An RV is a big vehicle with a large amount of moving parts, and those moving parts are liable to break. Because of this, many states require an RV inspection. This is intended to ensure the safety of the vehicle.
To find an RV inspector in your area, a simple Google search can often help you out. Otherwise, try asking RV enthusiasts you know in person, or on a forum. Finally, the NRVIA can recommend certified inspectors to you.
For all the information you need about RV inspections, including what they are and if you need one, read this guide. We cover the ins and outs of RV inspection, so you can get back on the road without any worries.
Do All RVs Need To Be Inspected?
RV inspections are a state requirement, but that does mean not all states need them. If you live in a state that doesn’t require an RV inspection for registration, then it’s not something you have to worry about.
The other important thing to know is that an inspection is only a requirement for the state you register the RV in. You can drive from state to state without requiring constant inspections every time you pass state lines.
Many states do require an inspection, but not all of them. So, your RV might not need to be inspected, but it’s more than likely a requirement. But the inspection only matters for the state it’s registered in, and not for whatever state it travels to.
This is particularly useful when you consider that there are different rules for different states.
To put it simply: all RB owners should find out the individual requirements for the state they live in.
Do Different States Have Different RV Inspection Requirements?
RV inspection and registration requirements vary from state to state. As different states have different road laws, they’re able to enforce different inspection requirements to ensure compliance.
Depending on the state you’re in, these inspection rules can be incredibly strict, or fairly relaxed. In some cases, your RV may not require an inspection at all.
That said, the overall aim of the inspection is the same, no matter where you are. An inspection mostly just ensures that the vehicle is safe for you to drive, and safe to be used on the road.
To be sure of the exact rules, it’s best to check with the Department of Motor Vehicles for your state. They’ll be able to keep you up to date with any requirements, and any changes that may occur.
If you live in a state with strict requirements for an RV inspection, it might be tempting to register in a state where the rules are relaxed. You might think that this will make things easier in the long run.
However, this is a bad idea. Registering your RV in a different state is illegal, and can result in a hefty fine.
It’s worth noting that the different state requirements are related to the roads of that state. Even if your RV feels safe to drive frequently in one state, it might struggle with the roads of another.
Who Performs An RV Inspection?
Who performs the RV inspection will vary depending on the state. Again, this is because of the different requirements each state puts forth.
In a state with a particularly strict set of rules, a thorough inspection will be necessary. In other cases, a simple check may do the job.
The most thorough inspection you can find is performed by a member of the National Recreational Vehicle Inspectors Association, or the NRVIA.
These professionally trained inspectors check the RV with a fine toothed comb, to ensure the vehicle is up to standard.
An NRVIA inspector might operate independently, or be contracted by a local business. They’ve received training by the NRVIA, and are often RV enthusiasts.
Many of those who complete the NRVIA training program are RV owners who know a lot about the vehicle due to years of ownership, and found a way to make some money from their experience.
But you don’t always need an NRVIA inspector to do the job. A local repair shop might have someone on staff who can perform an inspection. Similarly, a commercial truck inspection station may be able to inspect your RV.
If you’re buying an RV, then you might be able to get an inspection at the dealership. These can sometimes be expensive, so watch out for additional costs.
Knowing what kind of inspection you require is important before you hire someone to take a look at your RV.
Do You Have To Pay For An RV Inspection?
Yes, you will have to pay for an RV inspection. However, there is some variety in how much you have to pay. It’s worth getting multiple quotes, before choosing who to perform the inspection.
An RV inspection might cost somewhere between $150 and $1200. As you can see, this is quite a price range. The more you pay, the higher a level of inspection you will receive.
The bad news is, if your state has strict inspection laws, you’ll probably have to pay something towards the pricier end of the scale.
Mandatory state inspections tend to be cheap, and may cost less than $100. These inspections cover only the very basics.
To try and keep costs down, you absolutely have to ask around for quotes. Just going with the first person you find, no matter how highly recommended they come, might end with you paying far more than you wanted to.
After all, you’ll have nothing to compare it to. Get quotes from as many people as you can, and then choose an inspector based on price and quality of service.
Also, make sure you’re aware of exactly what needs to be covered in the inspection. Knowing the state laws means you only have to pay for services that are necessary.
Other checks you might be able to perform yourself. This way, you won’t end up paying $1200 when you only need a $150 check.
The other side of this; knowing the requirements means you won’t have to pay twice when the first inspection didn’t cover everything it needed to. Staying aware saves money in the long run.
In most cases, you want to avoid the inspection offered by the dealership. This is always the most expensive one around, and the one most likely to lead to hidden costs and upselling. If you can, get your inspection done by a third party.
Don’t just try and find a bargain and end up with a second rate job. A bad inspection won’t check faults properly, and this will only lead to problems further down the line.
What Happens During An RV Inspection?
