Unlike many cars, trucks, vans, and SUVs, which are mass-produced, RVs are often assembled by hand. Also, the parts are typically made by several different companies whereas most other vehicles have the majority of their parts coming from a single manufacturer.
So, this means that the chassis can be made by an auto maker, while the body and living area are made by one or more other companies. This means that there isn’t a single manufacturer that can be held responsible for vehicle defects. In the past, this meant state lemon laws didn’t want to deal with figuring out who to hold responsible and they simply didn’t cover RVs.
Every US State Lemon Laws Now Covers RVs... To a Point
In the past, only a handful of US states had lemon laws that covered RV’s. But with the growing popularity of RVs, states now have been expanding what their RV lemon laws actually cover. This is no longer the case. In every US state, any and all defects in an RV must be repaired within a “reasonable” number of chances in a “reasonable” amount of time. This is good news.
However, know your state’s lemon laws well. You can do this by just doing a search for “(Your State) RV Lemon Laws” in your favorite search engine and it should come up. Some state RV lemon laws have restriction. In some states, only the living areas are covered and in other states, only the chassis (drivetrain) is covered. Also, some states limit coverage by your RV’s weight. So, you’ll have to read the entire state’s lemon law to find out what exactly is covered.
What US States Offer the Best and Worst Lemon Laws?
The good thing for consumers is that there is an online resource that lists all 50 US states and what each state’s RV lemon laws cover. This list from Lemonlaw.com is current as of 2018 and lists a summary for the RV lemon laws in each US state. Some states are very limited on what they will consider under a lemon law. For example, Arizona only covers RVs under 10,000 lbs! Of course, you still want to read your individual state’s lemon laws in their entirety.
How Can I Minimize the Risks of Buying a Lemon RV?
Besides knowing what your state covers when it comes to buying RVs and buying accordingly, there are other ways to protect yourself in the case that you do end up buying a lemon RV.
First of all, examine the warranties that are offered with RVs you’re considering purchasing very carefully. If you feel that the warranty isn’t good enough, and your state’s lemon laws won’t cover certain things, you may want to consider purchasing an extended warranty for your RV.
Next, make sure you do some research on the past reliability of the class and manufacturer of each RV you may want to purchase. Some classes of RVs experience certain kinds of problems more than others, and certain manufacturers are known to have difficulty with certain parts failing than others. If you find that a manufacturer or type of vehicle has problems that won’t be covered under lemon laws or that vehicle’s warranty, you may want to consider purchasing a different RV.
Another precaution you can take is to ensure that the vehicle carries a RVIA seal. This seal from the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association means that the RV manufacturer belongs to an RV industry group which requires its members to meet a set of safety standards. Those standards include a list of five hundred items. This gives you peace of mind that the quality control of the RV you are buying is very good.
So, when buying a new RV take all of these precautions in mind. Do your research on your state lemon laws and what RVs could potentially be lemons more than others. You’re buying your RV to enjoy weekend getaways, long vacations, and potentially even full time RV living.
The last thing you want is to be spending your vacation at home - or worse at a motel - while your RV is in the repair shop. Be sure that you know what protection there is for you if you do buy a lemon RV. Get the best RV for you and go and have fun!