What’s the Purpose of an RV Inspection?

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By Kyle & Olivia Brady | Founders of Drivin' & Vibin' | We use affiliate links and may receive a small commission on purchases.

What’s the Purpose of an RV Inspection? 

When you’re shopping for a new (or new-to-you) RV or travel trailer, you’ve probably heard that you should get an RV inspection.

So, what exactly is the purpose of an RV inspection, and do you really need one? Even on a new unit?

We are going to dive into that and more in this article today. Find out why you need an RV inspection and what they’re all about.

What’s the Purpose of an RV Inspection? 

An RV inspection is hiring a professional inspector to check out your potential RV. The inspector will go over a potential RV or trailer to make sure that everything is in good working order before a purchase. They will identify any problems so you can make an informed decision on purchase and price.

This peace of mind is especially useful when buying a used RV, or buying one far away from where you live. If you are new to RV purchases, having an inspection allows you to learn.

And, hiring an expert will make sure you aren’t missing any disastrous problems before you spend your money.

What Does an RV Inspection Consist Of? 

An RV inspection should be a visual inspection of all major components of an RV including electrical (running and cabin), propane, frame, plumbing, tires, electronics, appliances, and condition of windows, doors, paint, axles, leveling, etc.

RV Inspectors will usually also take photos to document anything they find as well as condition of fabrics and decor. Some higher end RVs and motorized units could have their fluids (transmission, engine coolant, etc) tested to see if anything is amiss. 

All components of the RV should be tested to ensure they are in good working order. Condition of paint, windows, fabrics and cleanliness of a camper will influence value as well.

Maintenance records, if present, may also be inspected.

Obviously a motorized unit or Class A, B or C will need to have mechanical/engine components inspected as well. Inspections can (and should if you haven’t verified this yourself) also verify VIN. With this number visually verified, you should match with the ownership and title.

Isn’t The Dealer Inspection Good Enough? 

A dealer may or may not fully inspect a used RV. Used RVs can come to a dealer for resale from an auction, from a trade in, or on commission.

Depending on the source, timing, and profitability of a unit, the dealer may not even inspect or clean it before putting it for sale. Dealers may also miss something.

And, we hate to say it, but in this day and age of high demand, unscrupulous dealers may even not disclose problems before selling a unit to a buyer.

It’s always better to have a third party inspect a unit, especially if you aren’t a seasoned RVer or if you are not good at avoiding pressure in sales environments.

How Much Does an RV Inspection Cost? 

RV inspections can cost anywhere from a couple hundred dollars to a thousand or more dollars.

Of course the area of the country, travel time, and how expensive/fancy an RV is will influence cost. Diesel pushers and units with generators or extensive electronics, unusual systems or features, etc. will cost more.

Doing any kind of fluid analysis or specialized systems testing will likely incur more costs. Some inspectors offer add on services such as comparison pricing, negotiation, or even delivery.

Can I Walk Through The RV With My Inspector? 

If you are local to the RV, ask your inspector if you can walk through with them! Of course, some may want to work alone so they can concentrate, but you can learn a lot from walking through with the inspector.

Some inspectors will even teach you how to use the systems or do maintenance. Of course expect an additional fee for this extra time they will spend with you, and still get a written report for your records.

How To Find an RV Inspector In Your Area

There are a few ways to find an RV inspector. You can use Google or social media to see if there are any in your area, or the area of the RV or trailer.

You can go on Facebook to ask people in your camping groups, forums for your specific brand of trailer. If you are buying from a private seller, you can call RV dealers or repair shops and ask if this is a service they provide and if you need to bring the trailer or RV to them or if they are mobile. Some mobile repairmen will do inspections. 

The National Recreational Vehicle Inspectors Association (NRVIA) is a membership group that provides certification and credentials for professional RV inspectors. Their members are required to follow Standards of Practice and a Code of Ethics. You can find more about their certified inspectors and what training they have on the NRVIA website here.

RV Inspectors Are Definitely Worth The Investment

Hiring a qualified RV inspector to go over a potential camper, 5th wheel, motorhome or RV purchase is a great idea for peace of mind before investing significant money in purchase.

To ensure a fair price and be aware of any repairs or damage that may become a costly problem is a smart idea! Taking this extra step helps make sure you can enjoy your rig as soon as you purchase it and have a great purchase experience for the future!

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1 comment

  1. Glad to see someone talking about this! Best money one can spend on an RV. informative article. Wish this was out there when I was shopping. I was lucky to find a good mobile guy to do it.

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