RV Inspection Costs: What to Expect

You can’t buy a home without an inspection, and you shouldn’t buy a car without inspecting it first. RVs are a combination of a home and a car, so inspections are even more critical. But what does an RV inspection cost, and what does it entail?

RV inspections, whether done by mobile mechanics or an in-house inspector, can vary in price because inspectors set their rates. Typically, you can expect an inspection to cost anywhere from $150 to $1,500. Expect the price to be higher if you want to buy an older RV.

Let’s jump in to what an RV inspection entails, how much you can expect to pay, and options for your RV inspection so that you can go into the dealership or call a mobile mechanic and are ready to talk shop. 

What Is an RV Inspection?

An RV inspection isn’t required by law, and it isn’t required for the dealership or salesman to provide it to you. Some dealerships will have close relationships with an inspector or have an inspection report already ready to go, but often you’ll have to seek out the support of an RV inspection yourself. 

An RV inspection gives you some insight into the current condition of the RV you want to purchase. They will look for problems, dysfunctions, and things that may need repairing. After the RV inspection, the goal is for you to make a more informed decision about the prospect of purchasing the RV.

One of the key pieces to an RV inspection by an actual, certified inspector is that they’re giving you an unbiased view of the vehicle, and they don’t care whether you buy it or not, much the same way home inspectors don’t care whether you buy the house or not. 

A certified RV inspector shouldn’t attempt to sell you a vehicle or send you in the direction of another dealership, but instead, give you an honest assessment and perspective of the RV’s condition.  

The Difference Between an RV Inspection and a PDI

If you’re in the market for an RV, you may have noticed some of the dealerships will require a PDI to be done right before you purchase your vehicle. PDI stands for Pre-Delivery Inspection and is required by most dealerships. 

The main difference between an RV inspection and a PDI is the thoroughness of the exam and the purpose. The factory requires a PDI if you are getting your RV from the dealer, and typically they will go over a checklist before selling an RV. 

This isn’t the same as an RV inspection, but it can cover a lot of the same things. A PDI will usually check for:

  • Leaks 
  • Appliance functions
  • Loose additions
  • Functions of windows and blinds
  • Airflow
  • Plumbing function


A PDI will make sure that the RV you buy is up to the manufacturer’s quality standards. This serves as a quality control mechanism and allows you to request fixes (or discounts) if things come up.

What Your Inspector Is Looking For

I will discuss below that it takes a certified RV inspector to check out an RV. At the end of their coursework, these RV inspectors can be trained at trade schools or through different programs and come out as certified inspectors. Many register through the National RV Inspectors Association, and you can find certified inspectors on the NRVIA website

In a sense, many are contractors or freelancers, setting their prices. 

Your salesman or the person selling you the RV may claim to have already had everything looked at by an RV inspector, and if this is the case, you can ask them for the inspection notes. Most of the time, when you’re paying for an RV inspection, you’re also paying for a conversation with the inspector post-inspection about the problems they have noticed. 

Some inspectors will even give you a detailed written report, complete with pictures. Again, because RV inspectors run their ship, their offerings will depend on their preferences. 

When RV inspectors look for things in your RV, they move through a checklist they were trained on during their certification process. RV inspectors are looking for problems and dysfunctions in your new, or new to you, RV. 

Typically, they’re going to look for: 


  • The volt and electrical systems
  • Appliances
  • Generators
  • Gas systems and appliances
  • Audio, video, TV, and satellite features of the RV
  • Plumbing 
  • Fluid levels, such as engine oil, transmission fluid, coolant, power steering, and brakes.
  • Road capabilities, such as engine operation, transmission operation, driveline, cruise control, and air conditioning.

The primary purpose of this RV inspection is to diagnose the condition of your RV. This YouTube video outlines precisely what RV inspectors look for:


These inspections can be visual, more intensive at fluids, undercarriage, or even lab testing. At the end of the inspection, they can talk with you about what they noticed and what these repairs might look like. Inspectors aren’t usually able to do these repairs, though, and will likely refer you to someone who can. 

It’s important to remember that your RV inspector, though qualified to look over the RV and see when things are going wrong, is not usually able to fix issues. 

When you get a home inspection before buying a house, the home inspector comes to take a look and give you information about what might need to be fixed and repaired. Afterward, you or the seller are expected to reach out for repair. 

