Going on a trip?
RVs are covered by the Lemon Law, similar to cars, but with a few important differences.
What is the Same?
The California Lemon Law applied to “new motor vehicles” – that is, motorized cars, trucks, and certain components of an RV, such as the chassis, chassis cab and powertrain or propulsion system.
“New motor vehicles” means both brand spanking new vehicles and used vehicles that still have the remainder of the manufacturer’s warranty. The Lemon Law provides for certain consumer protections, including buy-back of defective vehicles if the defect substantially affects the use, value or safety and has not been repaired after four attempts (in most cases) or after more than 30 cumulative days in the shop.
The California Lemon Law covers vehicles purchased in California, even if they are repaired out of state, but does not cover vehicles purchased in a different state.
What is Different?
Cars are typically manufactured by one company. RVs are typically manufactured by two (or more) companies. The chassis of the RV is commonly manufactured by one company, such as Freightliner, and the living space (or “box”) is typically manufactured by a different company, such as Newmar. It is important to know whether the defect has manifested in the chassis or the box. If there is a water leak, it commonly occurs due to defects in the box. If the floor is bowed, or there is an alignment problem, or there is a concern with the power train, it commonly occurs due to defects in the chassis. Of course, there could be defects in both the chassis and the box at the same time, related or unrelated.
Is the “Box” Covered?
Yes! The California Lemon Law covers all manner of consumer goods purchased for personal, family or household use. This includes the living area of an RV.
Are Fifth Wheels and Travel Trailers Covered?
Yes! Non-motorized trailers are also covered under the California Lemon Law.
How Much Time do You Have to File a Claim?
You must bring a Lemon Law claim within four years of when you knew or should have known of the defect. This rule is a bit nebulous so do not wait! There are many factors to consider when evaluating a Lemon Law case, which may take additional time to have your RV inspected or additional repair attempts or any number of other matters to attend to. The best thing you can do is get your RV inspected or repaired as soon as you notice a defect and be sure to get the repairs or inspection in writing. Take pictures and/or a video of the problem, especially if it is intermittent. You have invested a substantial amount of money into your RV, so be persistent.