Is an RV Inspection Worth the Cost? – RVBlogger

Many people are interested in purchasing an RV but are unsure if it is worth the cost. This blog will discuss whether or not an inspection is worth the cost for you to purchase your new RV.

The certified rv inspector near me is a question that is asked by many RV enthusiasts. In order to answer this question, we have to look at the cost of an inspection and how much it will save you in the long run.

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Have you considered an RV inspection if you’re in the market for a motorhome or travel trailer but aren’t sure whether it’s worth the money? You should factor in the ongoing expenses of keeping the coach in good working order.

The day you purchase the RV and the day you sell the RV are the two happiest days in an RV owner’s life.” -Anonymous

Emotional purchasers will locate an RV that suits their budget, but they will underestimate the time and money required to fix it. Because the RV lifestyle is a dream come true, it’s easy to slip into the emotional purchasing trap. If you purchase one that is beyond your means, this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity may turn into a nightmare.

We’ll address the burning issue of whether or not an RV inspection is worthwhile, as well as demonstrate the many various elements of them. You’ll also discover the advantages of hiring a professional inspector vs doing your own inspection.

If you opt to perform your own RV check, we’ve included an excellent RV Inspection Checklist at the conclusion of the post.

Why Should You Get Your RV Inspected?

If you’re a historic RV enthusiast seeking to restore a 1963 Dodge Travco (the first mass-produced class A motorhome) to its former glory, you’ll need to conduct an RV inspection. This kind of buyer typically has the knowledge and resources to do their own pre-purchase RV examination.

What about a family of four that paid less than $10,000 for a 25-foot Fleetwood Prowler travel trailer? Both parents have no experience in carpentry, electrical work, or any other area that would enable them to conduct an in-depth inspection. On the surface, the RV may seem to be in excellent condition for its age, but they may be unsure whether purchasing it is worthwhile.

Unlike the antique aficionado, most RV buyers are a family of four. A large percentage of first-time RVers lack the seasoned eye of veterans. The last thing the four-person family wants to do is spend money they don’t have to fix the frame, plumbing, or electrical components after they buy the house.

Sellers from the private sector

Over 60% of all RV sales are done by private vendors. People sell their RVs for a variety of reasons. Some of the most frequent reasons are lifestyle changes, financial difficulties, and upgrading/downgrading. 

On Craigslist, RVT, and RV Trader, you may discover used RVs for sale by owners. During the tour and on the listings, the majority of sellers will point out recognized issue areas. New problems may arise while the RV sits idle, or there could be existing concerns that the vendor is unaware of.

Any issues with the RV are now your responsibility after the paperwork is signed. A thorough pre-purchase examination will reveal all of the RV’s flaws. You’ll be able to make a better choice if you have the resources and skills to resolve issues after you have a full picture of the facts.

Dealers in recreational vehicles

RV dealerships are experts in their field. They conduct inspections when they acquire a used RV through a trade-in or an auction. Their inspections are compliant with both state and federal safety regulations. They also inspect the coach’s components and fix any significant issues. Their aim isn’t altruistic in the strictest sense. 

They may sell the RV if they make it “camp-ready” for resale. Little items like décor pieces or components that are functional for the time being may not get the attention they need. Your sales person will not keep anything from you, but they will not be the first to raise their hand and tell you about it.

Having an independent RV inspection done by a qualified inspector or coming prepared with your pre-purchase checklist (see list below) will offer you the greatest opportunity of discovering those issues that have not been properly resolved. Make sure you read all of the documentation thoroughly to see what they observed during their examination. 

What Are the Various RV Inspection Types?

There are many kinds of RV inspections, each with its own set of goals. Authoritative organizations will demand specific evaluations, while others will concentrate on the condition of different components. Travel trailers and fifth wheels, like RVs, must be inspected, although the requirements are different.

State-mandated RV inspections (DOT Minimum)

Every state needs a state inspection as part of the registration procedure. This inspection typically includes a safety check of automobile components as well as compliance with motorhome emission regulations. A verified unloaded vehicle weight (dry weight) measurement will be required in states with weight limits.

They’ll also insist on all Department of Transportation (DOT) lights and reflectors working properly. A broken reflector or a missing clearance light are common causes of failure.