With RV inspections, you can also expect to reach out afterward to mechanics. 

The Investment of an RV Inspection

An RV inspection sets you up with an unbiased view by a qualified expert in RVs. 

A certified RV dealer will come out and double-check that you’ve been told everything you need to. Dealers and salespeople can mark up prices and tell you anything you want to hear to make the sale.

Like cars and houses, sometimes minor problems turn into big ones. This is why a home inspection is required before the sale of a home, so the buyers and sellers can get together to look at what costs may come up in the long run. 

Many stories exist of people deciding not to buy a home because of something that came up during the inspection, whether too costly or too time-consuming. Cars don’t require this same thing, but everyone knows somebody who bought a lemon from a dealer.

RVs are a significant investment, so investing in the RV inspection can end up saving you lots of money in the long run. Ensure that you have a qualified RV inspector doing the job for you.

Factors That Contribute To The Cost Of RV Inspections

If you’re familiar with the home-buying process, you might be drawing parallels between the home inspection and the RV inspection, as they’re similar in a lot of ways. Home inspection fees usually come out of the closing costs or may be paid for by the seller, but RV inspection costs will likely come out of your pocket. 

RV inspection costs vary and are typically between $150-$1,500. 

Inspectors can set their rates and services, so it’ll depend on the inspector you are working with. Additionally, the type of RV might further determine the cost of your vehicle. 

You can also purchase different levels of inspection. The cheaper inspections will be visual, while the more expensive ones will also detail a diagnostic of the automotive parts of the vehicle. 

Some inspections may even provide a lab test for the fluids in the vehicle. 

Because RV inspectors can set their prices, your cost will vary. If you buy an old, run-down RV and have an inspector who charges by the hour, your inspection cost may go way up. However, if you have an inspector who charges one base price, the price might remain the same as having a newer RV.

RV Inspectors

Now that you understand what an RV inspection is and how much it might cost, you may be wondering who the RV inspector is. As mentioned above, RV inspectors typically run their businesses. 

They have the flexibility to give different prices and services dependent on their personal preferences. 

RV inspections are supposed to take place with a certified RV inspector who goes through rigorous coursework to become qualified to look at your RV. A few trade school programs or certification courses qualify an RV inspector to become “certified”

Then, they can run their own business or sign on with an already running business to give RV inspections. Being recognized by the NRVIA (National RV Inspection Association) is one of the top-tier goals of an RV inspector. 

Mobile Mechanics

Depending on the distance between your RV and the certified inspector you are doing business with, you may need the inspector to come to the dealership or your home to check out the RV in question. 

Typically, RV inspectors will make these “house” calls and include them in their price. 

But if you are in a unique situation that requires an RV inspector to come to your existing home or the home of a seller, you might consider a mobile mechanic.

Most inspections are done before purchase and require the RV dealership to be open to the inspector coming in and doing the inspection, which could take around three hours. Or you could have them do a little bit of testing post-purchase if there’s a money-back guarantee. 

If your certified RV inspector is too far away for comfortability, especially if you’re new to operating your vehicle, you can look for a mobile mechanic.

Mobile mechanics will run the diagnostic tests an inspector might have run on the automotive part of your vehicle. They may know a little less about the electrical, plumbing, and other home features of your vehicle, but some mechanics will have an RV inspector on hand. 

Even if they aren’t nationally certified, a mobile professional might better fit your needs. The cost of mobile mechanic diagnostic tests is, on average, anywhere from $20 to $400.

The added benefit of having a mobile mechanic come help with your inspection is their ability to fix your vehicle, as well. Home inspectors can’t be expected to fix windows or repaint walls in the same way that RV inspectors can’t be expected to replace brake pads or repair plumbing. 

Having a mobile mechanic come out to inspect your RV will mean they can fix what’s broken right there. Especially if the damage is something necessary for driving, such as belts or wheels, this will be much cheaper than towing an RV. 


An RV inspection can save you tons of money in the long run by preventing you from buying or investing in a lemon. RV inspections can cost anywhere from $150 to over $1,000. 

You may find RV inspections cheaper, and if you trust the inspector, you can count yourself lucky. RV inspectors need to pass a certification program but can otherwise manage their own business and set their rates. 

You should be sure your RV inspector is the real deal because problems that go ignored can often be dangerous. 

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