Pre-Purchase RV Inspection Checklist 


Pre Purchase RV Inspection Checklist


Inside the RV:

·         Look for signs of water leaks.  Usually you’ll see stains where the walls meet the ceiling, around window frames, and inside cabinets.  Take a flashlight and look under sinks and behind any access panels near a water source.  Under the shower, for example.

·         Check all appliances for condition and missing parts.  Check each appliance by operating it.

·         Run the Frig (Run it in propane mode as well as in electric mode)

·         Run the air conditioner long enough to make sure it blows cold.

·         Run the furnace.

·         Run the water pump.  (It’s best to run with water in the tank so you can see if it has good pressure/flow.

·         Check all faucets for leaks.

·         Check for plumbing leaks by turning on pump (make sure there is water in the tank) and all faucets off.  Wait for a few minutes.  The pump should not cycle on.  If it does, there is a leak somewhere.

·         Check vent fans

·         Check that vents open and close properly

·         Check water heater. 

·         Check the stove and oven for condition.  Make sure all burners and oven operate properly.

·         Check lights.

·         Check condition of upholstery.  Look for general condition, sun damage, and stains.  Especially pet related stains. 

·         Check condition of carpet.  Look for water stains—may indicate water damaged floor.  Check for pet stains.

·         Check windows for screens and condition of screens.

·         Check windows for proper operation.  Do they open and close smoothly?

·         Check windows  for cracks.

·         Check bed for condition of mattress.  RV mattresses are often very thin and uncomfortable.  A popular upgrade with RVers is to replace the stock mattress with a good quality one. 

Outside the RV:

·         Look for  “bubbles” in the sidewalls.  Push on them to see if they give.  If so, it’s probably delamination caused by water getting in and causing rot.

·         Check slide-outs for proper operation. 

·         Make sure storage doors and access doors work properly.  If they lock make sure there are keys.

·         Check batteries for age and condition.

·         In motorhomes, check windshield for cracks.

·         Check all exterior lights including tail/brake lights.

·         Check condition of roof.  It should not be soft and spongy. 

·         Check rubber sealant to make sure it’s not peeling away from vents, the AC, or around corners and mounting hardware for awnings, etc.

·         Check for white streaks on windows and sides of RV.  White streaks usually mean that it’s time to have the roof recoated.

·         Check grey and black water plumbing.  Pour water into sink and toilet.  Flush toilet.  There should not be water getting past the slide valves.

·         Check the slide valves.  (First, make sure tanks are empty.)  They should slide smoothly and be water tight.

·         If the RV has airbag suspension, check for leaks.

·         Check tires for condition and abnormal wear.  There should be no cracks in the sidewalls.  Check for tread depth to make sure tires still have a few miles left in them.   If the tires have unusual wear it may mean an alignment problem, bent axle, or frame.  Check for proper inflation.  Low air pressure may indicate a slow leak.

·         Run the generator.  Put an electrical load on it to ensure proper operation.


If the RV is a motorhome:

·         If the RV is a motorhome you will need to inspect the drivetrain as well.

·         Engine should start easily and run smoothly.  Look for oil leaks, smoke, and unusual sounds.  If it’s a California vehicle,  make sure it passes smog before buying.

·         Check all fluids for level and condition.  If the oil is low and dirty the unit was probably not well kept and could be a sign of problems later.

·         Check condition of belts and hoses.

·         Have a compression and leak down test done.  This is a good way to get an idea engine’s condition.   A failed test can mean problems with piston rings and/or valves.  A costly repair.

·         Check exhaust system for leaks and excessive rust. 

·         Check all the engine gauges in the dash to make sure they are working. 


·         Inspect the brakes.  Look at pads and shoes to see how much life they have left.  Check brake rotors for grooves.  Check for leaks along brake lines and components.


·         Check hydraulic leveling system for proper operation.  Inspect system for leaks.

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