Finding a qualified RV inspector is an important step in the process of buying a used Airstream trailer or any other RV. Here are some tips to help you find and select an RV inspector:
Search for certified inspectors:
Start by looking for RV inspectors who are certified by organizations like the National RV Inspectors Association (NRVIA) or the RV Industry Association (RVIA). Certified inspectors have completed specialized training and demonstrated their knowledge and expertise in the field.
There are two main organizations that offer certification programs for RV inspectors in the United States: the National RV Inspectors Association (NRVIA) and the RV Industry Association (RVIA). While both organizations are well-respected within the industry, the certifications and training programs offered by each organization have some differences.
National RV Inspectors Association (NRVIA):
The NRVIA offers a comprehensive training program designed to prepare inspectors for assessing various types of RVs, including motorhomes, travel trailers, and fifth-wheel trailers. The NRVIA certification process consists of two levels:
- Level 1: Certified RV Inspector (NRVIA-CRI) To obtain this certification, candidates must complete a week-long, hands-on training course covering various aspects of RV inspections, including electrical, propane, water, and structural systems. Candidates must also pass a written exam and perform a supervised inspection to demonstrate their skills.
- Level 2: Advanced RV Inspector (NRVIA-ARI) The Advanced RV Inspector certification requires candidates to complete an additional week of advanced, hands-on training, covering more in-depth topics and specialized systems. Candidates must also pass a more advanced written exam and perform a supervised inspection to qualify for this certification.
RV Industry Association (RVIA):
The RVIA offers a certification program for RV Service Technicians, which focuses on the repair and maintenance of RV systems and components. While the RVIA does not specifically offer an RV inspector certification, its training program can provide valuable knowledge for inspectors who also perform repairs and maintenance. The RVIA certification process consists of several levels:
- Registered Technician: Candidates must complete a basic training course and pass a written exam to become a Registered Technician.
- Certified Technician: To become a Certified Technician, candidates must complete an additional 24 months of experience in the field, as well as more advanced training courses and exams.
- Master Certified Technician: Master Certified Technicians must have at least 60 months of experience, complete advanced training courses, and pass a series of exams.
While both NRVIA and RVIA certifications are respected within the industry, the NRVIA certification program is specifically tailored towards RV inspectors, whereas the RVIA program is primarily focused on RV service technicians. If you are looking for an inspector, an NRVIA-certified inspector may be more relevant to your needs. However, an RVIA-certified technician can also be valuable, particularly if they have experience with inspections and you anticipate needing repair or maintenance services.
Use online resources
Visit websites like the NRVIA’s directory (nrvia.org) to find certified inspectors in your area. You can also search for inspectors in RV forums, online groups, and social media platforms where RV enthusiasts share their experiences and recommendations.
- Air Forums: This is a dedicated forum for Airstream owners and enthusiasts. You can find valuable information about Airstream RVs and ask for recommendations for inspectors from experienced members. (Search for “Air Forums Airstream“)
- Airstream Addicts: This is a popular Facebook group with a large community of Airstream owners and enthusiasts. Members often share their experiences, recommendations, and advice, including information about RV inspectors. (Search for “Airstream Addicts Facebook group“)
- RVillage: RVillage is an online platform that connects RV owners and enthusiasts. The website has various groups and forums where you can ask for advice and recommendations related to RV inspectors. (Search for “RVillage”)
- iRV2 Forums: iRV2 is a general RV forum with a broad community of RV owners and enthusiasts. They have a dedicated section for Airstream owners, where you can ask for recommendations and advice regarding RV inspectors. (Search for “iRV2 Airstream forums”)
- Reddit: There are several subreddits dedicated to RVs and Airstreams, such as r/GoRVing and r/Airstream. You can join these communities and ask for recommendations from fellow members. (Search for “Reddit GoRVing” and “Reddit Airstream”)
Please note that these forums may require you to create an account or join the group before you can post or access certain content. When searching for an Airstream RV inspector, make sure to provide details about your location and the specific model you’re interested in to get the most relevant recommendations.
Ask friends, family, or acquaintances who have purchased used RVs if they can recommend a reliable inspector. You can also reach out to local RV dealerships or repair shops for recommendations.
Check reviews and testimonials
Once you have a list of potential inspectors, research their reputation by reading online reviews and testimonials. This will give you an idea of their professionalism, thoroughness, and customer satisfaction.
Interview potential inspectors
Contact potential inspectors and ask about their experience, certifications, and the scope of their inspection. Find out if they have experience inspecting Airstream trailers or similar RV types. Inquire about their availability and inspection fees.
Request a sample RV inspector report
A professional RV inspector should be able to provide you with a sample inspection report. Review the sample report to ensure it is comprehensive, well-organized, and easy to understand. A good report should cover all major systems and components, along with photos and detailed descriptions of any issues.
Discuss your specific concerns:
If you have any specific concerns about the Airstream or other RV you are considering, discuss them with the inspector. They should be able to address your concerns and provide insights based on their experience.
Verify insurance coverage
Make sure the inspector has professional liability insurance, which protects both you and the inspector in case of any errors or omissions during the inspection.
Schedule the inspection
Once you’ve selected an inspector, schedule the inspection at a time that works for both you and the seller. Ideally, you should be present during the inspection to ask questions and gain firsthand knowledge about the RV’s condition.
By following these tips, you’ll be better equipped to find a qualified RV inspector who can help you make an informed decision when purchasing a used Airstream trailer or any other type of RV.