Is An RV A Motor Vehicle?Anthony Day
When you are getting your RV ready to be registered, or you have remodeled one and are going to the DMV, you need to know whether or not it is a motor vehicle.
Knowing whether RVs are motor vehicles can be challenging, especially if you only have a trailer RV that you pull with your truck or car.
RVs are usually considered motor vehicles; when the RV has an engine and can propel itself, it automatically becomes a motor vehicle. RVs with no engines or motors are not motor vehicles and will be registered as a trailer instead.
When it comes to RVs there are details that you need to know and how to register them correctly to your name, but many people do not always realize the costs. We always recommend that people understand what the vehicles on the road are and how they will be registered for licenses.
After reviewing many RVs and learning which RVs will be moving on their own and which ones won't, we know almost everything about RVs. Getting it appropriately registered means that you can easily keep your RV on the road without having to stress about tickets or impounding.
What Is Considered An RV?
In its base form, RV means recreational vehicle, which means that if you have a sedan that has been converted to have a small bed and kitchen in it, it can be considered an RV. However, this would mean that almost anyone living in their car would own a recreational vehicle.
However, when registering your RV, you will have to focus on the standard vehicles considered RVs. Each of them provides a lot of joy to people driving and living in them; we always recommend that you are aware of the many different RVs on the market.
Class A RVs
Class A RVs are the largest RVs on the market and are genuinely motorhomes that can be used as your main living space throughout the year. Further, class A RVs are usually around 28-feet long or longer, allowing for almost every convenience that can be fitted into the RV.
When people think of RVs, we've learned that they usually mean class A RVs, they have bathrooms, couches, several beds, and modern ones have TV systems. We always recommend starting your search for your first RV here, even when you know you won't be able to afford them.
Knowing what the top-end RVs have in them will allow you to quickly and comfortably choose the best RVs in smaller sizes. It should be noted that Class RVs start at 28-feet but can quickly reach over 40-feet in length, requiring special licenses and training to drive safely on even normal roads.
Class B RVs
These are possibly becoming one of the most recognizable RVs on the streets; these are more van-like than bust-like, with many class B RVs being custom modifications. This has meant that many of them have been added to registries around the world, and we recommend that you note this.
Not only are there new regulations for RVs being made because of the popularity of class B RVs they are also becoming surprisingly expensive. Further, there is no set size limit for these, with anything shorter than 28-feet usually considered a class B RV.
We recommend being aware of this as you can quickly build your class B RV or buy one for a much more affordable price than you would a class A. These RVs also have a lot more in them than most people realize, with some having layered beds to allow for entire families.
Class C RVs
Class C RVs are usually slightly larger than class Bs but are never larger or longer than class A RVs, which means they look similar to small busses. These RVs are gaining popularity on the market as they can be up to 25-feet in length.
Many RV manufacturers already have a long line of class C RVs that they sell along with their class As, giving you the chance to see them at RV parks. These RVs are much more rugged than other RVs on the market, allowing you to drive with them into slightly wilder areas.
They are also purpose-built RVs from the chassis up; they have several things that make them easier to live with than even custom-built RVs. Many are meant to be used in the wilds with complete solar systems and backup batteries to get you almost anywhere you want to go.
Fifth Wheel RVs
A fifth-wheel RV can best be described as a regular class A RV with no engine of its own, with the caveat that they can be significantly larger. These are not considered motor vehicles and will have different requirements for you to drive around with them, with many people not realizing this.
Further, fifth wheel RVs are usually significantly more significant than even the most prominent class A RVs; they are usually parked somewhere and used for several months. Some areas of the world use fifth-wheel RVs as temporary homes, as they are easy to unpack and transport.
We recommend that you consider this, as you will require a special license to drive and transport any fifth-wheel RVs. Further, these RVs can only be transported with larger trucks with the necessary power and fitting, increasing their cost and portability.
Toy Hauler RVs
A toy hauler RV is a unique RV shape meant to be used primarily by those with other purposes than simply living in their RV at scenic locations. Usually, these RVs have small garage spaces in the back of the RV where you can keep bikes, small cars, or just tools that you will need.
It should be noted that these can be self-powered with their engine and transmission systems, or they can be a trailer that you need to pull. We recommend that you consider getting one of these when you know your hobby requires more than just a small bin and a place to store the rods.
Most people who are actively mountain biking doing extreme sports, or want to have something to drive around in will know about these RVs. They help by allowing you to not have a separate trailer behind an average RV that holds the car, bike, or dirt bikes, which can be challenging to control.
The smallest travel trailer is not more than a few feet in length, while the most extended travel trailers almost look like RVs all on their own. We recommend getting one of these when you know you may want to drive through areas with more minor roads with tighter corners.
