Taking delivery of your new RV: Don’t miss this step!

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.



4 Thoughts to “Taking delivery of your new RV: Don’t miss this step!”

  1. Jim Bennett

    For anyone buying an RV with the automatic leveler systems,I would highly recommend you fully understand how to operate it before escaping the RV dealer..when I bought our new fifth wheel from a dealer in Tri-Cities ,Washington,I was rushed out the gate by an unscrupulous service manager who only said ,there is the button,when asked about the automatic levelers. One can do some serious damage to their RV if they don’t know how to properly operate the lever system.

  2. Tommy Molnar

    This is an extensive list that sounds daunting, but in retrospect, if I’d done ALL these things I might have not had the issues (few that they were) I had when we bought our trailer back in 2012.

    A friend who bought a new $500k+ motorhome told me he wished he’s spent a night in it at the dealer to 1. learn how all the stuff worked, and 2. find the stuff that DIDN’T work.

  3. Traveling Man

    Hopefully, you have become an “educated” RV Buyer prior to this point.

    If you don’t know ANYTHING about RV’s and have purchased a rig because it was “pretty”, get help! It’s not too late!

    The dealer will run thru a laundry list of items with you on how the rigs actually works. The WON’T tell you things about whether or not you have the right axle set, tires, brakes (disc vs. electric), Pin Box for your application, 3 A/C units versus 2 for hot weather conditions. They won’t pull the A/C supply vents to demonstrate to you how they are jammed into the duct limiting air flow. They won’t tell you that the storage area of an FL (Front Living) model is much smaller than other models. They won’t tell you if you are over-weight before you even load up and hit the road. Most of the time, they won’t even tell you that your tow vehicle is too small or that you forgot to check with the DMV (Dept of Motor Vehicles) to get a Class A licence to pull or drive your new rig. You only find that out AFTER you get that first ticket or get into the first accident that the insurance company won’t pay off on…

    There are just so many things people overlook when buying their first rig. It’s Buyer beware!

    BEFORE you pull off the lot, consider an RV Inspector. They are just like home inspectors and can find things that appear to work, but don’t. really good and experienced ones can help you with the information above.

    Don’t shy away from camping. It’s worth every minute. Just don’t end up with Buyer’s Remorse.

  4. T Bird

    The PDI is technically performed by the dealer’s service department prior to delivery. In the auto industry it is called dealer prep.

    The buyer does a walk through at the time of delivery.

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