Inspection Guide When Buying a New Camper

Inspecting a camper thoroughly before making a purchase is crucial to ensure you're getting a safe and reliable vehicle.

Here's a checklist of items to inspect:

  1. Exterior Condition:
    • Check for signs of rust, corrosion, or damage to the camper's frame and chassis.
    • Inspect the exterior walls and roof for cracks, dents, or water damage.
    • Check the condition of doors, windows, and seals for proper sealing and operation.
  2. Tires and Wheels:
    • Examine the tires for signs of wear, cracking, or damage. Ensure they have adequate tread.
    • Check the wheels for any signs of damage or misalignment.
  3. Suspension and Axles:
    • Inspect the suspension system for signs of wear, damage, or misalignment.
    • Check the condition of the axle(s) and look for signs of rust or wear on components.
  4. Brakes:
    • Test the brakes to ensure they work properly. Look for any signs of brake fluid leaks or worn brake pads.
  5. Lights and Electrical:
    • Test all exterior and interior lights, including headlights, taillights, turn signals, and brake lights.
    • Check the camper's electrical system, including outlets, appliances, and wiring.
  6. Propane System:
    • Inspect the propane tanks for leaks, damage, and secure mounting.
    • Check the operation of all propane appliances, including the stove, refrigerator, and water heater.
  7. Plumbing:
    • Run water through all faucets, sinks, and shower to check for leaks or plumbing issues.
    • Inspect the freshwater and wastewater tanks for damage or leaks.
  8. Roof and Seals:
    • Examine the roof for any signs of leaks, damage, or loose seals.
    • Check the condition of all seals around vents, skylights, and edges of the roof.
  9. Interior Condition:
    • Inspect the interior for signs of water damage, mold, or mildew.
    • Test all appliances, including the refrigerator, stove, oven, microwave, and heating/cooling systems.
  10. Furniture and Fixtures:
    • Check the condition of all furniture, cabinets, and fixtures for signs of wear or damage.
    • Verify that all drawers and cabinet doors open and close properly.
  11. Slide-Out Mechanism (if applicable):
    • If the camper has slide-outs, test the slide-out mechanism for smooth operation and proper sealing when extended and retracted.
  12. Safety Features:
    • Ensure that all safety features, such as smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and fire extinguishers, are in working order.
  13. Documentation:
    • Verify that the camper comes with all necessary documentation, including the owner's manual, maintenance records, and title.
  14. Hitch and Coupler (if applicable):
    • If you're towing the camper, inspect the hitch, coupler, and safety chains for proper operation and secure attachment.
  15. Test Drive (if possible):
    • If you can, take the camper for a test drive to assess its handling, braking, and overall roadworthiness.
  16. History and VIN Check:
    • Research the camper's history and obtain a vehicle history report, if possible. Verify the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) to ensure it matches the title and records.
  17. Mechanical and Engine (if applicable):
    • If the camper has a built-in engine, have it inspected by a qualified mechanic to check for mechanical issues.

Always consider having a professional RV inspector perform a thorough inspection, especially if you're not experienced in assessing campers. This can help identify hidden issues and ensure your potential purchase is a sound investment.