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How To Complete a Used RV Inspection

Are you ready to buy a used RV?  Have you completed the Used RV inspection yet?

How to Inspect a Used RV

By Alan Wiener
Everything About RVing

Have You Completed a Used RV Inspection On The Used RV You Are Going To Buy?

If your answer to this question is


Then you are not quite ready to buy that used RV yet.  Yes, the first step in buying a used RV is to inspect it inside and out to make sure it is in good shape.

Why? Because you are spending your hard earned money (we are assuming that you work hard for your money) to buy a used RV.  I am pretty sure that the reason you are buying a used RV is so you can enjoy your leisure time by camping with it. 

Without a used RV inspection, your leisure time may be spent repairing problems on the RV, that could have been discovered during a pre-purchase RV inspection. As the old saying goes "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" (you gotta love those old sayings).

I will also provide you with some guidelines on how to do the used RV inspection yourself.  I will give you some tips on how to inspect the RV's Documentation and the interior and exterior of the RV.  I will also give you guidelines on inspecting the RV's engine and hints on what to look for during your test drive of the RV.

There are three options you can use to complete this used RV inspection

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Hire an independent RV Inspection Service to complete the inspection for you. dependent on the company you hire, the inspector could go to where the RV is and conduct the inspection or in some cases you may be required to take the RV to them (some RV dealerships also do these inspections). 

This is also a good choice if you are purchasing a used RV in another state and you are not able to travel there to look at it yourself (yes, lots of people buy used RVs this way). 

Remember, you are the one that is going to be paying for this inspection whether you end up buying the RV or not.

The cost of the inspections vary by the type of Recreational Vehicle you are looking to buy.  An inspection on a used Tent Trailer is going to cost far less than an inspection on a used Class A Motorhome or Bus Conversion (the inspection for these could run well over $500.00).  This may sound like a lot of money, but, it costs far less than a major repair on a broken down RV.

Depending on the type of RV being inspected, the inspection could last up to 6 hours (sometimes longer).  Once the inspection is completed, you should be provided with a comprehensive report outlining what was found during the course of the inspection (also known as The Good,. Bad and Ugly Report).  Once you receive this report, you will be in a good position to make your final decision. 

If some problems were found during the inspection you can always use these as bargaining chips with the seller to get a price reduction.

WARNING:  If the seller refuses to let you get the RV inspected, your next step is to immediately walk out their front door, run to your car and make a hasty retreat.  Unless the seller is hiding something, there is no rational reason that they would not want the RV inspected.


Enlist the help of a knowledgeable friend to go with you to do the RV Inspection. This could be someone that owns an RV and is competent at working on them.  If the RV you are looking at is a Motorized RV (has a motor in it to make it go), they should also be a competent mechanic (diesel mechanic for diesel powered RV and gasoline engine mechanic for gas powered RV).

This is more cost effective (cheaper) than Option 1.  In fact, this may only cost you a 6 pack of beer or a bottle of Wine  (helpful hint, the beer or wine should be consumed after the inspection is completed, not prior to the inspection).


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You can do it yourself, as long as you are confident, that you know what you are doing.  Don't do it yourself just because you don't want to spend the money (you're a cheapskate and you just can't help yourself) to have an expert do it.  In the long run it could cost you more money to repair something you missed during your inspection, that an expert would have caught during their inspection.

If you chose either Option 2 or 3 above you might want to take a moment to review the general guidelines sections on what to look for during an RV Inspection below. The inspection guidelines are divided up into two sections.

Section 1:  is for motorized and non motorized RVs.  It covers the guidelines for reviewing important documents related to the RV and its maintenance history.  It also outlines the steps needed to conduct an inspection of the condition ot the interior and exterior of the RV.

Section 2:  is for motorized RVs and covers the guidelines for inspecting the engine and the guidelines on what to look for during a road test of the RV.

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Once you have completed these inspections, you will have a pretty good idea of the condition of the RV that you are considering buying.

Once you buy an RV you will become an "Official RVer".  One thing is for sure you won't regret being a part of RVing Lifestyle.  Many new adventures will be just down the road.  

Happy RVing

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