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RV Nightmare: Your RV Is On the Recall List. Now What?

Owning an RV is a dream come true for many adventurers. There’s nothing quite like getting out and exploring the great outdoors. Unfortunately, RV camper recalls can quickly turn that dream into a nightmare.

It’s crucial to know how to handle these situations if they happen to you. If not, your precious camper could be out of commission, and any future trips are in jeopardy.

We’ve experienced multiple recalls with campers that we’ve owned. Today, we’ll share some tips for how to get you and your rig safely back on the road. Let’s dive in and get started!

A massive RV recall affecting thousands of RVs is coming...and almost no one knows it!

What Are RV Recalls?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issues recalls for RVs. An RV recall aims to correct problems that create a safety risk for vehicles, their occupants, or others on the road.

We’ve seen RV recalls that address electrical systems, fuel or propane, lighting and trailer connections and many other essential components. The severity of these issues could be minor malfunctions or vital safety hazards. However, no matter how big or small the issue, owners must take them seriously.

Once the NHTSA issues a recall, the manufacturer must notify any affected owners. They do this through mail, email, or automated telephone messages. It’s why you must keep your contact information updated with your manufacturer. Repairs to address the issue typically come at no cost to the owner.

Safety recall notice letter in mail
An RV recall could be made to address minor malfunctions or extreme safety hazards.

Are RV Recalls Common?

Unfortunately, RV recalls are relatively common. No matter how much you spend on your camper, it can experience a recall. Every RV we have owned has had a recall or two on it. While there are many brands, they tend to all use the same suppliers. When a component from a supplier is to blame, it typically affects several manufacturers.

Despite their frequency, RV recalls are typically nothing to fear. However, you shouldn’t take them lightly because they occur often. Some recalls require your immediate attention, and delaying can cause issues for you down the road.

How Do You Check for RV Recalls?

Whether you’re buying a used RV or have owned yours for years, checking for camper recalls is a good idea. Thankfully, the NHTSA makes it easy to do. With just a few clicks of the mouse, you can check the recall status of your camper.

All vehicles, including RVs, have a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). When the NHTSA issues a recall, they input the VINs of all the affected vehicles. You can visit the NHTSA’s recall website and punch in the number. It will then display any recalls associated with your vehicle. You can also select the vehicle tab and type in the year, make, and model of your RV to see if it has recalls. This is less accurate however as some models may not have the same components as yours.

How To Find Your RV's VIN Number

The NHTSA requires RV manufacturers to notify owners of any recalls. However, owners need to provide manufacturers with updated contact information. Manufacturers often have old information for RVs people purchase through private sales. If you’re concerned about recalls, contact the manufacturer. They’ll ask for the VIN and check the recall database for you.

Pro Tip: Don’t know your VIN number? We’ve got you covered! Use our guide on How to Lookup RV VIN Numbers.

RV recall on brakes
Checking for camper recalls regularly can ensure your RV gets the care it needs to keep you safe on the road.

What to Do if Your RV Has a Recall

If you own a camper for an extended time, it will likely experience a recall. Knowing what to do can help you resolve the issue immediately. Let’s look at the steps to avoid a simple recall becoming a bigger problem.

Check the Recall Notice

It’s easy for panic to set in when you receive the RV recall notice. However, before you lose your temper, take a deep breath. Check the recall notice and see if there is a significant safety concern. If not, there’s no reason to panic or stress.

On the other hand, if there is a safety concern, it’s no time to panic. Manufacturers typically already have a plan in place when they notify owners. The notice will likely discuss the procedure and provide information to correct the issue.

Contact the Manufacturer

Contact the manufacturer if you have any questions or concerns about the recall. Customer service representatives are typically well-informed on these issues. They can calm your fears and help resolve the situation.

If you need help determining where to go to address the issue, they can point you in the right direction. All you’ll have to do is give them your zip code, and they can provide a list of certified repair shops to address the recall.

Repairing RV at manufacturer
Contacting your RV manufacturer can help you quickly get your camper repaired when recalled.

Reach Out To Other Owners

While the internet can be a terrible place sometimes, it has benefits. Connecting with other owners through forums and Facebook groups can be helpful. These large groups can allow owners to share their experiences and what to expect.

Sometimes it also helps to know you’re not the only one frustrated by a situation.

Prepare Your Rig for the Repair

How you prepare your rig will depend on the severity of the situation. For some minor RV recalls, the repair may only take a few minutes. However, more extensive recalls could take days or weeks.

If your rig will sit in a repair shop for weeks, you’ll want to prepare it. Empty your tanks, clean the refrigerator, and take everything you need. Depending on the season and the weather, you may even need to winterize your plumbing system. 

Inspecting RV
Regularly inspecting your rig can help you catch issues before they become a complicated repair process.

Attend the Repair Appointment

Many repair shops have a massive backlog of rigs waiting for maintenance. This can result in your appointment being weeks or months in the future. Whatever you do, don’t forget to put the meeting on your calendar. It can be easy to forget, which could move you to the back of the line.

Before heading to the repair appointment, confirm where to go and when. Research your route to ensure it’s safe and there won’t be any issues with arriving on time.

Keep All Documentation

After completing the repair, the shop will likely give you some paperwork. Take a picture and store a digital copy on iCloud, Google Photos, or your favorite online storage service. You never know when it will come in handy. There may come a time when someone asks to see information regarding the RV recall. Having your documentation readily available is never a bad thing.

Inspect Your Rig Regularly

Even if there are no recalls, you should inspect your rig regularly. However, keeping a close eye on any areas that experience a recall is a helpful idea. The recall may not be a total fix. If so, you want to catch any issues as soon as possible.

Pro Tip: Regularly inspecting your RV can keep you safe while on the road. Learn more about What Is an RV Inspection (and When Do You Need One).

Breakdowns and repairs while on the road | Mondays with the Mortons S2E5

Don’t Ignore an RV Recall Notice

If you receive an RV recall notice, do not take it lightly. Addressing the issue can help maximize safety for you, your passengers, and others on the road. However, instead of panicking, follow the steps we’ve shared. If you do, you can avoid interruptions or canceling future adventures. Safety is one area that’s not worth risking.

When was the last time you inspected your rig? Tell us in the comments!

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About Tom and Caitlin Morton

Tom & Caitlin Morton of Mortons on the Move gave up the stationary life for one where they are constantly on the move. They are full-time travelers, television hosts, and digital media producers.
They left their jobs, sold their house and possessions, and hit the road in September 2015 in their full-time “home on wheels”. Since then they have traveled the US, Canada, and even internationally by RV.
Now, they are Discovery Channel & PBS TV Co-stars of “Go North” on Amazon Prime Video, co-founders and instructors of RV Masterclass, and contributing authors for and an Arizona travel guide.

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