Does the Lemon Law Apply to RVs?

Buying an RV is a big purchase, and you want to do everything you can to avoid making a bad investment.

Many consumers are aware of the various laws designed to protect buyers when purchasing passenger vehicles. However, RVs are not passenger vehicles, and the rules and regulations can be confusing.

So, can RV protection laws help you avoid a costly financial mistake?

Today, we’re looking at the various laws and protections available to consumers when buying an RV. Unfortunately, what we found out might surprise you! So let’s get started!

What are “Lemon Laws”?

So-called “Lemon Laws” are state laws that provide consumers with legal protection for defective products. They apply specifically to vehicles that fail to meet certain quality and performance standards.

The laws vary from state to state, but generally provide for replacement or refund if the manufacturer cannot correct the problem after a certain number of attempts.

Vehicle recall laws are designed to protect consumers from being stuck with a defective vehicle. They also ensure that manufacturers are responsible for producing and selling products that meet basic quality and reliability standards.

If your vehicle qualifies, you should check your state’s lemon law and consult an attorney who specializes in this issue.

Why is it called a lemon law?

The term “lemon” has been used for more than 100 years to describe products of inferior quality. Many believe that the term “lemon” originated in Great Britain and appeared in the American vocabulary in the early 1900s.

However, in the 1960s, the term was adopted by consumers to describe worthless vehicles.

Some believe that the term comes from the popular saying, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” The idiom means to make the best of a bad situation, with lemons representing the bad situation. Investing in a worthless vehicle would certainly be a bad situation.

The final theory as to why they are called lemon laws refers to a lemon shaped symbol used by car dealers.

Those who subscribe to this theory claim that dealers use the symbol to identify trade-in vehicles with serious problems or defects. Dealers may not want to buy the vehicle until it has been thoroughly inspected.

Do the “Lemon Laws” apply to motor homes?

In our research, we found that only seven states give mobile home owners the same rights as owners of regular passenger vehicles. In addition, 19 states have lemon laws, but they do not extend to the living area that makes the vehicle a mobile home.

The other half of states exclude motorized recreational vehicles from lemon laws entirely. But what about towable RVs?

Unfortunately, the news is no better for towable RVs in terms of lemon laws. Generally, in states that cover towable RVs, only the chassis applies. These laws do not cover appliances or features that make the RV habitable.

If you’re buying a used RV, you’ll need to cross your fingers that you get a transferable warranty.

Which states have a right of rescission for motorhomes with trailers?

Unfortunately, the only states that clearly have lemon laws apply to towable RVs are Connecticut and Texas. About half the states in the country offer some for towable RVs.

However, there may be restrictions based on whether the trailer was sold, registered or manufactured in that state.

States that have lemon laws for mobile home trailers include California, Delaware, Washington D.C., Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas and Kentucky.

They also include Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, and North Dakota.

Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming also have some RV laws. However, the rules and regulations are constantly changing.

Since lemon laws vary from state to state, you need to check the laws that apply to you. You should not wait until you have already purchased a vehicle to find that it is exempt from the laws.

Tips to avoid buying a “Lemon RV.

Fortunately, there are a handful of things consumers can do to avoid buying a “Lemon RV.”

Below are some tips we’ve discovered to help you make an informed decision when buying an RV.

Hire an inspector

Hiring an RV inspector can cost you hundreds of dollars, but they are worth every penny. These experts will inspect the various components of your RV and look for any potential problems.

They usually check the electrical system, plumbing and slides. And they look for obvious signs of mechanical problems that could become your problem once you sign on the dotted line.

Whether you buy the vehicle from a dealer or privately, the seller should have no problem with you hiring an outside inspector.

If this is the case, it could be a clear sign that the seller is trying to hide something or rip you off. You should walk away from these deals as soon as possible.

Remember: This RV dealer refused access to the buyer’s inspector! Click on the link to learn more about what happened.

Educate yourself

Not only do you need to hire an inspector, but you also need to educate yourself. It is normal for RVs to have problems, even if they are brand new.

You need to familiarize yourself with the various components of your RV to know what can and cannot be repaired. Knowing what to look for and what to look out for will help you spot small problems before they become big ones.

When you spend $20,000, $50,000 or even $100,000 on an RV, it’s not something to take lightly. If you do your research, you can tell when an offer sounds too good to be true.

A savvy buyer will proceed with caution when they find their dream RV at a deeply discounted price. Otherwise, take a look at RV lemon laws to cover yourself.

Check the tire date and condition.

When checking all the equipment and features of an RV, it can be easy to overlook the tires. However, you must check the date and condition of the tires.

Tires with abnormal or uneven tread wear can be a sign of a potential problem. You don’t want to take your new RV directly to the shop.

The condition of the tires is also important. If the tires are nearing the end of their life, you may have a blowout before they are replaced.

A blown tire can cause tremendous damage to an RV. We have seen RV owners suffer thousands of dollars worth of repairs from a single blown tire.

Close-up of someone checking their RV tire for the lemon law.

Know your warranties

When you buy an RV, you need to know what warranties come with the vehicle. Unfortunately, you can’t rely on the seller’s word when it comes to what warranties are transferred.

Take the time to do thorough research. Some RV owners have purchased used RVs and found that the manufacturer’s warranty is not transferable.

Fortunately, many of the appliances in your RV come with a warranty. Separate warranties apply to the water heater, microwave and refrigerator.

Since replacing these appliances can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars, you should know what and how much else the warranty covers.

Things inside your RV may not be covered by the RV warranty.

Remember: Are you considering buying an RV park? Before you make your purchase, take a look at whether buying an RV park is a good investment.

Look for maintenance records

It’s a good sign if the seller has detailed maintenance records. If this is the case, you can be sure that the owner has taken good care of the vehicle.

Does this mean you can expect the rig to work properly? Not at all.

However, if they have followed the recommended maintenance schedule, this may reduce your fears of buying a lemon.

Protect yourself by knowing the RV Lemon Laws.

You need to do everything you can to protect yourself from making a bad purchase. Knowing the RV lemon laws where you live is a good first step.

Buying an RV can be exciting as you dream about your future adventures. However, don’t get so caught up in your feelings that you lose touch with reality. It is a major purchase that you must make wisely.

If you can lean on the lemon law when something is wrong, that will be helpful.

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