Do campers need to be inspected in NY?

​​In this article, we will answer the following question: Do campers need to be inspected in NY? We will also help you prepare for your annual camper safety inspection. 

Do campers need to be inspected in NY?

Yes, in NY all campers must be inspected at least once a year. The DMV inspector will check the following:

  • vehicle identification (vehicle documents, license plate, etc.)
  • braking devices (pads, discs, etc.)
  • the steering components (steering wheel, box, etc.)
  • visibility elements (windshield, mirrors, etc.)
  • lights, reflective devices and electrical equipment (including specific equipment for electric and hybrid engines)
  • axles, wheels, tires, suspensions,
  • the chassis and its various accessories,
  • other safety equipment (seat belts, horn, etc.)
  • the level of nuisance (pollution, noise emission, etc.).

How can I prepare for my annual camper inspection in NY?

There are a few things you can do to prepare for your annual camper inspection, and we discuss them below. 

However, before we move to the next section of this article, we must emphasize the importance of regular maintenance of your camper. There are very few things that can be fixed or improved just before the inspection. Besides, there is no need to mention that you must ensure your safety on the road any time of the year, not just before the inspection time has arrived once again.

This being said, let’s discuss preliminary checks so that you can pass your annual camper inspection with flying colours!

Preliminary checks for camper inspection: mechanical inspection

The first and most important check on your list should be the engine. With the engine cold, check the engine oil level and its colour.

  • Low oil level? There may be an oil leak.  Alarm bell: expensive repair, possibly already damaged engine.
  • More than the high level? It is possible that the owner filled the oil tank in a hurry to hide a leak: another suspicious sign.
  • Is the oil black like coal, and rough to the touch? It probably hasn’t been changed for a long time – a sign of poor maintenance or neglect. Under normal conditions, the oil must be clear and viscous.

If the engine is hot, the oil level, unfortunately, cannot be established precisely, but check its viscosity anyway (pay attention to the temperature!).

Also, check the coolant level: it must be between the minimum and maximum. Pay attention to colour and smell.

  • If it’s clear, it’s possible it’s just water (distilled, hopefully). It can mean that water is added regularly, which could indicate a leak of liquid from the radiator: a great alarm bell.
  • If it has a pink, orange, red colour: everything is ok. It means that it also contains refrigerant (and antifreeze) – which is better.
  • Does it smell like rotten fish? Time to make a liquid change.

 When the engine is hot, pay extra attention when opening the radiator tank: the boiling coolant can leave terrible burns!

Note: The coolant reservoir is usually located under the driver’s seat – along with the compartment for the primary battery. To access it, you must slide the seat forward, fold it, and remove a plate from under the seat.

Preliminary checks for camper inspection: the tires

Tires: Are they the same on all four wheels? Or, at least, are they the same type for the front wheels, and for the rear ones? How are the wear and tear? The tread should be a few millimeters thick and not nearly smooth.

Run your hand over the edges of the treads: are they even, or do they have bumps and delaminations? In the second case, a tire change is in sight! Don’t forget to also check that the van is equipped with a spare wheel and that it is in good condition.

Preliminary checks for camper inspection: the bodywork and interior

Inspect the exterior of the camper. Are there any dents? Signs of traffic accidents? But above all: rust? 

Check-in particularly the corners where welds have been made, with particular attention to the joints of the bodywork with the fibreglass in which the roofs are made (both the liftable and the fixed ones). 

Another trick to find rust: if you see yellowish halos (similar to rivulets of urine), those are nothing more than traces of rusty water that drips along the sides of the vehicle during the rain.

Inside: again, pay attention to rust. In addition to this, make sure that the furniture is in order, in good condition, and fixed. Let us show you how to make the bed, and try it out. Test all lights and equipment (fridge, stove, microwave, if any, etc.).

Preliminary checks for camper inspection: Take it for a test drive

Ignition: If the engine is cold, how easily does the van start? Does it struggle, or does it leave immediately?

Give it a good revving in neutral. Without reaching the red line, but at least around 3500 – 4000 RPM (engine revolutions per minute). Does it sound “healthy”, or does it seem like something is missing? In other words: you are verifying that all (presumably four) cylinders are working in tune.

If the engine is already hot when starting, it is a good opportunity to immediately check if there are obvious cooling problems. Check the oil temperature indicator. If the hand is already over halfway towards the letter H (hot), it is a bad sign.

Time to drive. Try to drive for at least ten minutes to unmask any massive cooling problems – the most common cause of engine failure, and costly mechanical damage in general. Also try to go down roads where you can test the steering, the brakes, and all the gears that the gearbox offers. To keep in mind:

  • Is the steering wheel shaking? Not a good sign. Release the steering wheel while on a straight road that is not sloping. Does the van continue in an almost straight line, or does it swerve sharply? If it folds to one side, it can be a minor problem like tire pressure or more complicated like toe-in or wheel balance. Or the suspensions, the steering column, etc.
  • Are the gear changes smooth, or are they sharp and crackling? Are the brakes whistling? When were they last checked?

But above all: what kind of impression – of feeling – do you have while driving the camper? Does it seem healthy to you, or is there something that instinctively doesn’t fit?

At the end of the test drive, check again that the vehicle is not overheated.

Also ask for the history of maintenance interventions (service history), which is usually available (it is nothing more than the set of invoices of the various mechanics): you can get an idea of ​​the type of problems that the vehicle has had to overcome during the years. And you can also understand what kind of treatment it received from its owners.

In conclusion

Oil, cooling, starting, gearbox, steering, tires: these elements must be in perfect condition, not only to avoid extraordinary maintenance costs but for road safety. Make sure you check every aspect before your camper inspection. 

Please feel free to get in contact if you have any tips, comments or questions about the content.

FAQ on Do campers need to be inspected in NY?

Where can I have my motorhome inspected?

You can have your motorhome inspected in any part of the country. There are several hundred approved centres nationwide. Just make an appointment, sometimes online, and show up with the original registration certificate – a copy would not be accepted.

How much will the technical inspection of my vehicle cost me?

The price of the technical control varies according to the centres and regions. However, it will rarely cost less than 50 dollars, and just as rarely more than 100 dollars.  The control includes vehicle identification elements (license plates, documents, etc.), braking equipment, steering and visibility equipment, various lights and reflective devices, and the condition of the tires.

What happens in the event of an inspection failure?

If the controller detects the slightest “major” or “critical” failure, the technical inspection is not validated. The consequences are different between major failures and critical failures.


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