Pre-Purchase RV Inspection Checklist

Updated by Rick Werth February 2022

  • Make sure all Mercedes services are current
  • Confirm that all Recall items have been completed for all components
  • Confirm all manuals and original manufacturer tools are included


  • Roof Seals – Inspect the condition of the roof ladder (if applicable) for stability and safety. Climb on the roof and closely inspect seams, gaskets, and any other place where the roof material is cut or drilled. Check closely around air conditioner, vents, antenna, sewer vents, solar panels, end-caps and seams on the condition of the sealants. No bubbles, nails or protruding screws! Check for rust spots near cut-away roof joint.
  • Sidewalls & End Caps: Inspect the aging and general overall condition of the front and rear caps. Inspect for any damage, discoloration and delamination of the side walls and end cap components. Check condition of all sealants used on seams.
    Windows – Check closely around each window to make sure it has been properly sealed. A narrow gap between trim ring & frame is OK, but it should be nearly even all the way around. Look for any water penetration outside and inside.
  • Cab & Entry Doors – Check the gasket for proper adhesion and coverage. Check from inside that it is flush against the door jamb. Check keys, lock & unlock. Check that screen door opens smoothly alone, locks to main door easily and does not have gaps to let mosquitoes in. Look for any water penetration outside inside.
  • Basement Compartments – Open and close each door, checking for alignment and gasketing. Lock & unlock. All hinges should be tight and secure, latches should hold the door tightly closed and be easy to open. Look for any signs of moisture that might indicate water leakage. Check for corrosion or rust on exterior of compartments.
  • Utility Compartment – Where are the low point drains for the fresh water tank and water heater? Condition and operational?
  • Propane –  Visually inspect all hoses and pressure regulators for damage and age deterioration. Confirm that a leak test has been performed on tank, regulator and the complete system. Check the propane tank for excessive rust or corrosion, any damage.
  • House Batteries – Make sure the battery compartment is ventilated unless Lithium batteries are installed. Determine the age and condition of the batteries. Verify that battery cables are in good condition, and all connections are secure and free from corrosion.
  • Power & Electrical – Inspect the condition of the power cord and its connection ends. Remove the cover to the electrical box where the generator cable plugs in for correct wire nuts and lack of heat damage. Check for proper operation of Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS) if equipped. Remove cover panel of the 120-volt circuit breaker box to visually inspect the condition of the wiring, circuit breakers and grounding connections. Note any heat discoloration to the wiring and connections. Check condition of built in surge connector if equipped. Check to make sure that the chassis batteries are being charged when the chassis engine is on.
  • Paint & Siding – Sight down the sides for bumps, depressions or delamination. Check the paint finish. Check for surface smoothness (no indentations!), color variations in gel coat and paint and any place where paint coverage is marginal or paint bubbles.
  • Tires and Wheels – Inspect tires (incl. spare) and wheels for condition and any damage. Check tire pressure. Check the tire manufacturer date to determine age. Check tire valves. If equipped, check the Tire Pressure Management System (TPMS – Aftermarket)
  • Step – Inspect and test operation of automatic step.
  • Generator – Determine total operating hours. Check oil level. Determine last full service. Inspect hoses. Operate generator under a load to verify operation (air conditioner will create the correct amount of load), listening for any unusual sounds or vibration, letting the generator run 10 minutes. Test the voltage output and frequency (60 cycles). The electrical status panel should show the status of the generator and the presence of AC voltage.



  • Check seals, retraction process and operation of slide-topper.
  • Operate slide(s) to confirm smooth operation.
  • Inspect slide roof and slide awning condition.
  • Check for proper routing of wires and cables under slide.


  • Operate slide(s) to confirm smooth operation.
  • Check for any leaks water leak damage around slide
  • Check for light shining through or airflow with slide in or out.
  • Check Emergency Brake interlock.
  • Evaluate the attached wiring and utility harness that feed underneath the slideout room. Confirm that no screws or bolts are cutting into the flooring during operation.


  • Operate for smooth operation.
  • Inspect awning frames attachment points to wall and latching mechanisms.
  • Inspect the condition of fabric material of the awnings.


  • Block tires. Crawl underneath to inspect for damage, excessive rust, brake lines, wiring, shock absorber attachments, and in general every place that a wire or pipe could rub against something that will cause a problem later.
  • Check for any fluid leakage.
  • Inspect exhaust pipe.
  • Inspect the frame, axles, springs, rims and other components for rust, oil stains and visible damage
  • Inspect the operating levels of all fluids: brake / hydraulic, transmission, fuel, oil, coolant.
  • Inspect engine drive belts.
  • Inspect steering for bent or damaged components or hydraulic leaks.
  • Test all lights and turn signals.


  • Inspect condition of all components of the system, including panels on the roof.
  • Inspect the solar power panel to determine status and condition of charging.
  • Determine type and age of solar batteries.


