After purchasing two different RV’s in the past couple years, one being a 5th wheel and one being a Class “A” Motorhome, I can tell you the most important thing you do before you sign the bottom line is your Pre Delivery Inspection (PDI). This is where you spend time with your dealer going over every inch of the rig looking for issues to have fixed before you take it off the lot. I can tell you this, our first one we didn’t do this properly and ended up spending most of the first few months going back and forth to the dealer getting things fixed under warrantee. The second one we spent a few hours inspecting everything and got them fixed before we left the lot, thus allowing us to enjoy the RV more.
Below is a list of things you should look for during this inspection with the dealership. You also will need to bring a few tools with you to do this properly. Don’t expect the dealership to have any of the tools you will want to bring. The Dealer though should provide you with full propane tanks, full water tanks, and fully charged batteries.
Tools you should bring:
Screw Driver with three Bits. Flat / Phillips / Square
Notebook and Pen
Digital Camera or Video Camera
Things to Inspect:
1) Start with the top of the roof and crawl across it on your hands and knees. Inspect each seem completely and look for caulking either missing or coming off. Also look for any bubbles in the roofing material itself. Make sure to check everything, including around vents and air conditioners.
2) Check around all windows for proper fit and for proper sealing. Make sure they open and close properly.
3) Make sure all storage compartment doors open and close smoothly and that all keys work.
4) In the docking station make sure all hose connections are tight and that they don’t leak. Make sure you understand how each valve works and when to open and close each one.
5) If equipped with propane tanks, make sure you understand how to turn them on and off. Also how to remove the tank if possible to have it filled. Open the valve and smell around for gas checking for leaks.
6) Find the battery compartment. Check how to use the by-pass switch if need be. Also look and see if they are maintenance free and if not ask how to do the maintenance on them.
7) Open the awning if equipped. Check for smooth operation and if there are any holes or tears in it. Make sure all seams are tight. Make sure all mounting hardware is tight and not missing any.
8) Make sure all slides open and close smoothly and completely. Also make sure you understand how to use them and if you can open them manually if the motor fails. Make sure there are no caps with closed that will allow water in when driving down the road.
Time to move inside the rig.
1) First check all cabinet doors for proper opening and closing. Make sure the doors are tight and that inside there are no loose shelves. Pull out each drawer and check its operation also. Also check each closet door the same way.
2) Next look at all molding throughout the rig. Get down on your hands and knees and follow it completely around.
3) Operate each light switch and check that all lights do come on and off properly. Check you 12 volt system at this time since most lights in a RV run off the batteries and not shore power.
4) Make sure each and every blind open and closes properly on each window. If it has Day/Night shades make sure they operate properly all the way up and down.
5) Make sure there are no holes in any of the furniture and that they don’t appear to be worn if this is a brand new unit. Check construction of each piece for sturdiness.
6) Check the operation of each water faucet and look for leaks around the base or under the counters.
7) Open and close each window and make sure they are smooth in operation.
8) Remove each and every vent cover. Look inside for sawdust and other construction debris. It is common to have sawdust in these from the manufacturer. Make the dealer vacuum them out for you if you see the sawdust.
You should now be about 1 to 2 hours into the inspection. Now you need to test each and every piece of equipment for operation. Ask your dealer if they have somewhere on location that you can just spend the night so you can run each piece of equipment. If they don’t or refuse to let you stay the night then tell them that it will be at least another hour of inspection time before you are done. Below is a list of things you should test completely, your dealer will show you how to operate each device.
1) Shore Power. Test each outlet
2) Converts and Inverters
3) City Water system
4) Sewage tanks both Grey and Black
5) Water Pump
6) Water heater both on AC and LP
7) Furnace or Heat Pump on Air Conditioner
8) All safety devices such as Smoke Detectors, LP Detectors and Carbon monoxide Detectors. The dealer should have something that can test and set off each of these devices.
9) Refrigerator. Make sure it cools on both AC and LP and that it switches automatically between them if need be.
10) Propane stove. Make sure all burners ignite
12) Clothes Washer and Dryer if installed
13) All TV’s and the antenna booster switch
Keep in mind none of this list is inclusive. You may have more or less equipment on your particular rig, so the list may need to be modified. The purpose of the Camera or Video is so that you can actually document how to use everything as the dealer goes over it with you. No matter how good of a memory you have you will forget something that could be important.
Have the dealer repair all items on your list. Only after everything is repaired are you ready to sign for your new RV. Now the enjoyment of owning a new RV will begin with you and your family.
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