Travel trailers are specifically built to be as lightweight as possible while also as rugged as possible. Many have lifted suspension systems to allow you to travel with them into the wilderness without stress about them breaking down as you travel.
We always recommend that people consider using one of these when they already have a good truck they can use to travel. Many people getting a custom-designed travel trailer can follow them into any area of the world, whether through a forest or halfway up a mountain.
A pop-up camper is one of the first things you can live in that is technically still an RV but is not entirely in the same category as the others we have listed. When fully packed up, many of these look-like regular trailers with a bit of extra headroom on top that is only there to help you store everything.
However, when assembled, you should have a large tented area that surrounds the trailer and even your car that provides one or more rooms. However, as these are made to be fully disassembled to fit into a trailer, they have much less in them when compared to average RVs.
You will only be able to sleep in pop-up campers as they provide shelter, but otherwise, you will need to use kitchens on drawers and other things. Further, you can easily have a few of these meant to be used for off-roading and other much more rugged camping.
If you have ever driven behind something that looks like a class C RV only to see that it is a standard truck that has been converted with an attachment where the bed should be, then you've seen one of these. Truck campers are coming back into favor the materials used to build them are being upgraded.
These are popular because they cost significantly lower than almost any other RV, and they can be removed when you are back home. Allowing you to use the same truck that you go to work with every day as the truck you use to go on holiday.
Many people use these to ensure that they have the best possible trip because their truck has been lifted much higher than usual. Allowing them to drive and go down paths that any other RV would not be capable of reaching without being heavily damaged.
How To Define A Motor Vehicle?
A motor vehicle is anything with wheels driven by a motor or engine; whether this is electric-powered, petrol or diesel does not matter. If a vehicle cannot provide its power to move, it is no longer a motor vehicle and will usually be considered a trailer.
Anything pulled by a horse or another vehicle is also not considered a motor vehicle, with many people mistakenly assuming that they are. Further, the motors should be capable of driving the vehicle for significant distances, which means that parking and level assistant motors on trailers do not count.
We recommend keeping this in mind when you are buying your first RV, as you may also have to get a special license. If a trailer weighs more than a certain weight, you need to have a special license to drive it; the same is said for a motor vehicle is that over a specific weight.
What Is Considered A Motor Vehicle?
Now that we can accurately define what a motor vehicle is, we can look at what are some good and practical examples of motor vehicles. Knowing what to consider will allow you to quickly and comfortably choose something within your driving ability and budget.
Many people get something and then fail to realize that they need to get a license to drive it, with many first-time motorcycle owners driving without a license. This is extremely dangerous and can mean that you are arrested for being on your bike while it has been started.
When talking about motorcycles, they have been broken into so many categories that are trying to keep track of them all would be impossible. The basic motorcycle is a motor vehicle, scooters, three-wheelers, and even quad bikes.
These are basic motorcycles and will usually be loaded into the back of an RV to be used once the RV has been parked. Many people prefer never to move the RV once it has been fully set up, only moving it at the end of the vacation, using bikes to get everywhere.
However, it should be noted that modern electric bicycles are also considered motor vehicles. Because these bikes and even scooters allow you to push or pedal and have their motors to power them, they have been elevated to motor vehicles but do not require licenses to drive.
Cars, Trucks, And Busses
All cars, trucks, and buses are motor vehicles, no matter how old they are; if you think of the basic definition of a motor vehicle, you can think of these. No matter how small a car is and how big a truck is, they are part of the broader term of motor vehicles.
Even modern electric cars, such as the Tesla or the Chevy Volt, are motor vehicles, even though they are internally unrecognizable from the older motor vehicles. We always recommend keeping this in mind if you need to define whether or not something is a motor vehicle.
Oddly enough, when considering motor vehicles, trains are not considered motor vehicles, nor are planes. These are not included because the way they work is fundamentally different from how most other motor vehicles work.
Not all RVs are motor vehicles, but all RVs with their engine are motor vehicles, which means you may need to read up on your state's RV laws. Many states in the US allow people with regular licenses to drive even class A RVs as long as they don't cross state lines.
However, when towing an RV that does not have its engine, you will usually require a special license to do so safely. Not having this license will usually mean that you have not been trained in how to drive with something that is that long and heavy behind you.
Despite what many people think, it is not easy to drive while towing something, so you will need to ensure that you have the right license to tow trailer RVs. Remember, just because it has a kitchen and a TV does not automatically become a motor vehicle.
Do You Need A CDL Or Other License To Drive An RV?
In almost every state across the United States, you will need a CDL license to drive a class A RV, the largest RV on the market. Driving something so significant requires that you think in an entirely new way and have been trained to handle the weight of the RV.
