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How Do I Know if My RV Thermostat Is Bad: 3 Common Signs and How to Troubleshoot

Writen by Dane Heldt

Fact checked by Robert Clark

how do i know if my rv thermostat is bad

Thermostats play an essential role in recreational vehicles as they help regulate the temperature and activate specific equipment if the temperature exceeds what is desired.

Thermostats can last from 10 to 15 years with proper use and maintenance. So, if you recently purchased a pre-owned camper, you might face some problems with the thermostat.

Your RV thermostat may end up malfunctioning because of dust, old wiring, or a bad wiring job on a replacement unit.

Regardless of the reason, occupants of your RV will feel uncomfortable, especially during summer days. Hence, you may want to know, “How do I know if my RV thermostat is bad?”

The good news is that some clear signs can show you your thermostat has gone bad, including unusual problems with power, temperature, and display response.

The following guide will help you know whether you are facing Coleman or Dometic RV thermostat problems. Dive into the details below!

How to Tell if My RV Thermostat Is Bad?


If you find that the RV thermostat is not working one day, it could be due to power, temperature, and display response problems. Therefore, you need to pay attention to the signs to apply the appropriate RV thermostat troubleshooting.

1. The Power Issues


  • Your thermostat display does not respond or does not feature a display.
  • The display is quite dim.
  • The system will not boot up.

How To Troubleshoot

Step 1: Check the RV thermostat to determine physical damages.

Physical damage is the most common cause of your thermostat not working correctly. Once you detect major damage, it’s time to get professional help to fix it.

If the damage is too significant, replacing it is necessary. If the damages are minor or there are no signs of physical damages, proceed to the following step.

Step 2: Replace the batteries (if your RV thermostat has them).

Replacing batteries allows you to solve power problems and get the RV thermostat working correctly again. However, if the situation does not improve, jump to the next step.

Step 3: Check out the thermostat’s wiring.

Suppose you do not have the technical expertise to work with anything electrical. In that case, it is wise to get professional help from a certified technician. There is no denying that improper handling of electrical components might result in worse and larger damages.

If you have sufficient expertise as an electrician, it is okay to proceed with this step yourself. Still, it is essential to take every safety precaution to reduce injuries and accidents.

You will need to check the thermostat’s wires for irregularities. If they are fried, cut, exposed, or loose, you will need to replace or repair them. Otherwise, move on to the last step.

Step 4: Hire a professional.

If the above steps do not work, there is a high chance the cause lies within the system. In this case, you will need an expert to handle RV thermostat problems.

2. The Temperature Issues


  • Your unit will not cool or heat the room properly.
  • The actual temperature and displayed temperature are significantly different.
  • The displayed temperature does not change.
  • The temperature often changes drastically and can’t be sustained.

How To Troubleshoot

Step 1: Avoid exposing your thermostat unit to factors.

Your RV’s interior temperature can be warmer or cooler than the preset temperature, by external factors, such as sunlight, external temperature, etc.

Step 2: Tighten any loose wires.

Loose wires can also be the cause of temperature changes. Therefore, you will need to check for loose wires and tighten them if necessary. However, make sure you know enough about tinkering. If not, get help from an expert.

Step 3: Calibrate the RV thermostat’s temperature.

Begin by setting the temperature to cold, normal, and warm in order. Do it for about ten minutes each and five degrees in between. After that, reboot the thermostat. If you notice no change, jump to the next step.

Step 4: Replace the thermostat yourself or get help from someone.

If the RV thermostat not working after you’ve tried the steps above, hire a professional or replace the system altogether.

3. The Display Response Issues


  • The system shuts down or cannot boot up.
  • The AC system is still running after being turned off.
  • The system will not shut down while the display is responsive.

How To Troubleshoot

Step 1: Check out the thermostat’s wiring for any damages or irregularities.

Again, we recommend that you only perform this step yourself if you have sufficient knowledge and skills in handling electrical components to avoid injuries and accidents. If you detect loose wires, you will need to tighten them or repair them if damaged.

Step 2: If the above step doesn’t work, get help from a trusted professional.

If your wires are okay, but the problem is still unsolved, you are probably facing a complex issue that requires professionl help.

Considerations and Tips When Replacing Your RV Thermostat


1. Never Purchase A Refurbished Thermostat

Although a refurbished thermostat may be cheap, it is never wise to purchase it. In the long term, chances are you will spend more. Also, if you get a model that has been refurbished, you won’t be able to tell its remaining number of service years.

2. Consider Getting A Digital Thermostat

We recommend upgrading to a digital thermostat, which allows you to control the temperature more precisely. The digital usually lasts longer. You may not have to update the wiring, too!

3. Do It Yourself If You Are Sure About That

If you are not sure about your skills in replacing an RV thermostat, do not “wing it” to avoid damaging the vehicle’s electrical system. It is best to hire a trusted professional.



1. Can I install a house thermostat model in my camper?

Yes, use a standard household thermostat for your RV. But you must make sure it runs on batteries. Household thermostats typically operate on 24V AC power, while the thermostats run on 12V DC.

2. Can I Fix My Thermostat Myself?

The good news is that you can fix, troubleshoot, and replace the RV thermostat yourself. However, you will need knowledge of working with electrical and follow correct safety practices when handling power.

Before start, you have to get the following tools:

  • Multimeter
  • Screwdrivers
  • Gloves
  • Wire strippers
  • Wire cutters

Most RV thermostat troubleshooting will require removing the cover of your thermostat to pop off to expose the battery, wires, and screws.

3. Why My AC/Heater Runs Continuously & Will Not Shut Down.

The cause may lie in a bad thermostat in most cases. It could be a frayed wire, a loose connection, or the thermostat may have been miscalibrated. Whatever the cause is, performing RV ac thermostat troubleshooting as soon as possible is essential.

4. How to Replace a Faulty RV Thermostat

Step 1: Get a high-quality RV thermostat.

This step is the most important. You need to purchase a high-quality RV thermostat that will work well with your particular RV model. Ensure the new thermostat is the correct size to fit your old RV thermostat.

Step 2: Shut off RV’s power supply

By doing this, you can remove the faulty thermostat without any injuries or accidents.

Step 3: Check out the owner’s manual

If you still have your owner’s manual, read it carefully to find out how to remove the RV thermostat. Then, follow any recommendations or suggestions from the manufacturer.

Step 4: Install your new RV thermostat

Take the new RV thermostat and stick to the guide on the owner’s manual to mount and install it. That way, you can install your new thermostat easily and safely.

5. How Much Does It Cost to Replace a RV Thermostat?

The cost of thermostat replacement depends on many factors, such as the model you have chosen or whether you make this replacement yourself.

A good RV thermostat usually ranges from $150 to $250, and you have to pay around $200 for an electrician to get the job done. Hence, you can expect to pay anywhere between $350 and $550 for replacement and installation.

Wrapping It Up

So you’ve reached the bottom of our article. This guide will help you in most cases, whether you need Coleman or Dometic thermostat troubleshooting.

If you have any further questions about “How do I know if my RV thermostat is bad?” don’t hesitate to leave a comment. We would love to address your queries.

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