Depending on your RV, costs may vary anywhere from $40 to $1,000. These inspections are not performed by every DMV. Contact your local DMV or search for “RV inspection stations near me” to find an RV inspection DMV.

Pre-Purchase Inspection for RVs

The greatest time is spent on pre-purchase inspections. Depending on the level of review, it could take hours or days. Professional inspectors will examine the coach’s automotive, exterior, and interior. Each component and system is thoroughly examined to establish its functioning and present state.

Pre-purchase examinations are very thorough. This kind of research requires more than a cursory glance. Tools are used by professional inspectors to measure items, verify seals, test hardware tightness, and other minor details. Inspections of this kind may cost anything from $100 to $1000.

They don’t look at an external rear quarter panel and think, “Oh, it has a few scrapes.” They go down on their knees and assess the situation. They’ll tell you which ones are prone to develop into open cracks, if the panel can be repaired, or whether it has to be replaced completely for particular reasons.

This degree of scrutiny is applied to every component of the RV by inspectors. In the big scheme of things, if there is a recognized plumbing issue, a quarter panel may be lower on the repair priority list. An examination of this grade should be the standard of any pre-purchase inspection, even if you do it yourself, because of the amount of detail.

There are higher degrees of pre-purchase inspections that go all the way up to forensics. They’re more expensive, but they’re well worth it for more expensive RVs. Fluids may be sent to laboratories to be tested for different pollutants by professional inspectors. These outcomes are worth the money (typically over $1,000) for luxury level class A RV purchasers. 

This second level of examination also examines other components in greater depth. Insulation and ducting samples, as well as other forensic testing, are examined. This kind of research isn’t required for travel trailers and RVs that don’t cost more than six figures. The typical cost of an RV inspection at this level is $300-$600.

What is the difference between a Level 1 RV Inspection and a Level 2 RV Inspection?

A basic RV check, known as a level 1 RV inspection, ensures that your RV is safe to drive. It usually includes a visual examination of the RV as well as turning everything on and off to ensure that everything works. The inspector may take the RV owner on a tour to show them how everything works.

What does it mean to be a Level 2 RV Inspector?

The functioning of all of the RV’s components is thoroughly tested during a level 2 RV inspection. To be certified by the NRVIA, Level 2 Inspectors must pass an exam after completing a 5-day hands-on training. They may take fluid samples and do more extensive testing to establish an RV’s roadworthiness.


How much does it cost to get an RV inspected?

Depending on your RV, passing your state’s safety standards may cost anywhere from $40 to $1,000. These inspections are not performed by every DMV. Contact your local DMV or search for “RV inspection stations near me” to find an RV inspection DMV.

Depending on the size of your rig and the level of detail you desire from your examination, an RV Pre Purchase Inspection may cost anywhere from $100 to $1,000.

Is an RV Inspection Required for an RV Loan?

RV financing is available. Consider it a cross between a car loan and a house loan. RVs depreciate like cars, but they last longer than second houses (up to 15-20 years depending on the RV and price). The interest rate ranges from 4% to late teens. 

In its first year, the typical RV loses 20% of its value. Its value depreciates year after year, just like any other car. When reviewing a loan application, RV lenders will ask for a variety of information. To obtain an RV loan, you’ll need an RV inspection if you’re purchasing a used RV (particularly from a private seller). Lenders will also need the following information:

  1. Information about typical loans (personal information, credit score, income, etc.)
  2. As a down payment or collateral, between 10% and 20%
  3. Inspection to establish the objective worth of the RV
  4. The age and mileage of the bus
  5. The final agreed price for which you are applying

What Is the Best Way to Locate Certified RV Inspectors?

You have a number of options for finding a competent inspector. When it comes to RVs, some people have utilized friends who have “done it, seen it, and gone through it.” These seasoned RVers may have real-world experience and know what to look for, but unless you have a signed contract, you are responsible for everything. This is one of the most effective methods to terminate a friendship.

Another option is to employ an RV inspector who is properly qualified. The National Recreational Vehicle Inspectors Association website will help you locate a qualified RV inspector (NRVIA). Inspectors at this nationally renowned organization are highly trained to be thorough and impartial in their inspections.

The NRVIA certifies RV inspectors who work for themselves or for small to medium-sized companies. They are licensed, bonded, and insured, just like any other company. Their fees may vary from $150 to $1,000 or more. 