However, class B and class C RVs do not always require a CDL license, but we heavily recommend that you get the license anyway. This will ensure that you are always driving safely but that you can go to any state and cross the border into Canada.
This is because not every state in the US has the exact license requirements for smaller RVs, with many not requiring a CDL license. However, if you want to cross from one state that does not have it to another that does, you may be pulled over and the RV impounded if no one can drive the RV.
What Is The Difference Between A Motor Home And An RV?
When it comes to recognizing the differences between a motor home and an RV, you will have to look at some of the niche details. Many people do not always realize that all motorhomes are RVs but that not all RVs are motor homes.
This means that there are some massive differences, but knowing what they are can be challenging if you are still new to RVs. We know what these differences are and how each affects the shape and size of the RVs that are considered motor homes.
Total Size Of Vehicles
An RV can be almost anything from a small trailer that you pull along with your truck that can barely fit two people to something more deluxe than most homes. A motor home is a class C RV that fits two to three people, with an enormous bed at the very back of the vehicle.
Further, an RV more significant than a 28-feet will almost always have several amenities that a motor home does not have. This is because the motor home has to do as much as possible with the shorter size of the vehicle, allowing for the driver and passenger seat to work as well.
We often see people with tiny motor homes mistakenly think it is a full-sized RV when it is only 20-feet in total length. Anything that is this short will usually be considered a motor home, with anything shorter than 16-feet considered a converted van and will be a class B RV.
Total Engine Capacity Of Both
Motorhomes usually have 2.0-liter engines, with the most common engine type being diesel engines. These engines are directly linked up to the electricity of the motor home, all of the systems requiring the same batteries to work correctly, with only one plug to get power from the outside.
All RVs will have separate battery systems, with trailers specifically having a point to allow you to plug into an outside source for stable power. Class A and Class B RVs also have specifically separated power systems, allowing the engine to have its battery system for power.
This means that RVs usually have much larger engines and variable engine options that motor homes do not have. As motor homes need to provide enough power to charge the battery for the engine and provide power to the internal electronics of the motor home area.
Uses For Both
The most significant difference between an RV and a motor home is how they are used; RVs are recreational vehicles used on vacations. Motor homes are almost exclusively used as the full-time homes of anyone currently using them.
In the US, this can be anyone from a retired couple living in their motor home while traveling the world or a young professional not wanting to be stuck in a city. RVs are rarely meant to be used all the time, with several features deteriorating if used constantly by their occupants.
Further, a motor home with several hundreds of thousands of miles on it may still be worth quite a bit. In contrast, most RVs that have been through a lot will need to be refurbished and upgraded before being considered worthy of being resold to anyone.
What Each Has In Them
The motor home can be stopped in the middle of the road in a desert and be left to do whatever you need from it. You can technically live for a few weeks in a motor home using the shower, the toilet, and solar power to live as comfortably as possible.
However, while some RVs can let you do this, most are meant to be taken to a camping location where you plug into the state's primary power. This is because a modern RV will have more amenities and power drawing systems than most middle-class homes.
It is important to remember that a motor home has everything you need in it to drive it off the lot and start living full time in it. Most RVs have everything you will need to go on vacation and live a life of pure comfort and bliss, but you will need a few outside amenities from the campsite.
What Is A Non-Recreational Vehicle?
A non-recreational vehicle is a car or motorcycle that does not include commercial vehicles, mobile homes, or trailers. This means that any car you would use for your day-to-day trips to and from work is a non-recreational vehicle.
The car you are using to go to meetings, transport goods, or just the vehicle you are regularly using to travel for business is a commercial vehicle. A non-recreational vehicle is a vehicle that you use to do everything that is not for fun and not for business.
Most people who own cars worldwide and in the US have non-recreational vehicles as they only use them to get to and from one place, whether for work or not. However, it should be noted that it is a recreational vehicle if you have a motorbike that you only use on weekends for fun.
Can You Live In An RV?
The simple answer is that you can easily live full time in most RVs, depending on the systems that have been built into them. However, it may be worth noting that most class A and class B RVs that are premade are not ready to live in when driven off the lot.
Class C RVs, which are motor homes, are built for one or two people to live full time and have the required systems to support this. In contrast, a typical RV is meant to be used for a few days or weeks every few months.
This is often why you will find that the people living in their RVs have done an extensive amount of retrofitting and upgrades. Most base RVs do not have solar-powered systems that are strong enough to recharge the batteries when depleted.
About THE AUTHOR
Hi, my name is Anthony, and RVs are what I'm passionate about. I bought my first RV when I was 21, and I've been hooked ever since. I'll guide you on how they work, how they can be used in different environments, and how they fit into our everyday lives.Read More About Anthony Day