RV Nightmare: Voiding an RV Warranty is Easier Than Expected
You’ve been on the road in your RV for six months and just got told your warranty is void. Now you have to pay for those repairs out of your own pocket.
What went wrong? There are several ways you can unknowingly void your RV’s warranty. So we’ve gathered up the most common ones to help prevent this from happening to you.
Let’s dig in!
What is a Warranty?
A warranty on your RV is just like the one on your car. It covers most mechanical issues such as engine repair, slide problems, and other mechanical breakdowns.
It does not cover everything.
If anyone tells you you’re getting a “full-coverage warranty,” they’re wrong. Even “blanket” coverage warranties have conditions and exceptions.
Types of Warranties
The main warranty for your RV will be on the rig itself. But there are other warranties you’ll need to review, especially for the major appliances.
Typically, your refrigerator, a/c units, furnace, toilet, and even your microwave and stove will have their own coverage.
You’re at risk for voiding each of these items, including your RV, if you’re not clear on the conditions and exclusions.
So read each warranty document carefully and take notes so you can easily find the information. Let’s take a look at three of the main reasons an RV warranty might be voided.
Long-Term or Full-Time RVing Can Void Your Warranty
Initially, people used RVs for short trips such as getting out into the woods for pure enjoyment or hunting and fishing trips. Because of this, most RVs were and are built for occasional use. And their warranties match that intention.
Read the fine print on many RV warranties, and you’ll see words either stating that long-term or full-time usage voids it or that anything other than occasional use voids it.
The first is very clear, while the second is quite vague.
We often hear people say they told the dealer they were going to full-time RV. Yet, they were sold an RV with a warranty that can be voided if they do so. Dealers tend to have a “don’t ask, don’t tell” theory with warranties as well as with problems in the rig itself.
They don’t tell you about the possible warranty issue. Or, if you push it, they’ll quietly advise you not to tell the service center if you call in for warranty repair.
While the forums show this works for many people, some have run into voided RV warranties and surprise out-of-pocket expenses. For example, one woman is suing her dealer and the RV manufacturer because they refuse to make repairs under warranty, stating she’s living in it.
She found 77 defects in her brand new fifth-wheel and claims she told the dealer it would be her permanent residence.
Yet, they still decline to work with her. This is not uncommon news.
Some Manufacturers Won’t Void Your RV Warranty
On the other hand, some manufacturers recognize the needs of long-term and full-time RVers.
Alliance, for example, clearly states on their website that “full-time RVing won’t void your Alliance RV warranty.” There’s an asterisk there that notes “additional equipment may be necessary in certain climates or conditions for full time use.”
Do we assume these additional items are strictly for our comfort, or is it necessary to add them to keep the warranty in place? Be firm and clear when talking with your dealer to find the answers.
And, if they don’t give you a good answer, contact the manufacturer directly before closing the deal.
Using Any Old Service Center Can Void Your Warranty
Review your warranty very carefully for this one. Some require you to use only a repair shop that’s certified for their brand. Others state you must use only the dealership you purchased it from for repairs. This severely limits anyone wanting to take longer trips or RV full-time.
If your warranty limits where you can have your RV repaired, you may also want to ensure you have tow coverage that will get you there from anywhere you travel to.
Modifications and Redecorating Can Void Your Warranty
Of course, playing around with your engine’s capabilities will void the warranty. But realize, too, that replacing that original couch with reclining theater seats can also void your RV warranty.
Slides are built to hold a certain weight, usually found in the owner’s manual. If you bring in a couch that puts your slide over its limit, causing it to break or malfunction, repairs likely won’t be covered.
In addition, adding solar panels, upgrading the suspension, changing the pin, or swapping appliances can all potentially cause problems that the warranty may not cover.
Educate Yourself to Prevent Voiding Your RV Warranty
Your RV’s warranty is a legal document. So, as with any legal document, you should read it from front to back as soon as possible.
Knowing the conditions and exclusions ahead of time can certainly help prevent voiding your RV warranty and paying for expensive repairs out of your own bank account. Have you had your RV warranty voided?
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