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The RV Park 10 Year Rule: Could Your RV Keep You Out?

The RV Park 10 Year Rule: Could Your RV Keep You Out?

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.

Our 17-year-old Newmar Mountain Aire

We continue to do our best to keep our 17-year-old Newmar Mountain Aire in good shape as the years roll on.

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.

A 1998 Roadtrek 190 Popular parked in a field.

This 1998 Roadtrek 190 Popular is nearly a quarter-century old! But it’s still in good enough shape to have never been turned away from any RV park. We’re proud of our dear friend who owns it for giving it so much love!

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!

An old, poorly maintained motorhome parked on a property

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:

Meguiar's Gold Class Car Wash Soap, Ultra-Rich Car Wash Soap and Conditioner for Car Cleaning, Car Wash Soap to Clean and Condition in One Easy Step, 1 Gallon Car Wash Soap
  • ONLY ONE STEP: Meguiar's Gold Class foaming car wash soap simplifies your car cleaning routine by combining cleaning and conditioning into one easy...
  • CLEAN AND PRESERVE: Featuring an advanced formula, this powerful car shampoo and conditioner not only cleans your car, but it’s also gentle enough...
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Meguiar's G210516 Ultimate Liquid Wax, Durable Protection that Shines, Towel and Pad Included - 16 Oz Bottle
  • 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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Ban

Friday 11th of August 2023

We've been full-time in our 25-year-old class A (excellent condition) for just over a year. In that time, we've been turned down by 5 parks, sight unseen, based on our rig's age alone, in 2 states (Nevada & California). One of them a mobile-home site with rigs much older than the 15 years limit they enforce on visitors. (None of the sites advertised their 10-year rules, or I wouldn't have tried to book them.)

The point about parks wanting to look nice is valid, but none of the 5 wanted to see photos (we asked). Motorhomes generally have much less engine wear & tear than cars, so I don't buy the 'it might break down' excuse. I think it's simply that those with newer rigs spent a lot more buying them, so they probably have more disposable income - and are much less likely to have payment problems.

barry

Saturday 8th of July 2023

We designed, built and drove a beautiful converted greyhound mc-8. We lived in it for 25 years, traveling to all lower 48 states. We utilized Thousand Trails, Elks lodges, private campgrounds, passport America and all manner of sites. Even Wal-marting it a few times. In the later years we were scrutinized as though we were gypsies to be avoided. Even though our coach was kept up and looked nice. When we called for reservations we were asked what kind of coach did we have? If we said an mci they lost interest. if we said prevost, not a problem. Thousand Trails which we had been members for over 25 years told us they were not running a bus park and we were no longer welcome. That was at wilderness lakes in Menifee, ca. We even had trouble finding shops that would work on it, since I am NOT a competent mechanic. After storing the coach for two years we decided to divest ourselves of the problem. A gentleman was very interested in the coach when I was at the storage lot checking on it, making sure it would start, no mice or spiders or squatters. I gave him a 25 cent tour, showed him all the features and how everything worked, then I signed the registration, gave it to him and walked away. We now travel by CRUISE SHIP and love it. I do not have to park it,fuel it, cook dinner, or clean up. The people even seem to be friendlier. we dont regret building it, we do miss it sometimes. Cruising is so much easier than driving. Barry and Jane

BamPa

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

Rob

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.

Scott Price

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.

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