RV Inspectors – What They Do And How You Can Find Them

RV inspectors – increasingly more RVers are realizing the value of these skilled RV experts when its time to buy an RV.

But there is still a lot of confusion about them as well.

What exactly do they do? How do you find them? How much do they charge? When should you hire them?

These are all great questions that need to be answered. The good news is that I am an NRVIA certified RV inspector and I will be happy to explain what you need to know.

RV Inspectors – What Do They Do?

Probably the best way to think of RV inspectors is to think of them as the equivalent of a home inspector.

In other words, buyers often hire the services of a home inspector before they buy a house. And that inspector goes through the house thoroughly and provides a detailed report about its condition.

Many people these days would not even consider purchasing a home without a thorough home inspection beforehand.

Well, an RV inspector does essentially the same thing, only with RVs.

Why RV Inspections Are Complicated

One advantage that home inspectors have is that their subject doesn’t have to move. It’s only for living in as a residence.

But RV inspectors have to be knowledgeable with more than just the living area of an RV. That’s because RVs are mobile and can travel long distances.

So this means that the inspector has to also be familiar with the mobile components of this traveling home as well. Because it is actually a blend of both a house and a vehicle.

In addition to that, it can often have multiple fuel and power sources. And some appliances can run on more than just one source of power.

For instance, a typical RV refrigerator usually needs 12 volt, 120 volt and LP gas lines to function correctly.

So clearly, RV inspections require experts with specialized training and experience.

What Does An RV inspection Cover?

First of all, it’s important to note that RV inspections do not involve repairing any problems that are found.

That is not the function of the inspector. Instead, the inspector focuses on testing and examining all components of the RV. And the goal is to determine whether they are in workable and acceptable condition or not.

To do this, the RV inspector will go over the RV from the roof all the way down to the tires. The inspection will include every major system on the RV.

These include roofing, plumbing, electrical, safety equipment, waste systems, appliances, and much more. It’s really a time-consuming and comprehensive endeavor!

If a problem is found, the inspector will note it and often take a picture of the issue. Then a brief recommendation about how to address the issue is provided.

And this brings us to the RV inspection report. Because that is what communicates the inspector’s findings to the prospective buyer.

The inspection report readability is absolutely critical for the RV buyer. Because it doesn’t matter how much the RV inspector knows about RVs, if that knowledge isn’t communicated clearly.

What To Expect From An RV Inspection

In addition to a written report that is comprehensive and understandable, the inspector should be available for questions afterward.

Most RV buyers aren’t familiar with all of the components of an RV rig. So naturally, they may not understand some of the report information.

That’s why a good inspector makes themselves available to help answer questions on the part of the prospective buyer. It’s best to save this question and answer session until after the inspection is finished though.

That way the RV inspector can focus on the job at hand while involved in the inspection process.

But here are a couple of insights about what questions an RV inspector can’t answer:

  • Don’t expect the inspector to provide an estimate of the cost of repairs for issues found. RV inspectors are not necessarily RV repair technicians or service people. So any estimate they provide could often be inaccurate. But armed with the information in the report, an accurate repair estimate can be ascertained. Just a few phone calls to local RV repair facilities is usually all that’s needed.
  • The other question RV inspectors won’t answer is “Would you buy this RV?” Of course, that is what many prospective RV buyers want to know. But the answer to that question is irrelevant. It doesn’t matter what the inspector would decide about the buying decision. What matters is whether the prospective buyer feels the RV is still worth buying after learning its true condition. So please don’t try to shift the buying decision to the RV inspector.

Qualified RV inspectors – How Do You Find Them?

The best way to find a truly qualified RV inspector is to visit NRVIA.org online. The NRVIA is an organization that trains and certifies RV inspectors.

Once an inspector passes their certification process, they can be recommended by the NRVIA for use by the public.

Then the NRVIA tracks the locations of their certified inspectors nationwide. Then all prospective buyers have to do is visit the organization’s website to find a local available inspector.

You can find certified RV inspectors by clicking here

To find an inspector, just click on the link at the top of the page entitled “Locate An Inspector”. On the following page, enter your location and a list of local certified inspectors will be provided.

From there, just contact them and inquire about their availability for the RV inspection. Some may not be available when you inquire. So just expand your search further outward from your location to find one that is available.

In some cases, an RV inspector may not be found easily though. If that is the case, just email the NRVIA or call them at the contact information they provide on their website.

If you explain that you have done all you can to find an inspector, they often can still help further. To do this, they put out a notice to all inspectors in their network for help.

