You bought your first RV. Congratulations! Before you drive it off the lot, though, you’ve got an important task: the Pre-Delivery Inspection or PDI. Service personnel will walk you through your unit and explain how things work. This is your chance to make sure that everything works and that you know how to work everything. As long as your unit is still on the dealer’s lot, you are still in control. Take full advantage of this opportunity.
When you schedule your PDI with the dealer, try to make it early in the day so that you will have all the time you need. Late afternoon PDIs can turn into rush jobs as closing time approaches. You will probably need at least 2 hours for a trailer or fifth wheel, longer for a motorhome. The bigger the unit, the more time you should allow.
PREPARE FOR YOUR PDI. Write down all of your questions and make a checklist of everything you want to cover and if possible obtain the user manuals and review them in advance. Note any areas that aren’t clear. Bring a clipboard or notebook and be prepared to take lots of notes. Consider bringing a video camera or voice recorder to supplement your written notes.
During your PDI, try everything: Open every window, door and drawer; test every light and electrical outlet; check the appliances and entertainment systems; run water in the sinks, shower and toilet. Your RV has both AC (shore power) and DC (battery operated 12-volt) options. Check both. Make sure the refrigerator works in both electrical and LP modes; likewise, the water heater. Test the sinks and shower on city water (hose attached) and with the onboard water pump. Is the pump noisy? Is the pressure adequate? Note anything that needs fixing or adjusting. Operate all slideouts.
On the outside, check all the locks and latches. Go through the process of hooking up city water and shore power, as well as filling the fresh water tank. Make sure you know how to hook up the sewer hose and operate the gray and black water valves. This is one area where you won’t be able to do a complete operational test on the lot, but at least go through the motions. Learn how to operate the awnings. Look underneath the unit and inside the storage areas. Is anything loose? Are there any leaks? Go through the process of leveling the unit, either automatic or manual. Crank down the stabilizer jacks. For towable RVs, go through the hitching procedures.
Ask lots of questions. Refer to your written questions and checklist. Go over recommended maintenance schedules.
After you finish the PDI, review your list of issues with the service department. Make arrangements to have everything taken care of to your satisfaction. You can, of course, always get things fixed later on warranty, but it’s a lot easier and faster to get the dealer to agree to minor adjustments before you accept the unit and sign on the dotted line.