  • Verify oil level and condition on the dipstick
  • Note any engine issues or noises while running
  • Inspect for noticeable oil or exhaust leaks
  • Note the oil pressure reading on the dash gauges
  • Inspect radiator, coolant reservoir, and hoses
  • Check transmission fluid level. Look and smell fluid for any signs of overheating or contamination.


  • Verify the system operates properly by extending and retracting leveling system.
  • Note visual indications of hydraulic leaks or mechanic issues.


  • Inspect hitch for condition, welds, nuts/bolts are all secure.
  • Inspect and test 7-pin connector tow receptacle.


Test House Systems while plugged into shore power, on generator and on house batteries.

  • Power – Note the location of all AC and DC panels, fuses and breakers. Make sure the loads are labeled. Check all 110V outlets w/ tester for wiring, voltage and GFI. Check all 12V outlets for wiring.
  • Inverter – Make sure the inverter works and test outlets that are inverter powered.
  • Water Pump & City Water System – Water pump should pump for several seconds. Run water in the kitchen and bathroom sink and check that the pump will come back on. Listen to pump for any unusual noises. Turn off the pump, connect to city water supply.  Look for leaks at the inlet, under sinks and check the operation of all faucets / toilet and under RV.
  • Water Heater – Visually inspect burner assembly and gas exhaust system for blockages and insect infestation. Fill tank with water (if necessary) and verify operation on all heat sources – LP gas and 120-volt AC as equipped. Test water heater on propane first. A few seconds after you turn it on, you should hear the click of the igniter and the small pop when the burner lights. The red light should stay on until that process happens. Understand the operation of the bypass valve for winterizing. Determine if drain plug has been installed in water heater tank and working. If applicable, inspect bug cover screen (screen is highly recommended) on exterior of vent. Instant hot water systems operate differently, read the manual for operation testing.
  • Furnace – Turn the furnace on and set temp at least 10 degrees higher than ambient. In ~ 10 sec the furnace fan should come on. You should hear the click of the igniter and the sound of the burner. Hot air at about 110 degrees should be coming out of all vents. During testing check for smell of material getting too hot, or exhaust coming into the RV. Monitor for unusual noise or vibration of blower motor. Visually inspect air intake and exhaust assemblies for blockages and insect infestation. If applicable, inspect for bug cover screens on exterior of vents (screens highly recommended).
  • Refrigerator – Operate on all power sources – 120-volt AC, LP gas to ensure it is effectively cooling. Check condition of door frame, door gaskets, shelving, crisper drawers, door shelves and interior light. Ensure hot air is effectively vented.
  • TV, Entertainment, Antenna & Input Switching – Turn the TV(s) on. Review and understand the switching system that allows the selection of viewing channels on the TV. Test over-air channel reception for local stations. Rotate the antenna to maximize the quality of the picture. Understand the video selection switcher. Test radio, DVD, satellite, etc. systems as installed. Verify all remotes are present and operational.
  • Air Conditioner – Check air filters. Test system, after a couple of minutes, cool air, 20 degrees cooler than ambient, should be coming out of all registers. Listen for any unusual noises.
  • Microwave/Convection – Verify the rack and turn tables are installed and condition. Put a cup of cold water in the microwave and set the timer for 3 minutes. Make sure there are no unusual sounds coming from the system and water is hot.
  • Propane Stove – Turn on all burners to verify they work and there is also propane flow to operate the refrigerator and water heater. Operate and verify condition of the exhaust function and fan speeds. Inspect the filter and lighting.
  • Induction Stove – Using the appropriate cookware, check to see if the stove works.
  • Ceiling Mounted Fans & Ceiling Exhaust Vents – Inspect the condition of the blades and motor. Operate and verify condition of the blade direction and fan speeds.
  • Windows & Hatch – Open and close windows and hatch and operate the locks. Make sure emergency window operates smoothly. Ensure locks work effectively.
  • Floor Coverings – Inspect all corners and sides of carpet floor coverings to ensure that they are properly fastened.
  • Interior Conditions & Appearance – Inspect all ceilings, walls, interior doors and flooring for signs of water intrusion, surface damage and/or staining. Operate all windows and doors noting any deficiencies or missing components. Evaluate the window shades condition and functionality. Operate each blind and check for alignment. Look at valances and trim to be sure they are secured and matched. Check out the pull drapes.
  • Lighting – Operate all interior and exterior lighting, both on 12-volt and 120 volts.
  • Counter Tops – Inspect counter tops for alignment and fastening. Trim pieces should be tight. Inspect caulking quality everywhere. Check the installation of sinks and faucets.
  • Cabinets & Closet – Inspect and evaluate all cabinet doors, drawers and pull-out operation. Ensure secure locking. Inspect all areas of the kitchen, living room, bathroom, bedroom and storage area as for scratches, delamination or damage.
  • Furniture – Inspect the condition of the dinette table/booth, chairs, recliners and sofa (open & close). Note furniture fabric tears, delamination, discoloration and signs of excessive wear. Inspect mattresses for condition, damage or staining. Check for passenger seatbelt location and safety.
  • Shower – Inspect panels, curtains, etc. for effectiveness. Evaluate the seals around the frame work and doors for water leaks. Inspect for any stains or mold and mineral build up. Evaluate for any bad smells. Ensure shower head, hose, and controls work properly and are in good condition.
  • Toilet – Inspect that it is secured to the floor. Evaluate for any bad smells. Check the spray attachment for leaks. Inspect for any stains or mold or leaks. Evaluate the bowl seal that it holds water. Flush several times.


