You may have heard about the RV park 10-year rule that can make owners of vintage RVs a bit annoyed, and understandably so. There are lots of fine older RVs on the road. Heck, we’ve got friends with an RV in great condition that’s nearly 25 years old. And our own 17-year-old rig is (if we do say so ourselves) in excellent shape.
So, what is this so-called “10-year rule” and how does it usually play out for owners of RVs that are more than a decade old? Are older rigs really turned away from campgrounds and RV parks? Is there a lot of RV age discrimination going on out there?
Today we’re taking a look at the reality of the 10-year rule and who needs to be concerned about its enforcement.
What Is the “RV Park 10 Year Rule”?
The “10 Year Rule” for RV parks says that RVs older than 10 years may be more closely scrutinized, and can be turned away from the park.
We recognize that ten years isn’t all that old for an RV. We’re living the RV lifestyle in a 2005 Newmar Mountain Aire. Our rig turned 17 this past May.
However, this is a somewhat arbitrary number chosen to allow parks to turn away rigs that haven’t been well cared for over the first decade of their lives and beyond.
In reality, the RV park 10-year rule is a screening device.
Why Do RV Parks Have a 10 Year Rule?
The “10-Year Rule” was established by campground owners and owners of RV resorts to keep old, poorly maintained motorhomes and travel trailers from parking on their property (especially long term).
Similar to an unkempt sticks & bricks house in a residential neighborhood, broken down old rigs can create an environment unsuitable for a commercial property. Other travelers wouldn’t want to stay in a park where people weren’t taking care of their homes-on-wheels, which can create an atmosphere of a low-quality park.
So, RV park owners and campground park managers began to implement a standard for the rigs that would spend time in their parks. To set that standard, they chose an age at which they would more closely examine the condition of an older RV.
How Do You Get Around the RV Park 10 Year Rule?
The easiest way to get around the RV park 10-year rule is to take very good care of your RV. Case in point, even at 17, our rig has never been turned away from any RV park or campground.
But we’ve tried to take exceptional care of our motorhome for the past 17 years and despite its age, it’s not an eyesore. The appearance of our rig suggests (rightly) that we respect it, so we’re likely to be respectful of RV resort and campground rules in terms of keeping our campsite clean as well.
And this is true of most RVers. The truth is that VERY few RVs are ever actually turned away from parks.
Essentially, campgrounds and RV parks just don’t want Cousin Eddie showing up in his rig from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation!
If you’re concerned about the 10-year rule, have a look at our post on the 5 best wash and wax products for your RV.
These products from Meguiar’s are a couple of our favorites:
- CAR WASH FOAM: One-gallon container of Meguiar's Gold Class Car Wash designed to both wash and condition paint in one step for easy car care
- CLEAR COAT SAFE: Made using safe, biodegradable detergents (1), this car cleaning foam is safe to use on all paint types and clear coats ((1)...
- IMPROVED FORMULA: Improved formula delivers a glossier finish, increased protection and more water beading action in one easy step
- EASY TO USE WAX: Easy spread on and wipe off application – even in full sun
You can also check out both maintenance and appearance tips in our post about RV spring cleaning. Also, the following video shares an additional way we keep our rig looking good in between our own wash & wax applications:
You may also want to bookmark our post on 7 RV maintenance tasks you can do yourself, because it’s also important to keep your rig well maintained. After all, no RV park owner wants smoking generators or oil and other fluids leaking all over the property!
Do Some RV Resorts and Campgrounds Refuse to Let Older RVs Stay?
Here’s what typically happens:
When you call to make a reservation at a campground or RV park or resort, they may ask you the age of your RV (or they’ll ask you the year of your RV and figure it out from there).
If you’ve got a rig that’s more than 10 years old, they may ask you to send them a photo of your rig. In fact, you’ll want to have such a photo handy on your phone or tablet so that you can email it right to them if requested.
In some locations, they won’t ask for a photo. They’ll simply glance at your rig when you show up.
CAN they deny you a campsite? Yes.
WILL they deny you a campsite? It’s highly unlikely if your rig is in good condition.
Have You Ever Run Into the RV Park 10-Year Rule?
If you’ve ever experienced the 10-year rule in your RV travels, drop us a comment and tell us about it!
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Sunday 14th of August 2022
I ran into it. I was asked for a photo, so I sent them a photo of Chris Farley next to his "van down by the river." I was approved because the RV park owner is still laughing. https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=10229213826196787&set=a.3465500322805
Saturday 13th of August 2022
As our Rig turns 10 years old this year,this is an interesting topic. As we our not as well traveled yet but starting next year We will begin to travel more. As like yourselfs we keep MH in great shape. Exterior keep clean and repaired. Upgrades when needed. Over the years we have stayed at a few RV parks were some of the units were eyesores. Making us not want stay there again. I can understand why RV parks will only allow properly maintianed units. I have seen many older units beautifully maintained and care for. Like a classic car pride of ownership. Have also seen the units that old before there time. As with everything in life you can tell alot about someone in how they take care of thier possessions.
Friday 12th of August 2022
When making a reservation online I explain that I understand why they have a 10 year age policy, but tell them about my pride in ownership and include a photo for their perusal. Typically, they are very grateful for my honesty and we are always welcome, even in very high-end resorts.
Friday 12th of August 2022
We have been turned down. Once our rig was only about 11 or 12 years old and sight unseen they turned us down. They didn't want pictures or anything else. We were told it was because their insurance company didn't want rigs that might have gas or electrical issues in the park. What bologna! We have always taken good care of our trailer since at the time it was our home. I think RVs and Airstreams are far more likely to get past the rule than trailers, which seem to be routinely turned down. Besides, there are other ways to keep out those who want to be hoarders or work on old trailers in the park. You make rules about THOSE things, not about age. When the rules are broken you can have them evicted. It's an excuse. The rule is being used to punish those that don't have the money for new rigs every 10 years. Sorry, this rule is to keep wealthier snooty RV owners from having to see how the rest of the world lives. State and National parks routinely let in older rigs and I've never seen one that looked so trashy I wouldn't park next to it. I'm having the same problem with my actual home. I own and live in a manufactured home. I can't get an equity loan or refi just because of the type of home I live in. I'm classed with trailer park trash even tho' anyone can see we have a nice home and our credit rating is excellent. Personally I'm tired of being stereotyped for my home or my RV rig. The elitists have control and us little guys who are doing our best are continually told we aren't doing good enough.
Sunday 14th of August 2022
@Cindy, Personally, I never stay at parks such as those with that rule, They just do not appeal to me. But, I do find it shameful to put age limits on the RV we are enjoying just to keep us out. If I see this rule in a park it usually dismisses the park from my list of potential sites.
Friday 12th of August 2022
I have a 1971 Winnebago,nice shape 8.5 on a scale of 10.I always inform campground of age and volunteer pictures up front.Ive only been turned down twice,both were resort s ( I get it ).In time ,I wound up driving through these " resorts",.... Let's just say I wasn't impressed! Ken W