Buying an RV can mean new travel opportunities, new adventures, and a comfortable place to call home even when you’re out of town. It can also mean tons of headaches and expenses. As a full-time RVer and motorhome owner, I believe the peace of mind from a motorhome inspection service is worth the cost.
Sure, it’s more fun to find the right RV type, the right floor plan, and the right price for our needs. But above all else, we need to know if the asking price is worth it or not.
A motorhome inspection service can help you decide if that rig is worth the asking price.
If you’re in the market for an RV but aren’t sure if you should use a motorhome inspection service, this is the article for you. In this post, we will talk about what such a service does. You will learn how much a motorhome inspection can cost, and who should consider getting a professional motorhome inspection before buying.
Buying Used? This is Why a Motorhome Inspection Service is Worth It
First, let’s discuss what exactly a motorhome inspection service does. When you hire a professional to inspect an RV, you can expect them to carefully check each and every component of the rig. It’s similar to a home inspection service done on a real estate purchased, performed by a certified inspector.
The inspection should include all appliances such as the oven, stove, fridge, air conditioner, furnace, and water heater. It should also include the plumbing, including water lines, drain pipes, and holding tanks.
We hired an inspector to evaluate our MH before purchase. I thought it was worth every penny. I would have never been that thorough, and it is nice to have it all documented. An inspection can also save a trip on an out of area purchase. Save the time, airfare, and possible disappointment.@petrel, iRV2 Forums Member
Your inspector will carefully examine the exterior of the RV. They will look for damaged seals, cracks, problems with axles or landing gear, and other hidden issues. They should also look over the interior, watching for signs of leaks and other damage. Appliances like the refrigerator and oven are carefully looked over, and accessories like awnings and slideouts are also tested.
Lastly, your inspector will likely examine the generator and under the hood of the motorhome. Nothing gets left out, like combing over mechanical functions such as brakes, suspension, and transmission.
A well trained inspector knows what to look for in any make or model. They will have no trouble finding and pointing out issues.
Still, you will want to allow plenty of time for the inspector to thoroughly examine every inch of the RV. Rushing them may result in a less-than-stellar job on their part.
Some inspectors will allow you to follow behind them as they inspect, giving you an opportunity to see the ins and outs of the motorhome. This can be extremely helpful down the line, and we highly recommend following along, even if it means paying a little extra.
Whether you follow along or not, every inspector should provide an inspection report at the end of the examination. This report will tell you exactly what kinds of flaws the RV has so you can decide if any necessary repairs are something you have the ability to tackle. This report can also give you some leverage if your goal is to get the price of the rig lowered due to damage.
You can expect that any used RV will have some problem spots. Go in knowing that, in order to avoid too much disappointment.
Do you need a motorhome inspection service when buying from a dealer? Or only from a private party?
Those purchasing a brand new RV don’t usually need an RV inspection. The dealer’s pre delivery inspection report is typically good enough to protect you from unpleasant surprises. But anyone who will be buying a used RV absolutely should consider hiring a professional RV inspector. This is also true for a buyer purchasing from private sellers. You never know what that person’s RV has been through. However, it also applies to those buying from dealerships.
You see, dealerships don’t always inspect used units that come through their doors. RV sales people aren’t usually excited to disclose problems with the RV they’re trying to sell you. You also can’t really rely on a warranty since most used RV warranties don’t cover much.
You are buying both a house and a vehicle, both of which are complex and potentially have expensive repairs that may not be evident to the casual observer. If you have reasonable skills for mechanical, electrical, plumbing and structural items and are observant, you can evaluate yourself. If not confident in your own skills, hiring a pro makes sense, but it’s going to be expensive if you want a solid review (see Isaac-1 reply). A “once-over” check of 2-4 hours labor time may be enough to catch the main points. Sometimes a mobile RV tech can give you a quick “gut check” in an hour or so (about $180-$250). That’s just a verbal report and best done with you present so he can talk as he goes thru things.@Gary RVRoamer, iRV2 Forums
An inspection covers you against potentially expensive repairs.
The report allows you to buy with confidence and not get hit with costly issues immediately after buying.
If you have been RVing for decades and have made all your own repairs, there is a chance that you may not need an inspector. You might be able to thoroughly comb through a potential rig and spot any issues. However, this isn’t a route we recommend taking unless you have tons of experience. Even then we believe hiring an RV inspection is worth it. You don’t want your excitement about the RV to cloud your judgement.
Not local to the rig you want to buy? In this case, a professional inspection is even more important. You aren’t likely to have a chance to thoroughly inspect the RV yourself before purchasing. Plus, an inspection might save you a pointless drive.
How Much Does a Motorhome Inspection Service Cost?
RV inspections vary in price depending on location, type of RV, and how thorough the inspection needs to be. Generally, you can expect to pay anywhere from about $100 for a simple trailer to $1,000 or more for a luxury motorhome inspection service.
In any case, the cost of an inspection will be a fraction of the cost of the RV itself. It could potentially save you headaches and thousands of dollars. We’d say it’s a worthwhile investment.
How Do I Find a Motorhome Inspection Service?
If you’re ready to hire an inspector, you might be wondering where to find one. One option is to ask an RVing Facebook group or forum for suggestions. Other people call up some local dealerships and repair shops to see if they’ll do the job, or if they know somebody who will. Either of these methods will work.
Our suggestion? Used RV buyers should always turn to the National RV Inspectors Association NRVIA website. The inspectors that are certified by NRVIA must pass a test and adhere to certain standards. You can hire any of them with confidence. On top of that, the website for this organization makes finding an inspector near you a cinch.
In summary, yes, a motorhome inspection service is worth it. Anyone purchasing a used RV would be better off using one. This is especially true for motorhomes, because engines are a huge part of the cost. This is especially true for those who don’t know what they might be looking for in terms of damage. Or those who will be buying an out-of-state motorhome. Isn’t your peace of mind worth the cost of an RV inspection?