RV Buying Inspection Checklist

We’ve put together a downloadable, PDF version of this RV Buying Checklist that you can take along for your convenience. It’s suitable for all types of RV’s — including new, used, motor homes, travel trailers, fifth wheels, slide-ins, and campers.

We recently had to rebuild/reinstall the site, so we apologize for any glitches you might come across. We’re working hard to spot them if they exist, and fix’em!

NOTE: If your area requires any kind of certification or inspection before putting a vehicle on the road, make sure you get it done. This list does not guarantee a physically or mechanically fit, road-worthy RV – it merely highlights areas that you need to inspect.



Items to bring along on your RV inspection:

  • Notebook and pen.
  • Tape measure, if you have equipment or furnishings that need to fit in the RV.
  • Flashlight and batteries.
  • A multi-tip screwdriver for removing trim pieces and to look behind panels and vents.
  • Small mirror to look under or around objects.
  • Tire pressure gauge with 100 psi range
  • A small tarp or piece of cardboard you can lay on for inspecting under the RV.
  • Rubber soled shoes that will give you traction on an RV roof without damaging it.
  • Work gloves.
  • Rags for checking oil and transmission fluid levels.
  • Wet wipes or damp rag to clean your hands after the inspection.

Exterior – General

  • Overall exterior condition/appearance.
  • Condition of seals and caulking.
  • Rust lines or dirt lines that indicate leaks.
  • Damage to trim pieces.
  • Exterior doors, windows, screens.
  • Vents.
  • External fittings (hand rails, mirrors, hitches, ladder to roof, etc)
  • Awning operation and condition.
  • Headlights, running lights, etc.
  • Slide-out overall condition, seals, and cover/topping (open and closed).

Exterior – Wheels

  • Sidewall damage or cracking.
  • Tread wear.
  • Proper pressure.
  • Damage to trim pieces.
  • Age of tires.
  • Have tires been covered when not traveling?
  • Wheel rim condition.

Exterior – Equipment & Connections

  • Power connector (and cable if included).
  • Fresh water fill connection (and cable if included).
  • Cable TV, antenna, phone line connections.
  • Cabin batteries (as opposed to engine batteries), and compartment.
  • Cabin battery disconnect switch.
  • Inverter (12 VDC to 110 VAC).
  • Outside shower and faucet.
  • Freshwater, gray water, black water drains (and hoses if included).
  • Drain hose storage area.
  • Winterizing connection (if equipped).
  • Water heater drain plug/valve.
  • Generator overall condition and hours (hours might be recorded inside).
  • Generator fluid levels and condition.
  • Generator operation and noise levels (may need to start from inside).
  • Propane tank, lines, and connections.
  • Hitch.

Exterior – Storage Compartments

  • Door operation, latch operation, seal condition.
  • Signs of leakage inside compartment.
  • Weak spots in compartment walls or floors.
  • Lights, if equipped.
  • Sliding trays, if equipped.

Exterior – Storage Compartments

  • Ladder to roof.
  • Overall surface condition.
  • Bubbles in covering, lifting edges or corners, tears, gouges, or soft spots.
  • Condition of seals and caulking.
  • Edges where walls connect.
  • Signs of water pooling (could lead to leaks).
  • Skylights.
  • Vents and vent hoods.
  • Air conditioner.
  • Antenna(es) raised and lowered.
  • Solar Panels.

Exterior – Storage Compartments

  • All fluid and coolant levels.
  • Hose conditions.
  • Wire conditions.
  • Indications of leaks? Residue or shiny areas where leaks have been wiped.
  • Belts.
  • Batteries.
  • Air filter.
  • Engine start.
  • Exhaust color at start? Bluish indicates oil, black indicates running rich.
  • Exhaust color when warm? Bluish indicates oil, black indicates running rich.
  • Odd sounds when running idling or accelerating.
  • Air filter.

We’re including the next section here because it’s part of the exterior, but you may want to save it for last in case you get dirty.

Exterior – Storage Compartments

  • Frame condition.
  • Exhaust system.
  • Signs of leaks on the undercarriage or ground (before test drive).
  • Signs of leaks on the undercarriage or ground (after test drive).
  • Suspension.
  • Exhaust system.
  • Wiring.
  • Plumbing lines, holding tanks, and tank drains.
  • Stabilizing/leveling jacks.

Since you probably sat in the driver’s seat to start the engine, the cockpit is a good place to start your interior inspection.

