Defective Motor Homes and Other Recreational Vehicles

Do you own a new motor home or other recreational vehicle that is still under warranty but has defects? If so, you may have a case covered by California's lemon law. The same law that applies to other vehicles may apply to your problem as well. If it does, the lemon law provides that when a manufacturer, through its authorized service or repair facilities, can’t repair the vehicle in conformance to the existing warranty, then the vehicle must be replaced or the buyer reimbursed for the price of the vehicle less a deduction for use.

In order to qualify under the lemon law, the defects must be covered by the express warranty and have substantially impaired the use, value or safety of the vehicle. The vehicle must be presented to an authorized representative of the manufacturer for repair, and the manufacturer or his representative did not repair the nonconformity after a reasonable number of repair attempts. Also, in the case of a motor home or recreational vehicle, the defects may be covered by the implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose, depending on the circumstances.

With a motor home, you likely have a manufacturer's bumper-to-bumper warranty that lasts only a year. Therefore, if you are having problems, it is paramount that you return the motor home for repairs as soon as you can. You then may also have multiple other component-specific warranties that cover all different parts of the motor home. You should retain and catalog these warranties so that you can ensure that you are not paying for repairs that are covered by warranty.

You must give the manufacturer an opportunity to repair the problem. Don’t take the motor home or recreational vehicle to your local mechanic. Only an authorized repair facility can perform warranty work. Be aggressive with the repair facility. Make sure the service representative writes down each and every complaint you have about the motor home or recreational vehicle on the repair order and that you get a copy of the repair order upon leaving it at the dealer. You also need to obtain a copy of the repair invoice upon picking up the vehicle. It is helpful if you get the business card or write down the names of any employees at the dealership you talked to about the problem with your motor home or recreational vehicle. If you have communicated directly with the manufacturer you should also obtain documents verifying the information. Keep all the documents involving your vehicle, including purchase documents and repair documents, in a folder at home. Even better, scan them into a computer for ease of viewing and access. Do not use your vehicle’s glove box for your central document filing system.

If the manufacturer hasn’t fixed the problem to your satisfaction, bring the motor home or recreational vehicle back for repair again as often as you can. If, after a few attempts, the manufacturer can’t repair the problem, you will need legal advice. Our firm does not charge for a consultation and when we accept a case, it is pursuant to fee shifting statutes, meaning that we must get our fees from the defendants in the case. We will never send you a bill for our services. If the problem affects the safety of the vehicle, such as with the brakes, air bags, steering, etc. you should seek legal advice immediately.

Note that if your warranty has expired, but you took the vehicle into the dealer to fix the problem before it expired and the problem persisted, you still may have a case covered by the warranty. A number of different problems with the motor home requiring a significant amount of days in the shop can become a valid lemon law case as well.