Thursday, June 1, 2023


Beginner’s Guide to RVing Newsletter #13

Welcome to the Beginner’s Guide to RVing from The information we present here every Monday through Friday is for brand-new RVers – those in the market to buy their first RV and those who just purchased theirs. If you are an experienced RVer, this material may be too basic for you.

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July 23, 2020

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DID YOU MISS reading this morning’s RV Daily Tips Newsletter? Good stuff there.

RVing Basics

What’s a PDI?
RV dealers should perform a thorough Pre-Delivery Inspection (PDI) on every RV that arrives from the factory. Some dealers will go through the RV carefully, looking in every nook and cranny to be sure everything is in order. But some dealers will do practically nothing. Time is money. These dealers will take a quick look for anything obvious and that’s about it. They figure they can sell the unit, and then fix what’s wrong later under its warranty (in some cases this could take weeks or longer).

You may not know which type of dealer you’re dealing with. We highly recommend you hire an independent RV inspector to look over your prospective RV whether new or used. This could be a local mobile RV technician or a trained RV Inspector who specializes in such work. You can find a certified RV inspection service here. If the dealer will not allow you to hire an independent inspector, then walk away.

A representative of the dealer will offer you the opportunity to do your own PDI, or walk-through, by showing you how everything in the RV operates, providing you the opportunity to ask questions about anything that concerns you, including any defects you may spot. Be sure that you schedule plenty of time for this, take copious notes, and do not let the dealer talk you out of demanding something be fixed before you sign on the dotted line.

Some RVers even videotape their walk-through for future reference – a great idea. Be thorough. Try every door and drawer, every switch and faucet, every latch and lock. Make sure you learn how everything operates. If anything will need fixing or adjusting, be sure you get what needs to be done in writing and have the dealer sign it. There are also videos on YouTube that illustrate how to use all the systems of an RV.

Give me a few tips about buying an RV that I might never consider.
Okay, here are a few things:
1. Check the locations of electrical outlets. Be sure they make sense.
2. Sit on the couch and lay on the bed. Is the mattress comfortable? Is there head support on the couch? You’ll spend a lot of time in these places.
3. Pull the slides in and see if you can reach the stove, refrigerator and bathroom. In some cases you may not – then you’ll be out of luck at rest areas when you want to use your own bathroom or to make lunch.
4. Sit where you will watch TV. Do you need to twist your neck uncomfortably to see the screen?
5. Sit on the toilet to be sure you can do so with the bathroom door shut, and stand in the shower to be sure you fit.
6. Never trust what a dealer or other seller promises you if your “gut” tells you it’s not true.

Do I need a special license to drive a motorhome?
In most cases, no. But if you will be driving a very large RV, check with your state’s department of motor vehicles before hitting the road. Here’s a website that lists state-by-state information.

Quick Tips

Nighttime blackout help
“Day and night” shades not giving you enough “night”? One RVer sews up dark cloth panels with a pocket across the top, sized to fit the window. She attaches the panel, via the pocket, to a tension rod across the top, hidden under the valence.

Drafty motorhome?
Motorhome got a cold draft you can’t account for? After eliminating an open window or roof vent, check your dashboard environmental controls. Vacuum-operated intakes left in the open position when the engine is shut down may well stay open, allowing cold air to infiltrate. Turn the engine on, close the vents, shut engine off. Shut eyelids.

Handy picture hangers
Can’t figure out how to hang pictures in your RV? Check out “Command Strips” from 3M. These adhesive-back strips are strong, and allow you to change out the pictures when you want.

Slow-running kitchen faucet?
RV kitchen sink spout running too slow for your taste? Unscrew the aerator and check the screen for crud. If that doesn’t do the trick you can remove the water-saver fitting.

Easy plastic bag storage
Keep used plastic bags in an old Kleenex box. You will be amazed at how many it will hold. Thanks to Candy Alexander!

We welcome your Quick Tips: Send to

Be cool this summer. Now use your RV air conditioner when you could never use it before. No kidding!

Common Terms Used by RV Salespeople

PENCIL: This has two applications. First, a sales manager will pencil a salesman’s deal by crossing out the customer’s offer and penciling in the figure that he wants to get for that RV. The second application is used when a salesman or sales manager changes the selling price or trade-in allowance and covers it up with an increase in the customer’s monthly payment because of the additional cost he expects to pay for Credit Life, Accident and Health insurance.

Another one next issue. Courtesy of the Burdge Law Office.

sponge91FkFZCzPZL__SL1500_Easily clean those stubborn bugs off your RV
The Microfiber Mesh Bug and Tar Sponge has millions of tiny fibers embedded in the microfiber cloth that grabs and holds the dust and dirt. It is so effective it even cleans without chemicals, saving both time and money. The secret of this sponge lies in its unique, double-layer microfiber mesh. Older nylon bug sponges can harm your clear coat, but this one is completely paint safe. Learn more or order.

If you could tell someone new to RVing just one thing, what would it be?

From the editors: We asked our readers this question recently. Here is one response: 

“If you’re buying from a dealer, check their business reputation out. Are there complaints about them? Check the internet and Better Business Bureau for complaints. Do they deal in shoddy makes, practice predatory selling techniques, push 20-year financing, have issues with shoddy repairs, and do they fix warranty issues in a timely manner?” — Marty Chambers

Random RV Thought

When you stay the night in a hotel or motel, you have to be careful you don’t leave something behind. But when you travel by RV, your room comes along with you, so you usually don’t have to worry about forgetting something (unless it’s outside).

• If you’re a member of Facebook, be sure to sign up for our groups RV Buying Advice, RV Advice and Budget RV Travel. For a list of all our groups and newsletters, visit here.

• If you buy a defective RV and are unable to get it fixed or its warranty honored, here is where to turn for help.

• If you need an RV Lemon Law Lawyer, Ron Burdge is your man.

Why you should never finance an RV for 20 years!

Truck Parts & Accessoriespickup truck
Wow! Just about anything and everything you would need for your truck is at Amazon. Plus, you’ll get instant savings with automotive coupons. No matter what make or model you’re driving, you’ll likely find what you want here, without wasting an ounce of gas or diesel driving anywhere. Explore the huge online store.

Read previous issues of Beginner’s Guide to RVing newsletters here.

RV Travel staff


Publisher: Chuck Woodbury. Editors: Emily Woodbury, Diane McGovern.

Everything in this newsletter is true to the best of our knowledge. But we occasionally get something wrong. We’re just human! So don’t go spending $10,000 on something we said was good simply because we said so, or fixing something according to what we suggested (check with your own technician first). Maybe we made a mistake. Tips and/or comments in this newsletter are those of the authors and may not reflect the views of or this newsletter. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. Regardless of this potential revenue, unless stated otherwise, we only recommend products or services we believe provide value to our readers.

Mail us at 9792 Edmonds Way, #265, Edmonds, WA 98020.

This newsletter is copyright 2020 by


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2 years ago

The first article left out one important thing. When you go to check out your new RV make sure it is hooked up to water and electric so all your tests will be accurate. The dealer should have it hooked up for you.

2 years ago

Here is a comprehensive PDI for all to use. He has compiled a very thorough list.

2 years ago
Reply to  Glenn

You have to register with this site to use it, means giving out your information to yet another online source.

D Kaiser
2 years ago
Reply to  cee

Belong to Lance Owners, great reference as far as the blogs and have had no unrelated mail in my inbox.

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