Interior – Driving Area

  • Doors, latches, hinges, interior panels.
  • Door window, vent, lock operation.
  • Instrument panel lights and gauges.
  • Windshield condition.
  • Wipers and washer.
  • Visors. Shades if equipped.
  • Radio/CD player/MP3/etc.
  • GPS.
  • CB Radio.
  • Alarm system.
  • Remote start.
  • Seat belts.
  • Seat adjustment (manual and/or power).
  • Rear view mirrors and controls.
  • Rear view monitor.
  • Steering wheel horn, adjustments, on-wheel controls (radio, cruise control, etc).
  • Transmission lever.
  • Emergency brake and release.
  • Trailer brakes.
  • Air suspension controls.
  • Leveling system.
  • Seat upholstery.
  • Flooring condition.
  • Storage areas/compartments – doors, latches, hinges, locks.
  • Cup holders.

Interior – Living Area

  • Overall floor plan
  • Seat belts in living/passenger area.
  • Flooring condition. Vinyl, carpet, tile. Age, wear, stains, damage.
  • Sub-flooring condition – creaks, raised areas, dips, ridges, soft spots.
  • Wall condition – soft spots, water stains, wall covering peeling, etc.
  • Ceiling condition. Soft spots, sagging, water stains.
  • Cabinetry. Accessibility, hinges, latches, overall condition, water leak stains.
  • Drawer size, operation, condition of cabinet behind drawers.
  • Exhaust vents and fans in ceiling.
  • Door latches, locks, hinges.
  • Windows and screen condition and operation.
  • Curtains and blinds.
  • Slide operation and seal condition.
  • What is and isn’t accessible when slides are in?
  • Sofas, chairs, tables overall condition.
  • Moveable or convertible furniture operation.
  • Condition of floor and walls under and behind furniture.
  • Mattresses.
  • Signs of rodents or insects. Droppings, chewed wiring or cabinets, etc.

Interior – Kitchen

  • Countertop space (extensions), condition, backsplash.
  • Cabinet space.
  • Sink size, condition, seals/caulking, leaks from drain or faucet under cabinet.
  • Filtered water tap, filters, etc.
  • Stove top condition, burner and igniter function.
  • Stove exhaust fan and/or vent cover condition and operation.
  • Gas oven and pilot light operation if equipped.
  • Refrigerator condition and operation on all power sources.
  • Freezer (if equipped) condition and operation on all power sources.
  • Microwave condition and operation.
  • Other appliances – coffee maker, dishwasher.

Interior – Bathroom

  • Toilet operation.
  • Flashlight through toilet into black tank to check for solidified waste.
  • Signs of leaks around toilet.
  • Odor from toilet.
  • Sink, vanity, shower, tub condition and signs of leakage.
  • Shower skylight and exhaust fan operation and condition.
  • Condition behind any access panels in bathroom.

Interior – Utilities

  • Fresh water tank(s) condition, signs of leakage.
  • Water pump turns on when tap opened and off when tap closed? Pressure?
  • Water heater works on all intended power supplies.
  • Water pump on/off switch.
  • Fresh water, gray water, black water tank level indicators.
  • Test all taps and drains.
  • Furnace and air conditioner controls.
  • Furnace and air conditioner air flow through all intended vents.
  • Air conditioner and furnace filter condition.
  • Amount of heat from furnace and amount of cold from air conditioner.
  • AC (120 volt) power available on shore hookup, generator, and inverter.
  • DC (12 volt) power available on shore hookup, generator, and inverter.
  • Check automatic power switching between sources.
  • AC (120 volt) and DC (12 volt) light operation.
  • Power to all AC (120 volt) outlets and DC (12 volt) outlets.
  • Check breakers.
  • Confirm solar panel operation if equipped.

Interior – Accessories

  • Television operation.
  • Audio and video equipment.
  • Entertainment hookups. Cable, antenna, satellite, etc.
  • Antenna and satellite dish controls.

Interior – Safety

  • Fire extinguishers.
  • Smoke detector.
  • Carbon monoxide detector.
  • Propane gas detector.
  • Emergency exit windows.
  • Alarm system.

RV Specifications

RV Model:
Asking price:
Owner name:
Owner contact info:
Date inspected:
External length:
Wheelbase (motor home):
External width:
Weight empty (no tanks, luggage, etc):
Weight loaded (ready to travel and full tanks):
Fresh water capacity:
Gray water capacity:
Black water capacity:
Fuel tank capacity:
Propane tank capacity:
Provided documentation? Title, vehicle manuals, service records, appliance manuals, warranties, etc.

Additional info: