Thursday, May 23,2024 6:07 am EDT

How to avoid a Lemon RV (and what RV Lemon laws are in place if you have one)

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RVing is getting increasingly popular, and more people are buying recreational vehicles (RVs). Purchasing an RV or a motor home is an important decision which requires deliberation and thorough financial planning. You either buy a new or used RV, but you pay a considerable sum for both. RVs can be an excellent addition for those who enjoy spending time in their home away from home and exploring the great outdoors. RVs are now more expensive but also more complex than ever before. Not only RVs of various models and make are rolling off the manufacturer’s lot with serious problems but used RVs may have different issues and defects. Therefore, one may end up buying a lemon RV. Detecting lemon vehicles is frequently difficult, which leads buyers to spend more money on maintenance and repair. Therefore, the buyer needs to inspect new or used RVs to avoid having lemon RV.

A Lemon RV- When Considered Lemon

Buying a lemon RV is commonly referred to as the purchase of a regular vehicle that is a lemon vehicle. A new RV with several defects and issues straight from the manufacturer can also be a lemon RV. An RV is considered faulty or lemon, firstly when it must still be under warranty but has faced two failed attempts at fixing an issue. Secondly, the RV must have been deemed unable to drive due to the issues. Lastly, the RV started showing problems within the first 18 months or 18,000 miles. There is a shakedown period for new RVs at the beginning of ownership, during which manufacturing defects become visible and require repair.

How to Avoid a Lemon RV

If you buy a new RV, use it and all its systems thoroughly within the warranty period. It will ensure the surfacing of all defects, and you will have enough time to get them repaired. There is not much you can check when buying a brand-new RV, but there are some key aspects you must consider to avoid purchasing a lemon RV.

Have the RV Professionally Inspected

Whether buying an RV from a private party or a dealership, get the RV professionally inspected. The most important thing you can do in purchasing any RV is to hire an RV inspector, as certified RV inspectors have highly trained eyes and can alert you to potential problems you may overlook.

Check for Water Damage 

Water damage is like a silent killer for RVs. It causes damage to the wood and interior structure of RV and mould growth which is dangerous to human health. You can check water damage by pushing interior/exterior walls, pressing the ceiling, and walking around in the RV on the floor and basement storage compartment.

Check Condition & Age of Tires

Tires are one of an RV’s most critical safety features. Tires should be at most five years old. Besides, the condition and visual inspection of the tires also ensure checking their age. Tire problems can cause hidden issues and blowouts due to which one can get in trouble in future. If tires are in bad condition, it means life or death and costly repair. 

Test All Systems and Appliances

Make sure all the appliances and systems work when considering buying an RV. Systems and appliances which must be tested are the kitchen system (microwave, fridge, stove and hot water), plumbing (all faucets work, no leaks), testing levellers and slides(opening & closing smooth) and testing climate system(AC and heaters work).

Check the Condition of the Roof

One aspect that the buyers generally overlook is not checking the RV roof for damage or cracks. Water damage is one of the main things which cause an RV lemon, and the roof is the first point of entry. Walk on the RV roof if the roof is of EDPM or TPO material to look for soft spots and water damage.

Other Smart Actions

Taking your RV on a test drive, inspecting the engine and checking previous maintenance records will also facilitate you in avoiding an RV lemon.

Lemon Laws  

As for other vehicles, lemon laws also exist for RVs. In the US, all 50 states have their own set of lemon laws, and these rules differ from state to state. So knowing the lemon law of the state where you are and that your RV is a lemon is essential.

What to Do If You Have a Lemon RV

To either get rid of or fix your lemon RV, you must consider the following:  

What Do You Want the RV Manufacturer to Do

The first thing is to decide what you want to settle your dispute? Do you want a buyback or a replacement, or just some money? Generally, you are entitled to get back all your loan payments, down payment, trade-in vehicle’s value, and any permanent improvements you made to the RV and make the manufacturer pay off the loan.

Contacting the Dealer Using Different Communications Methods

By using various methods like reaching out on the telephone, sending written letters by certified US mail, private courier and email. Do this daily and constantly until you receive a satisfactory response.

Keep a log of interaction with the dealer

Keep a record and a diary of all the communication and interaction done with the manufacturer or the dealer. This will help you in your case even later if you decide to hire an attorney. 

Contact the state or provincial attorney general’s consumer protection division

You will receive a copy of the letter they send to the dealer, asking for an explanation of why they are not complying with your requests. The response will help you understand how to argue the case.

Be firm

Let the dealer know you are not going away by remaining calm and reasonable with your language.

 It is imperative to know the steps to take when buying an RV and when to avoid or deal with a Lemon RV.


Team, T. D. & V. (2021, March 12). How to avoid an RV lemon (and your legal rights). Drivin’& Vibin’. Retrieved January 22, 2023 

Mcmillan, J. (2022, April 13). How to avoid buying a lemon motorhome? our California Lemon Law attorney explains. McMillan Law Group. Retrieved January 22, 2023 

Jennings, J. (n.d.). Jennifer Jennings, author at Camper Report. Camper Report. Retrieved January 22, 2023

How to get rid of your lemon RV. Burdge Law Office. (2021, August 16). Retrieved January 22, 2023 

Agredano, R. (2019, January 17). Get RV Lemon law protection with just nine words. RV LIFE. Retrieved January 22, 2023

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