Many RV inspectors are willing to travel since they are RVers too. So they may be willing to come to your location to help out.

What Does An RV Inspection Cost?

I get a lot of questions about how much an RV inspection costs. The answer is that it depends on what the RV inspector chooses to charge for the inspection.

RV inspectors are allowed by the NRVIA to set their own fees and charges. So you may find a fairly wide disparity in what each one charges for an RV inspection.

And there can be quite a bit of difference in how labor and time intensive inspecting different types of RVs can be. For instance, a small travel trailer will not take nearly as much effort to inspect as a 40+ foot diesel pusher motorhome.

Having said all of that, let me provide some general expectations for RV inspection costs.

Larger RVs like big fifth wheels and larger motorhomes can cost on average between $600 – $900 in most cases. Smaller RVs like travel trailers and shorter motorhomes are often less.

You may find an inspector that charges more than the range mentioned above. But you may also find someone who charges less as well.

But there is an important point to keep in mind here. And that is that whatever an RV inspector charges, within reason, will usually save you money in the long run.

That’s because an RV inspection provides a true picture of the condition of the RV you may be considering. And in many cases, the inspection will reveal issues that you would never have known about otherwise.

And very often, the issues found during an RV inspection will give the buyer bargaining power with the seller. So if a repair is found to be needed, you can either ask the seller to handle it or negotiate for a lower price.

Either way, a quality RV inspection often saves the buyer money in the overall deal.

When Should You Hire An RV Inspector?

Clearly then, hiring an RV inspector before you buy an RV is a great idea. But I don’t recommend having them inspect every RV that you may be considering.

If you do, there may be several inspections that are performed before you find the one that is worth buying. And that could get very expensive.

So you only want to hire an RV inspector on the rigs that you are really convinced could be a good candidate for purchase.

Toward that end I recommend that the buyer learns enough about RVs to be able to perform a personal inspection first. This personal inspection isn’t really technical or difficult.

But if you know what to look for, you can spot many serious issues without having an advanced knowledge of RV components.

I explain the whole process of how to perform a personal inspection before the RV inspector is hired in my new ebook. It’s entitled “How To Avoid Buying An RV Money Pit”.

The ebook explains how to find a quality RV, how to personally inspect the ones you like, and how to hire the RV inspector.

There’s really nothing that I know of available online that compares with the information in the ebook. And I also make myself personally available to help you with any questions you may have.

And if you aren’t sure about any part of the personal inspection process, I’ll be happy to help.

Get my ebook “How To Avoid Buying An RV Money Pit” by clicking here

RV Inspectors And Inspections

I hope that you can now appreciate the value of having a quality inspection before your next RV purchase.

If you get a certified RV inspector to do a thorough job on the prospective RV, it can be helpful in many ways.

Fisrt of all, if there are plenty of hidden problems with the RV, the inspection may help prevent you from buying an RV money pit.

Some RVers have spent many thousands of dollars on repairing problems with uninspected RVs they bought. But a thorough RV inspection helps prevent being surprised by hidden problems after the purchase.

And if issues are found during the inspection, it gives you more bargaining power before the purchase.

Finally, when you buy an RV that has been inspected and found to be worthy of purchase, it puts your mind at ease. You can now have more confidence that the purchase you are making is a good one.

So before you buy your next RV, get it inspected by an NRVIA certified RV inspector. You’ll be glad you did!

The Top 10 RV Travel Safety And RV Road Trip Tips

Whatever type of RV you own, there is a need to practice RV travel safety. That’s because RVs usually weigh more than passenger vehicles. And that means there is more that can wrong fast when you are on the road.

And the bigger and more heavy the rig is, the more attention is needed to operate them safely.

So, with that in mind, here are my top ten tips for RV travel safety:

Watch my Youtube video on The Top 10 RV Travel Safety Tips by clicking here

#1 – Carry Extra Oil And Coolant

Regardless of the type of RV that you have, it has an engine somewhere that propels it.

And that means that some kind of oil and coolant is needed for safe operation of that engine.

So if a problem develops on the road, you will be glad that you have some extra engine fluids on hand.

And if you do, it can help you get where you need to go to get help and the proper repairs.

#2 – Carry Traffic Cones For RV Travel Safety

If you have a breakdown on the side of the road, traffic cones are an essential safety item. And if you have the collapsible kind, they don’t really take up much room either.

By deploying them out in back of your rig, you are warning approaching drivers that a problem is ahead.