  • Verify the fresh water connections for the city water hookup are operational.
  • Test and verify proper filling of the fresh water tank.
  • Verify the onboard fresh water tank and pump system will operate and maintain pressure
  • Operationally test all fresh water fixtures inside and outside of the RV.
  • Inspect the water filtration system (if installed) for leaks and filter placement.
  • Determine the last time the system was sanitized.

WASTE WATER SYSTEMS (Gray and Black Water)

  • Operationally test and inspect both waste (gray and black) plumbing systems for leaks under the sinks, shower, around the toilet and discharge lines
  • Check the rubber connectors for the dump plumbing.
  • Identify the type drain valve controls
  • Verify the drain valves for both systems will maintain water in their tanks
  • Operate both drain valves and test for ease of operation
  • Verify the drain cap is in place and will hold waste water


  • Test the Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) circuits receptacles they work.
  • Test all wall receptacles for correct polarity and ground fault.
  • Test the exterior skin for hot skin that would cause electrical shock.
  • Verify all safety emergency exit windows are operational.
  • Verify fire extinguisher is secure, up to date, in bracket and is fully charged.
  • Smoke/Fire Detector – Test and verify operation of units. Test backup battery condition.
  • Carbon Monoxide Detector – Test and verify operation of unit and note expiration date.
  • LP Gas Detector – Verify gas detection and audio alarm and note expiration date.
  • Verify the rubber grommet is properly sealed around LP gas line of water heater.


Perform the road test on a variety of road surface conditions, hills and at various speeds.

  • Do a walk around inspection of the RV to ensure all windows are closed, compartments are secured, awning is securely stowed, all running lights, headlamps are working. Check the interior to make sure all drawers are closed and latched, all compartments are secure and there are no loose objects laying in the coach. Secure all unsecured moveable objects. Make sure tables and counters are clear.
  • Operate the windshield washer and wiper, including delay.
  • Validate turn signals are functioning correctly.
  • Validate all exterior lights are functioning correctly.
  • Adjust the rear-view mirrors. Turn the ignition on, but don’t start the engine yet, so that you can see all the status and warning lights that might illuminate when you are driving.
  • Wait until `Wait to Start’ status light goes out. Engine should start easily within 2 seconds. Oil pressure should be present within 1 second (maximum 3 seconds) of starting. If no oil pressure, immediately shut engine down > we are done!
  • No warning lights should be illuminated on the dash at this time.
  • Turn on and adjust the rear-view camera monitor. Understand how to adjust it for day / night operation.
    Instrumentation should show normal reading throughout the test, be sure to check the gauges often.
  • Start with city-street driving, with little or no traffic. Perform several turns, watching the mirrors closely to get a feel for where the coach is relative to the road.
  • Once comfortable with low-speed maneuvering, head for the freeway. Leave yourself lots of room, because you don’t know how this coach accelerates! As you enter the on-ramp, floor the accelerator and you should get steady acceleration. Listen for any sounds that are not normal, like whines or grinds from under the coach, wind noise from the front door or slide out, flapping awnings, engine and transmission.
  • Bring the speed up to merge safely into traffic and go the speed limit. Observe gauges for normal range of operation. Observe the steering effort necessary to keep the coach going straight. If it takes too much steering then the wheel alignment is probably not correct.
  • Go at least two exits before turning off the freeway. Leave the rear-view monitor operating. Set and check Cruise Control
  • Brake Test: Do this test with space in front of the coach and on a flat surface. With the engine operating, apply the emergency brake, put gear selector in `Drive’ and apply a little pressure on the accelerator. The coach should not move. Release the emergency brake, drive forward at 10 mph and press the service brakes hard. It should come to a complete stop immediately, without screeching or pulling from one side to the other.
  • Turn on dash entertainment/GPS/Sirius XM etc. system and check all operations.
  • Turn on the dash A/C and let it run. After cooling is checked, turn dash heater on. Can do this on our test drive after the engine warms up.


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