One of the most common questions in the RV Industry is “How can I decode my RV VIN?” When decoding other vehicles such as cars, there are resources to easily break-down the VIN. When it comes to Recreational Vehicles, there are a few dangers you need to be aware of and reasons why people have a hard time decoding their RV VINs.
Motorhomes can either be built in one stage (RV Manufacturer) or two stages (Chassis & RV Manufacturer), which can cause issues when it comes to VIN decoding. Some RV manufacturers choose to work with chassis manufacturers such as GMC or Chevrolet to provide the chassis for RV applications. The RV manufacturer will then build the body of the recreational vehicle on top of the chassis. If the RV is built in two stages, by federal law the chassis manufacturer is required to create and report the VIN. When motorhomes are built in two stages, they will have two VINs. One VIN decodes to the chassis and the other to the motorhome manufacturer, if the RV Manufacturer chooses to create a second VIN for internal use. When provided with two VINs for one RV, there may be confusion on which to use.
The reason a VIN would decode to different models is because the VIN was officially assigned to the chassis and not the final RV. After decoding, you would receive the chassis model rather than the final RV model. The VIN below is a random example of an RV VIN . This VIN was entered into Price Digests Vin Decoder.
Here you will see the VIN listed as a 2019 Winnebago Intent CLASS A with a 29L floor plan.
When entering the RV’s VIN into Price Digests’ VIN decoding database, it returns as a 2018 F-56 stripped chassis class A motorhome.
VIN Year Discrepancy
The other issue that could arise is when an RV is built in two stages and the VIN is assigned to the chassis, the VIN is assigned to the chassis upon build and shipment to the RV manufacturer. If the final build stage of the RV and the chassis were completed in consecutive years, the above problem would arise thus decoding as two different years.
Below you can see how the VIN decodes to a 2018, yet the manufacturer created a 2019 Motorhome causing the year change confusion.
Motorhomes have many different options and features that go along with the final stage of the RV itself. This results in a different value of the chassis when the offical VIN is assigned. Decoding this VIN will return values for only the chassis, causing value discrepancy between the motorhome and the VIN decoded chassis value, as you can see below.
RV Vin Regulations
Smaller RVs such as Travel Trailers, Tent Campers, and Truck Campers only one VIN number is assigned to the vehicle unlike motorhomes. These manufacturers are not required to report their VIN logic to the government. Creating the VIN number for internal use and VIN sheets are only maintained by the RV manufacturer making it difficult for a consumer to decode.
Only a few of the many dangers in decoding Recreational Vehicles have been highlighted above. There are even more possible issues beyond returning the wrong model, value or even year might appear. Due to the lack of transparency from manufacturers’ VIN logic decoding the RV in its entirety is difficult to accomplish, which is the main reason why it has yet to be done successfully. Until there is more transparency from the RV manufacturers, the question “How can I decode my RV VIN?” will continue to arise.