That means that they can begin to move over before reaching you, keeping both your rig and their vehicle safe. And of course, it makes the whole situation more safe for travelers as well.

Some prefer warning triangles instead. And that’s fine too. Just make sure that you have some kind of warning system with you for roadside breakdowns.

#3 – Tire Pressure Check

This is one of the most important safety checks you can make on your rig.

After all, your tires are what actually touches the road as you travel. And if you experience a blowout, it often is not a very good thing in an RV.

So regularly check the pressure in your RV tires and any other tires in use if you are towing.

Here is a link to an article I wrote on tire pressure safety.

It’s better to solve any tire problems before you get on the road than deal with them while traveling!

#4 – Have Roadside Assistance

These days there are some very good choices for roadside assistance for RVs.

The three companies usually used for RV travelers is AAA, Good Sam, and CoachNet.

Truthfully, any of these roadside assistance providers can do a great job for you. And you will be very glad to have them when a breakdown occurs.

So compare their features and what they cover first, and then make your choice.

The only really bad choice you can make is not having some form of roadside assistance at all.

#5 – Use A Departure Checklist For RV Travel Safety

A lot of problems happen on the road because someone forgot to do something before leaving.

And honestly, nobody can remember everything at all times. There is just too much to do to get an RV ready for travel.

So make a checklist of all of the items that you will need to accomplish while departing. And then carefully follow that departure checklist every single time before you leave.

#6 – Perform A Final Walk Around

Even if you have a reliable departure checklist, make sure to perform a final walk around anyway.

It’s amazing how something important can still be left untended even when using a checklist.

So your best defense against omitting something important is to carefully review the entire rig before you leave. If you have a towable RV, this means both the RV and the tow vehicle.

Most of the time, you won’t find a problem. But on those occasions where something was missed you will be glad you did the final walk around!

#7 – Make Good Use Of Rest Areas For RV Travel Safety

Driving an RV rig on the road can wear on you fast. There is a lot that you have to keep track of while on the road.

And it’s easy to become weary and lose your focus when you spend a lot of time behind the wheel. Especially when you don’t take a break!

So try to plan rest stops in your travel schedule to take a break and freshen up.

Maybe get out and take a walk, have a snack, and check over your rig before leaving again.

If you do, you will feel much better and be more alert while piloting your rig.

#8 – Maintain A Safe Driving Distance

We are all taught to maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front while using our passenger vehicle. But that distance needs to increase even further when driving an RV.

There is usually a lot more weight and bulk in an RV as compared to a personal vehicle. So it takes much longer to bring that much weight to a stop.

And if you haven’t allowed enough room between your rig and the vehicle ahead of you, it can be trouble.

I highly recommend allowing much more room than you think necessary to be safe on the highway.

To accomplish this, I like to drive 5 – 10 MPH below the flow of traffic and well within the speed limit. By doing this, most vehicles will pass you on the left and go far ahead if they return to the right lane.

Whenever there has been a need for a sudden stop, this practice has always kept us safe on the road. Besides, RVing isn’t about hurrying and rushing around.

So drive safely!

#9 – Use Main Roads For RV Travel Safety

The larger your rig, the more important it becomes to stay on main roads. Getting off onto secondary roads can introduce all kinds of challenges.

For instance, many secondary and smaller roads have little to no paved shoulders on the road. This means that you have a much smaller margin for error when driving on them.

And traffic is much easier to negotiate on larger roads and highways too.

But you also have to consider that on smaller roads you could run into unwanted surprises as well. These could be low bridges, low-hanging limbs, or low-hanging wires.

None of these issues are usually found on main roads and highways. So it pays to keep your rig on main roads as much as you can.

#10 – Get Diesel Fuel At Truck Centers

If you have a motorhome or a tow vehicle that has a diesel engine, where you fuel up is important.

It may be tempting to pull into a regular fuel station to fill up. But if you have a larger rig, this is often not a good idea.

You may be able to get into the station, but getting out can be another thing altogether.

Instead, there are many large truck centers like Loves, Petro, T/A, etc. that are better choices.

That’s because they are usually located very close to a main highway with easy on and off ramps. And once inside, you usually have plenty of room to drive around safely without damaging your rig.

And if you use the diesel fuel discount card that I mentioned in this article, it will also save you money.

Conclusion

These 10 RV travel safety and road trip tips have worked very well for us. We use all of them on a regular basis.

And we can confidently say that these RV tips have saved us often in time, money, and much more.

