Common RV Inspection Myths

Don’t Believe These Common RV Inspection Myths!

There are so many things to consider when you are buying a motorized or towable RV, of any class or size.  It might seem to take forever before you finally find the RV that you believe is right for you – but once you do, don’t forget about the independent pre-purchase inspection!  Whether a pop-up camper, a Class A motorhome, or anything in between, it’s one of the most important parts of the sales process.  But there is a lot of misinformation out there, so it’s important to have the right information.  Based on my four years in business as an NRVIA Certified-Level 2 RV inspector, an RVIA/RVDA registered tech, an owner of RVs for nearly 25 years and having performed inspections on all types, classes and sizes of RVs, here are what I believe to be some common myths about pre-purchase RV inspections:    

All RV Inspectors are the Same

This could not be further from the truth!  It might be logical to assume that every “RV inspector” will provide the same service, but that’s just not the case.  When choosing an inspector, check to see if they are NRVIA Certified-Level 2, and perhaps even an RVIA/RVDA tech, as well.  These certifications mean they have been trained to go above and beyond any minimum expectations of an inspection.

NRVIA level 2 inspectors aren’t just “looking” at the RV but are actually testing the various operating systems and documenting their findings! Believe it or not, some “inspection companies” won’t even go on the roof to inspect it! When choosing an inspector, always ask for a Points of Inspection list, so you will know ahead of time what the inspection will entail. Level 2 inspectors are also trained to pull fluid samples for lab analysis on the coolants, oils and transmission of the motorhome, tow vehicle or generator.

Who is the NRVIA?  The NRVIA (National Recreational Vehicle Inspectors Association) was established to provide increased awareness to the importance of quality RV inspections and to enhance the professionalism of RV inspectors. The mission of the NRVIA is to set and promote standards for recreational vehicle inspections and to develop a network of certified, professional RV inspectors across North America that have undergone a strict, standardized testing and certification process to ensure that the end consumer is getting a quality inspection by a true professional bound by a strict Code of Ethics.[i]

When you work with an NRVIA Certified-Level 2 RV inspector, you can be sure that your best interests are always in mind, and that your inspection will be completed to the highest of standards. Be sure to ask your potential inspector about their training and experience.

You Don’t Need an Inspection – The Dealer is Already Doing Their Own

Unfortunately, even on new units, issues – sometimes serious ones, can and have been found; even after a dealer has performed their own pre-delivery inspections (PDI’s). Many times, dealers only spend a very limited amount of time doing a PDI, checking a limited number of items. Depending on the size & type of RV and the amenities it has, a proper inspection can typically take 5 – 10 man-hours! The roof alone can take 30 minutes to inspect properly! At times, the inspection report can be over 100 pages and include many photos with descriptions of the issues found. Any issues discovered are typically categorized into different levels of severity in the inspection report.

Doesn’t that sound better than someone claiming they will spend an hour or two “inspecting” your potential RV and then giving you a 1 or 2 page checklist as a report?

The best thing is that this independent NRVIA certified inspection is performed for you, the buyer, with your best interests in mind. The inspector is completely un-biased with no conflict of interest.

New RV’s Don’t Need a Pre-Purchase Inspection

Contrary to popular belief, new RV’s definitely do need an independent pre-purchase inspection.  Just because an RV is new, it does not mean it is free of problems.  In fact, issues are often found with plumbing, electrical & propane systems, sealants, safety and finish; again, even after the dealer has done their own PDI!  Always have an independent RV inspector do a complete inspection so you know the unit is completely functional and safe, or not. Make sure to have any discovered issues repaired to your satisfaction prior to completing the sale or accepting delivery.

Used RV’s Already Have All the “Bugs” Worked Out

This is another widely held myth. Most owners believe they DO take good care of their RV’s. However, many owners may also be unaware of items that need frequent regular maintenance and possible periodic replacement of items or, simply choose to not perform these tasks. When an inspection is completed, most sellers state they were completely “unaware” of the issues discovered. They assume the RV they are selling is in “great” condition with no issues! Furthermore, some sellers may choose to NOT disclose known defects in hopes of making a quick sale. Quite frankly, I have yet to inspect any used unit that had all the “bugs” worked out. Usually, there a quite a number of “bugs” to be dealt with! Pre-purchase due diligence is up to the buyer – YOU!. 

You’ll Just be in the Way if You Attend the Inspection

No, you won’t!  A buyer should attend the inspection, if possible – and if an inspector does not want you there, you should take your business elsewhere.  This is the perfect time to see first-hand what issues may be present and to ask any questions you might have.  All that is typically asked is to keep distractions to a minimum and to save questions until the end, if possible, so the inspector can focus on the task at hand.

An Inspector Can Give Advice on Whether or Not to Buy an RV

There is a lot of valuable information that an indpendent inspector provides, but telling a buyer whether they should buy an RV or not is not one of them.  Each person has their own opinion of what is acceptable and what they are willing to negotiate on. The purpose of a pre-purchase inspection is to get accurate, detailed information regarding the condition and functionality of the unit. It is up to the buyer to decide whether to complete the deal or not. You may be able to negotiate needed repairs, negotiate price reductions based on the condition or, walk away from the deal entirely. Always make sure any “hold” deposit is fully refundable.

To locate a NRVIA Certified-Level 2 inspector to perform your pre-purchase RV inspection, use the directory at https://myrvresource.com/, go to the NRVIA Inspector Locator at https://nrvia.org/inspector-locator-step-one/ or email the NRVIA directly to info@NRVIA.org with the location of inspection and RV type.

[1] NRVIA website – https://nrvia.org/

 

Robert Wilhelm
Author: Robert Wilhelm

Hello! I am the owner of Professional RV Inspections, LLC. I am NRVIA certified as a Level 2 RV inspector and also an RVDA/RVIA Registered RV Tech. I have owned and maintained several RVs over the last 25 years. I am comitted to providing un-biased, comprehensive inspections and other services, as well as excellent customer service for my clients. In 2017, I was a recipient of the NRVIAs "Service Excellence Award". I was also a part of the pre-delivery inspection team FEMA used to evaluate the safety and proper function of travel trailers to be used by those affected by hurricane Florence in North Carolina. Professional RV Inspections, LLC currently has a "5 Star" rating on Google Reviews & YELP! Services are performed all over the Midwest.

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