Who Are RV Inspectors and What Do They Do?

Many inspectors have no prior experience in building or the automotive sector. The majority of them are #RVLifers looking for a new job that suits their way of life. One inspector, for example, had worked as a surgical technician for almost 20 years before she and her husband chose to retire to the RV lifestyle. 

She may continue to travel the roads and byways as a qualified RV inspector. She works for a more well-known RV inspection business in a specific area of the United States. She may take an appointed task and go to the place if she is available. She notifies the firm when she and her husband are ready to go, and she departs.

The Benefits and Drawbacks of Self-Inspection

RV inspections may be done on your own as long as they aren’t required by a governing organization. Here are some things to think about while doing an RV inspection on your own. Here is a checklist as well as a suggested tool list for your examination.


  • More affordable: You may save money by doing it yourself with the proper checklist and home equipment.
  • You don’t put your faith in someone else’s skills. 
  • Learning: As you crawl around the RV, you’ll pick up on a lot of information about how everything works together. If you’re unsure about anything, use RVBlogger or other excellent sites to check it up on your mobile device.


  • Lack of Experience: The inexperienced eye may be fooled by the difference between what is up to code and what is a fast repair. Professionals will be able to predict whether or not a component would fail.
  • It’s all on your shoulders when it comes to liability. Let’s say you miss something or make a poor choice; you’re the one to blame.
  • Simpler methods may not need the use of a skilled eye. Inspecting a 50 amp junction box or a rear axle differential is a difficult task that requires a certain degree of knowledge.

Should I Invest in a Longer Warranty?

Extended warranties for used RVs are available from third-party businesses. These items only cover travel trailers and motorhomes that have outlived their original manufacturer’s warranties. The main issue is whether or not RV extended warranties are worthwhile.

Instead of a warranty, think of this coverage as an extended service agreement. The agreement’s provisions are more discriminatory than inclusive. It’s uncommon to come across one that covers accidents, severe weather, or regular wear and tear. The cost of an extended warranty may be very high.

The cost reductions on big-ticket goods are one of the benefits of an extended service agreement. The cost of repairing natural mechanical breakdowns in RV engines and gearboxes may run into the tens of thousands of dollars. In certain instances, they cover the “doughnut hole” between what insurance won’t repair and complete loss.

If you’re interested in buying an RV extended warranty after your inspection, dealers offer these via partnerships with third-party suppliers. You may discover insurance firms that provide them online if you purchase your coach from a private dealer. 

Check out our article Protecting Your Travels with RV Warranties: What, How, and Why for more information on RV Extended Warranties.

Checklist for RV Inspections (Free Printable)

We were planning to create our own RV inspection checklist, but we came across this one, which covers all the basics. It’s even available to download and print!

Is Buying an RV a Bad Investment?

If you’re wondering if purchasing an RV is a waste of money, the simple answer is a resounding NO! The benefits of living in an RV are incomparable to anything you can imagine. Ask anybody who grew up there and get comfy because they’ll tell you a variety of amazing tales.

Family time, relaxation, and seeing things in the world that you wouldn’t see in your daily life are all highlights of RVing. The road to your goal may be just as exciting as the final destination. You’ll meet the nicest individuals who will gladly assist you just because you’ve joined the RV community.

All you need is an RV and a kind smile to join this culture. Like any major purchase, you’ll want to be sure your mobile home isn’t too much for you. That is why a thorough RV checkup is essential. The aim is to spend as much time and money on the trip as possible, rather than at the repair shop.

Further Reading:

1 RV Warranties: What, How, and Why to Protect Your Travels

2 How to Become an RV Service Technician Certification

3 Do You Need The Good Sam Extended Service Plan?

Four of the Best RV Video Training Courses for Newbies

7 Money-Saving Tips for Mobile RV Repairs

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The RV Inspection for Registration is a service that allows you to get your RV inspected before it’s time to register. This service can be expensive, but if you are looking to buy an RV, the cost of this inspection is worth it. Reference: rv inspection for registration.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to inspect an RV?

It costs about $150 to inspect a recreational vehicle.

How much is an RV inspection in Texas?


How much does it cost to service a RV?

It costs approximately $5,000 to service an RV.