RV inspections vary from state to state, and inspector to inspector, but there are a few things that come as standard. Expect all the basics to be checked, including turn signals, brakes, brake lights, and headlights.
A basic check is likely to cover the emissions as well. These safety inspections are generally what the state requires.
There are also in depth inspections that will cover just about every part of the RV you can think of. These services are more expensive, but every appliance and handle will be checked and tested.
If you’re buying a second-hand RV for the first time, these kinds of inspections can be incredibly reassuring.
In some states, these detailed inspections will be a requirement before you can register the RV. In that case, expect to pay a fairly significant amount.
When your RV is in for inspection, there isn’t much you can do but sit back and watch. The inspector will cover the vehicle as much as necessary, and inform you of any potential problems.
The inspector will have a checklist of everything that needs to be covered. They’ll use this to work through the RV. You will often have to sign a disclosure agreeing to what’s on the checklist, and acknowledging what isn’t being inspected.
If it all goes well, the inspection will be approved, and you can drive off in your RV.
It’s important to pay attention during the inspection, because unfortunately, not all inspectors are trustworthy. This is why it’s good to get recommendations beforehand. Keep an eye on what’s going on during the inspection, just for some peace of mind.
Do You Need An Inspection To Register Your RV?
Registration and inspections for RVs can be a confusing subject, but for the most part a registration will be required, and an inspection might not be necessary. The only way to know for sure is to contact the DMV in your state and find the local laws.
Generally, registering an RV is a simple process. It tends to work the same way you would register a car, although some states have some more complex guidelines.
In order to register the RV, an inspection might be required. Again, this varies from state to state. The level of inspection also changes depending on where the registration occurs.
The cost of registering your RV can depend on the size of the vehicle.
Here’s one part where it does get confusing: some states don’t require an old RV to be registered. So, if you have an RV from before 2000, it may not require registration, when a newer vehicle does. To be sure, check your local laws.
Should You Get An Inspection Before Buying An RV?
Getting an inspection before you buy an RV might seem like an added expense, but it’s a necessary one. Even trusted dealers might have issues with the RV that they’re unaware of. When you buy the vehicle, that problem becomes yours.
In some cases, unscrupulous sellers won’t be upfront about issues the RV has experienced. Then, not long down the line, you’re saddled with costly repairs that have been steadily growing worse.
Before purchasing an RV, paying for a private third-party inspection is always a good idea. Not only does it offer peace of mind, but it ensures you can get the best deal possible with your RV.
Unfortunately, these inspections can be expensive. That’s because you want to know that every part of the RV has been examined. Although the upfront costs can be expensive, it does work out for the best in the long run.
An RV can be a vehicle that brings you years and years of happiness.
If you don’t want to pay for an inspection, then it is possible to do one yourself. This requires some dedicated learning on your part, and a willingness to be super critical. We wouldn’t recommend a self-inspection unless you already have experience with RVs.
How To Find State RV Inspection Near You
There are a few ways to find a state RV inspector near you, but the best option is to look online. Otherwise, you can try calling your local DMV, or asking for recommendations from other RV owners.
We recommend beginning your search online, as you can get a comprehensive idea of what’s available in your area. Begin with a Google search. Searching “RV inspector in my area” can sometimes tell you everything you need to know.
Make sure to replace my area with the area you live in.
Otherwise, try looking online for RV forums, or RV enthusiasts in your area. These people are often well-informed about what inspections are required for RVs in your state.
They’ll generally have experience with different inspectors, and know who is trustworthy, and priced fairly.
Another place to look is the NRVIA website. This can only direct you toward NRVIA trained inspectors, but it’s still a useful resource.
If you have friends or family nearby who own RVs, ask around for recommendations. If they’ve received particularly good service somewhere, they’re likely to be interested in sharing the details.
Asking at your local RV dealership is helpful, but be aware of other costs if they recommend an in-house inspection.
Finally, try visiting your DMV, or other state offices, and asking about mandatory RV inspections. They should be able to tell you what the necessary requirements are, and where you can go to get these requirements dealt with.
When planning an inspection yourself, internet research is also a necessity. Otherwise, you just won’t know what to look for. There are plenty of resources online providing checklists and information about all that happens during an RV inspection.
From the outside, an inspection might seem like an unnecessary expense, and a fair amount of hassle. But this short-term annoyance can provide plenty of relief in the long-term.
A state required inspection ensures your vehicle is safe on the road, and won’t cause injuries or damages.
State required inspections are necessary for safe operation of your RV, and they tend to be basic and inexpensive checks. Finding the best place for a state inspection is easy, as these services will be authorized by the government.
Inspection before purchasing a used RV may not be mandatory, but they are necessary. They can reveal hidden issues that you would have been unaware of until they became major faults.
Finding an RV inspection in your area can be simple with an online search, or a chat with other RV enthusiasts.