Do you like traveling in comfort and privacy? Consider investing in a recreational vehicle so you can enjoy all the amenities of your home while on the road. This way, you save on hotel fees and have complete control of your living space.
Like other vehicles, an RV requires regular inspection and maintenance to perform at its best. Otherwise, your road trip may turn into a nightmare.
How much would an RV inspection cost? The answer depends on the type of inspection required.
But first, let’s look at why this is such an essential task.
Motorhomes are a favorite among those who prefer a nomadic lifestyle. These adventurous souls travel for months on end, either for work or leisure. Others use RVs for weekend camping trips so that they can experience the outdoors without roughing it.
No matter how long your stay, you need to keep your motorhome in top condition. Living in an RV for an extended period means that it undergoes more wear and tear. But when an RV is not used often, its engine and appliances can be prone to malfunctions.
Good thing RV inspections can save you from a world of trouble.
An inspection allows you to:
- Comply with state laws
- See which parts need to be replaced or fixed
- Avoid accidents or discomfort
- Catch any potential issues or defects early
- Save money on expensive repairs
- Assure potential buyers that your used RV is in good condition
On a long trip, a minor hiccup may quickly escalate into a serious issue. Inspections are also crucial if your warranty is about to run out and if you own an older RV.
You don’t want RV issues to bring your journey to a grinding halt. Keep in mind that the following are preventable:
- Engine trouble
- Water damage
- Electrical issues
- Plumbing problems
Imagine having dead headlights, a leaky toilet, or broken air conditioning in the middle of nowhere.
Having your RV inspected at least once a year can help ensure your safety and convenience.
States require different inspections, depending on the size and class of the RV you own. A certified inspector will do a thorough check of the following:
- Other parts of your RV
This routine inspection ensures that your vehicle is not a risk on the road. Your RV will be issued an inspection sticker when it passes the mandatory check.
Are you buying an RV? Whether it’s brand-new or second-hand, a pre-purchase inspection is necessary. This is a step that most newbies neglect to do, to their regret.
Don’t relax simply because you bought an RV fresh from the factory. Take note that some dealers may not perform any checks on your motorhome. As a result, they may overlook defects that could prove costly for the buyer.
An inspector will at these parts during the pre-purchase inspection:
- Condition of the wheels and tires
- Exterior and interior parts of the RV
- Lights, tubes, and air-conditioning
- Upholstery, seat belts, and interior decorations
- Condition of the engine
- Brakes, exhaust, and steering wheel
- Condition of the appliances inside the RV
You can choose to either get the mechanical parts of your RV inspected or conduct a complete check of both the exterior and interior parts of the product.
Upon request, an inspector may also check life safety items like:
- Emergency exits
- Smoke detectors
- Fire extinguishers
- Water heater seals
Though they may seem expensive, consider regular RV inspections as a long-term investment.
Here are the average fees:
- Complete RV inspection: between $400 and $1,200
- Pre-purchase RV inspection: between $150 and $300
Some inspectors may charge higher fees. The final bill is influenced by the technician’s credentials and experience, the local market, and any additional services.
Also, the actual cost depends on the classification of your motorhome and the kind of inspection required. Your RV may undergo either Level 1 or Level 2 inspection. Let’s explore these in detail.
The Level 1 inspection is essentially a safety check. It takes a look at the key features of your RV, including:
- Overall functionality
- Interior and exterior parts
- Lighting and wiring
- The general state of RV appliances like refrigerators and stoves
Under the Level 1 inspection, the size and type of your RV motorhome will determine the time required to complete the maintenance check. Usually, a Level 1 inspection takes 2-3 hours.
You must budget between $200 and $500 for a Level 1 inspection.
The Level 2 RV inspection involves a more detailed check of your RV’s capabilities. This advanced inspection includes checks that are part of the Level 1 inspection. It also involves checking RV emissions and lab testing of fluids.
It often takes twice as long as the Level 1 inspection. Typically, a Level 2 inspection takes seven to eight hours. In cases where a lab test is needed, the inspection can take up to two weeks.
Since a Level 2 inspection involves more time and personnel, it is more expensive. Expect to shell out anything between $500 and $1000 for a one-time Level 2 inspection.
When you avail of the services of an RV inspector, you can be assured of getting your RV thoroughly inspected. Since broken or missing parts are quickly identified, you can get them fixed immediately.
As an RV owner, it is important that you know where to get your vehicle inspected.
One of the best places to search for a qualified RV inspector is the National RV Inspectors Association (NRVIA). This organization accredits and trains professional RV inspectors in the US and Canada.
NRVIA members have to comply with the organization’s Standards of Practice and a Code of Ethics. They are also awarded a certificate and credentials once they meet strict requirements.
You can also search for well-known and reliable RV inspectors on Google Maps, Facebook, or online RV forums. If a friend or relative has a motorhome, you can also ask them for referrals.
There’s a reason why word-of-mouth is still a reliable source of suppliers and service providers.
If you do not find an inspector in your town or city, try expanding your search to a 100-mile radius. Some RV inspectors are willing to go to your location so you don’t have to drive a potentially defective vehicle.
Some people might wonder if getting an RV inspection from their local dealership is better than hiring one from the NRVIA. Getting your dealer to conduct a routine check on your electrical appliance might appear to be the easier and more convenient option.
However, consumers have been duped by unscrupulous sellers. They either did not perform the inspection properly or overlooked product defects. Hence, you should search for RV inspectors on the NRVIA website or third-party sources rather than relying on local dealers.
Are you tempted to go the DIY route when it comes to RV inspections? Think twice. Even though it may cost you money, it’s better to get your RV checked by an independent inspector.
If you are a mechanic, then performing an RV inspection on your own might be possible.
- RV engines and parts differ a lot from those of the typical car or SUV.
- You may not know how to check RV appliances or plumbing.
- Your findings will not be accepted by the state for the mandatory inspection.
Even if you have sufficient knowledge of how RV functions, there’s nothing like asking an expert’s advice. These qualified inspectors often have hundreds of hours of experience under their belt. They also have seen a wide array of vehicles in conditions.
The depth and breadth of their expertise, combined with the required credentials, make professional inspectors a sure bet.
What if your RV malfunctions or causes damage in transit? Hiring a professional RV inspector can protect you from lawsuits and fines in the future. It would also facilitate getting your warranty and insurance claims approved.
Here’s what you need to do during an RV inspection:
- Sign the pre-inspection contract. Make sure you read all the terms and conditions beforehand.
- Pay the inspection charges. This can also be done after the inspection is over.
- All the doors, tools, furniture, and RV related systems should be accessible to the inspector
- All the keys, instruction manuals, and remote controls, if any, should be in working condition and provided to the RV inspector.
- The batteries of your RV and the appliances inside it must be fully charged. In some cases, you may need to hook up your RV to a power source.
- If a generator is being used to power your device, it needs to have enough fuel.
Even if you are not mechanically inclined, it won’t hurt to do frequent visual checks of your RV. Since you know your vehicle inside and out, you may spot issues overlooked by professional inspectors or your dealership.
Once you’re assured of your RV’s condition, it’s time to pack and get ready for your next road trip. Safe travels!