Welcome back to our RV inspection series, where we guide you through the journey of purchasing your dream RV. In our previous articles, we emphasized the significance of inspecting an RV, selecting the right inspector, and understanding RV documentation. Now, we’re about to equip you with a powerful tool—the RV inspection checklist. Our checklist is designed for you to take along when you’re looking for an RV. Using the provided checklist, you should be able to determine if the RV you are looking at is something you would want to hire an independent RV inspector or something you should pass by.

Why You Need an Inspection Checklist

Before we dive into the details, let’s understand why having an RV inspection checklist is essential:

  1. Organization: A checklist keeps you organized during the inspection process, ensuring no critical components are overlooked. When shopping for an RV it is easy to get caught up in all the choices of models, features, and “shiny” features the dealer wants to show you.
  2. Thoroughness: It helps you systematically assess the RV’s various systems, from the engine to the interior and exterior.
  3. Prevention: Using a checklist can prevent you from spending money to hire an independent inspector for an RV that is not worth the time or money to inspect.
  4. Emotional Detachment: It is easy to get caught up in the emotion of buying an RV and all the “bells and whistles.” Having a systematic checklist helps keep you emotionally detached when making a significant financial decision.

Creating Your Personalized RV Inspection Checklist

Now that you know the benefits, let’s explore some of the categories in our RV inspection checklist:

  1. Visual Observations: Visual observations of the RV and its systems and components can give you valuable insight into the condition of the RV. If you are able and feel comfortable doing so, getting on the roof of the RV is essential. This allows you to observe, and more importantly, feel the condition of the roof and components. Walk around the RV paying close attention to any signs of damage or previous repairs. Though, not technically not included in your visual senses pay attention to your sense of smell. Especially when you go inside of the RV. Do you smell anything unusual such as pets, smoke, and mold or mildew? These signs, or lack of, are important for you to consider.
  2. Categorization: Our checklist has been divided into two main categories. First are items that are important to visually observe and rate. Second are items to test and note their condition, such as turning on the air conditioners, turning on the generator and running it under a load.
  3. Items: The inspection checklist lists components that are crucial for you to look at during any inspection. If you notice any problems with these items, you might want to seriously consider whether this is the RV you really want to hire an independent RV inspector to look at. For example, one of the categories on our inspection checklist is the exterior roof. If looking at the roof you see and feel soft or crunchy spots that might be a sign of current or previous water damage. Though, we have tried to include many important items this list is not meant to be an exhaustive list. It is only a guide to help you decide if the RV in question is worth pursuing or do you want to move on. When you hire an independent RV inspector, such as RV P. I. our detailed list is meant to be an exhaustive list. One that takes a minimum of five or six hours. On large motorhomes we commonly spend upwards of ten hours.

Comprehensive Inspection Categories

Let’s break down the checklist into inspection categories and provide examples of items we included:

  1. Exterior Inspection:
    • Check for signs of water damage or leaks. Signs could include soft spots on the ceiling and delamination of the sidewalls.
    • Inspect the tires for wear and age. Even though the tires may look like they are in good condition we want you to try and locate the DOT date codes. If the tire is older than six years, it might be something you need to consider for replacement.
    • Examine the roof for cracks or damage. Sealant used on the roofs of most RVs will shrink and crack as it ages. These cracks will eventually create a path for water to enter the interior of the RV.
  1. Interior Inspection:
    • Check for signs of water damage or leaks. Signs could include soft or “crunchy” spots on the walls or stains on the walls and ceilings.
    • Check the plumbing system for leaks or issues. Undetected water leaks can lead to expensive repairs and time lost using your RV.
    • Examine the condition of upholstery, flooring, and cabinets.
    • Do you notice any unusual smells, such as smoke, pets, or a musty smell?
  1. Engine and Mechanical Inspection (for motorhomes):
    • Assess the engine’s condition and fluid levels. Are the fluid levels appropriate to operate the engine? Are there any signs of fluid leaks either in the engine compartment or under the engine?
    • Test the brakes, transmission, and suspension.
    • Examine the exhaust system for rust or damage.

Tips for Using the Checklist Effectively

To maximize the effectiveness of your checklist:

  1. Take Notes: Document your findings, including any issues or concerns, to discuss with the seller or inspector.
  2. Stay Focused: Follow the checklist systematically, and don’t rush through the inspection.
  3. Take Pictures: The old saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” certainly holds true.
  4. Ask Questions: If you’re unsure about any aspect of the inspection, don’t hesitate to ask us. Better yet, schedule a video conference with us while you are at the dealer or seller. We would love to walk through the RV with you while you are there and answer your questions about the RV and its condition. Taking us along with you for your inspection can help you determine if you need to hire us to fully inspect the RV for you.


With your personalized RV Inspection Checklist – Client in hand, you’re well-prepared to embark on your RV inspection journey. This checklist will serve as your roadmap to a wise investment, helping you make an informed decision about your potential RV purchase before you hire an RV inspector.

In the next article, we’ll guide you through the negotiation process after the inspection, ensuring you get the best deal possible. Stay tuned, and remember, your RV adventure is one checklist away from becoming a reality!