So be sure to stay safe on the road with your rig by using the tips that I have shared with you!

How To Use An RV Electrical Adapter At Home

If you like to plug in your RV at home before a trip, you have plenty of company. It makes it easy to get some of the appliances, like the refrigerator, going in advance. And if you need the lights or want to power up some devices or the batteries, you can do that too. So this article will help explain how to use an RV electrical adapter at home safely.

Disclosure: Please note this post may contain affiliate links. This means – at no additional cost to you – I earn a commission if you make a purchase using our affiliate links. I only link to products and companies I use and feel comfortable recommending. The income goes toward supporting the free content on this website.

Why Is An RV Electrical Adapter Needed At Home?

Most RVs come with either a 30 amp or 50 amp electrical system. And when you go to a campground, they are all set for either one.

But sometimes you have to use an electrical adapter to plug in your RV at the campground . This is because you may have a 50 amp RV but the campground only has a 30 amp service available.

Or you may have a 30 amp RV and only 50 amp campsites are available. Either way, an electrical adapter is needed in these cases. You can learn more about these kind of RV electrical adapters and check out the user reviews at the links below:

Click here for a 50 amp to 30 amp RV plug adapter

Click here for a 30 amp to 50 amp RV plug adapter

(These are affiliate links for the products on Amazon. It does not cost you any extra to buy the product using my affiliate link if you choose to do so)

So what happens when you plug in your RV to your electrical service at home? Well, most residential houses do not have a 30 amp or 50 amp service.

In fact, most of them will only have either a 15 amp or 20 amp electrical line that you can plug into. So clearly, another adapter is needed to be able to plug the RV in to your electrical service at home safely.

How To Make The Connection

The electrical service at your home is different from that found at a campground. And the electrical plug is not the same either. So clearly, you will need another RV electrical adapter to make the connection at home.

Fortunately, adapters for 50 amp to 15 amp services are available. The same is also true for 30 amp to 15 amp electrical adapters. So if you choose to power your RV at home, be sure to have the correct adapter on hand to do so.

Of course, if you have a 30 amp or 50 amp RV electrical service installed at home, these will not be needed. You can learn more about the 15 amp electrical adapters that I recommend at these links:

Click here for 15 amp to 50 amp RV plug adapters

Click here for 15 amp to 30 amp RV plug adapters

(These are affiliate links for the products on Amazon. It does not cost you any extra to buy the product using my affiliate link if you choose to do so)

Don’t Forget To Use RV Extension Cords

One other point to remember. Don’t forget to use the proper extension cord for your electrical connection if one is needed.

The wiring in your extension cord needs to be up to the task of delivering the full amperage to your RV if needed. So don’t just grab a cheap extension cord for this task.

It’s best to use an RV extension cord that matches the power draw of your electrical line. This will just make sure to keep things safe while your RV is plugged in.

If you are on a 15 amp line, use a 15 amp RV extension cord. If it’s a 30 amp or 50 amp line, use the matching extension cord there as well. You can learn more about the RV extension cords for each amperage at the links below:

You can click here for a 15 amp RV extension cord

Or you can click here for a 30 amp RV extension cord

Click here for a 50 amp RV extension cord

(These are affiliate links for the products on Amazon. It does not cost you any extra to buy the product using my affiliate link if you choose to do so)

Your RV’s Power Usage At Home

One final note needs to be made about plugging your RV in to your home electrical system. And that is that you can make the connection safely, but you must monitor and adjust your power usage in the RV.

For instance, 50 amp RVs are designed to be able to use 12,000 watts of power simultaneously. That’s why they have 2 air conditioners and all those appliances in them. 30 amp RVs are designed to use only 3600 watts of power at the same time. Usually there is only one air conditioner and fewer appliances in those RVs.

Now when you plug in to a 15 amp service at home, you can only use 1800 watts of power simultaneously. This is a big step-down for a 30 amp RV and a huge step-down for a 50 amp RV.

So you have to make sure that you are only using enough appliances or devices in your RV that will not overload the 15 amp line. This means that air conditioners are out.

And many large wattage appliances are out. So it may be possible to power your refrigerator on electric along with a few lights. You may also be able to charge up some of your devices and use small appliances too.

But if you go beyond this, you will probably be tripping electrical breakers regularly. So make sure you conserve power as much as possible when plugged in to a 15 amp line.

I hope this helps you learn more about how to properly plug your RV in to your home electrical system.

Have safe and happy travels my friends!