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What is an RV Inspection?

Scott Andrews

Jan 18, 2023

Understanding the Differences: Part I

First things first is understanding the importance of a 3rd party inspection. I figure since you are here you have already started your homework and have heard whispers about independent inspections. See, the understanding of purchasing an Inspection has been becoming more prevalent over the past couple years and is starting to gain even more traction. The very important part to understanding inspections is terminology that is/can be used in the industry.


Most dealerships and/or other inspection companies label a PDI (pre-delivery inspection) as a comprehensive "inspection". We have received an uncountable number of calls asking about inspections when they are just wanting a PDI or a technical review. See, dealerships are given timeframes, not just days after taking delivery but also number of hours to complete the PDI. Then they must report their PDI findings back to the manufacturer for compensation regarding anything the manufacturer has or may have missed before they sent it out to the dealer. When the dealer files this, that is their PDI and they can say they looked everything over and it has been fixed.

Truth is, you never know who is doing that PDI… the seasoned tech, the new tech, hired PDI specialist or even the new or part time employee that had to do it because they were short staffed. They are given a bullet pointed list of items to check, they flip a few switches and say yea or nay to the workings. Now, some dealerships are extremely detailed in their PDI and take great care to keep up their customer loyalty by going beyond a normal PDI, while others don’t do as much. All in all, they are there to make the sale so if something is overlooked during that PDI, they can also sell you on that warranty.

See, most people understand and use the term “inspection” as being a general overview of the RV to make sure things are working. They aren’t wrong but, but also not 100% correct either. It’s a matter of knowing what level of “inspector/inspection” you want, or need, which I’ll cover in a minute. When someone wants to look for a 15 year old RV, there is or needs to be an understanding it is going to be a little(or a lot) bruised and bumped along it’s life. It is up to the consumer to become educated on what a NRVIA inspection is versus a PDI or a technical review. Thats where we as Certified Inspector come in as well. Part of our role is not only to perform an inspection but also eductae our clients.


A “technical review” or simailr can be performed by a technician that will go through the system(s) within the RV and in basic terms perform a PDI. This is or can be a little more extensive than a PDI in the sense the Technician can and does understand the inner workings of the rig and give suggestion as to what might be wrong and could potentially do a diagnosis of what the failure is. They could also do the repairs if you wish but it is also much less time and much less detailed than an NRVIA Inspection but more time consuming than a PDI.

However, with a NRVIA inspection, we as inspectors (that hold tech certifications also) are not allowed to diagnose, rather we report on the facts of it working as intended or not (with detailed reporting and pictures of the failure), and what may be for future issues. We are also not allowed to repair that RV for 1 year from the date of inspection. This is to also protect the integrity of the NRVIA and its inspectors, helping to 'keep us honest', in an effort to prevent us from being able to build in extra “issues” in the inspection report as a means to get the repair job on the back end of the inspection. It is all about integrity, respect, and honesty!


When you are looking for an inspection from a Certified NRVIA Inspector each one may run their own independent company. Therefore, each Inspector can set their limits for pricing, what they are willing to provide for levels of inspection and you can have variance in experience from those inspectors. Some will run their inspections part time, others have made it a careers; some are Certified Inspectors and others are Master Certified Inspectors; some have been certified for years, other just months.

The NRVIA trains and certifies inspector under 3 different levels of inspections… Essential, Essential Plus, and Premier. Those inspectors though can choose to operate their business only providing one or all of them, and could call them by something different. The difference is the number of items (points of inspection/POI) that are being inspected. Every Certified Inspector also has a Code of Ethics and a Standards of Practice that we must be lived up to that are monitored by the NRVIA and its members. We are required to remain in good standing, providing the NRVIA with continued CEU (Continuing Education Units), dues and access to our reports if we want to move up to Master Certification. Needless to say we have a very vested interest in keeping a positive report with you.

All of this helps to keep the integrity of the NRVIA intact as well as helping the public and consumers understand that we are not in this for our best interest, rather to protect the client and their investments.  It is very much like looking for a doctor that will fit you and your wishes. Each inspector has different backgrounds that we come from and the experiences we have prior to becoming Certified Inspectors, so choose wisely and who best suits your personal needs and beliefs. If you have been wondering how to find a Certified Inspector or and RV Professional click on the links here and you will be directed to Geo-locating maps that will help you find someone in your area or the area in which your potential purchase is at.

Start your search early if at all possible. Many Certifed Inspectors will have a waiting list so if you schedule or book ahead they can plan you into their schedule.


If we receive a call from a client looking for an inspection there are several questions we need to dive in asking to better understand what they are looking at and where their understanding of RV’s is, the industry, and surely their budget. When a client asks for an inspection, we need to know several things to help us understand their purchase and what they are looking to get into.

This is also a key reason Suite Wheels has provided, on our web page, up front pricing and self-serve documents that help you understand more about inspections. We also cut down as much time as possible by allowing you to quickly enter your information on our booking page and view our calendar of availability, so you don’t have to spend hours call each inspector down your list. This helps us better understand if you are looking for a general overview (PDI or tech review) or if you want a premier inspection utilizing a certified inspector.

Now, it isn’t a guarantee that the age of the rig means dilapidated or in perfect condition. The question must be, is it worth the expense of an inspection for that client, so we always try and reiterate there is NO substitution for an Inspection performed by a Certified Inspector. New RV?... “there should be nothing wrong! The dealer already did their PDI and said everything was ok, but I heard about independent inspections”. This is something we hear a lot too. But remember back to the begging of all of this and how we broke down the dealerships' “status quo”.

The understanding has to be that you are or could be sinking a lot of money into this. What happens when you put a good chuck of your hard earned savings into this RV and it starts causing you nothing but unexpected headaches?... You get irritated and sell, that's what happens generally! Whether the RV is $5k, $500k or more, there is risk and each person/client has to weigh what their finacial risk is. We as inspectors cannot make that decision for you. All we can do is help you understand the importance and benefits of protecting your investment. The inspection you purchase should give you notice of items needing immediate repair, life safety concerns and a healthy understanding of what could be potential issues down the road. We are by no mean fortune tellers but we strive to give you more than anything you could bargain for and prepare you properly.

Click Here for Part II

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