EDITOR’S NOTE: Our long-time contributor Jim Twamley wrote this in 2007. Digging through old issues for long-lost but still relevant articles, we came upon this. What Jim wrote here is just as relevant today. So once again. . .
Why the pre-delivery inspection is critical when you purchase an RV
When we purchased our new 5th wheel the dealer said they did a pre-delivery inspection (PDI); however, it was done poorly because several major problems that should have been discovered on a PDI went unnoticed. Like a crack in the fresh water tank that only allowed you to fill the tank half-way before it started leaking.
A thorough PDI by you and your dealer should be accomplished prior to you taking delivery. When we pulled in to Best Buy RV’s in Richmond, Indiana, they parked our 5th wheel next to our new coach so we could examine it. That afternoon and evening, I ran my own personal PDI checklist on this coach, hoping not to repeat the misery of my last experience purchasing an RV. I found a few minor problems and turned in the list to the service manager Ray Jefferis.
Ray and I looked over my list and then he assigned it to Ben Lukacek, a Master Certified RV Technician with 9 years’ experience. Dr. Ben was about to give our new coach a complete physical exam!
He got right to work running the dealership PDI checklist. He tested the gray and fresh water tank sensors by filling the fresh water tank, emptying the gray tank and then running water into the drains using the shower, bath and kitchen faucets. It took a while but as I watched, the fresh water sensors showed the tanks emptying and the gray water filling.
It’s a simple test that checks many things at once. First it checks to ensure that your water pump is functioning properly, your drains work and there are no leaks in your holding tanks. Second, it checks the accuracy of the tank sensors. Third, it checks that the correct sensors are wired properly.
My 5th wheel had the sensors wired so the fresh water was showing the black tank and black tank was showing the gray tank level and so on. Again, had the RV technician done this simple test he would have discovered this problem and corrected it prior to delivery to the customer.
Here Ben is checking that all the DC fuses are good.
Ben is thorough and did a meticulous PDI. He also discovered things that I did not discover after running my checklist. For instance, he found a pinhole leak in a radiator hose and replaced that. He found a broken spring in the awning. He found and corrected an electrical problem that was preventing the kitchen from receiving power (a connector accessible from one of the storage bays had come apart).
I watched him check all kinds of stuff to make sure it worked and that when the dealership delivered it to me it would be 100% operational and ready to hit the road. He even fixed a window screen that was sagging.
After my first experience I am clearly appreciative of a dealership that goes to this extent to check out their products before they turn them over to their customers.
When you purchase an RV from any dealer, whether it is new or used, I highly recommend that you “shadow” the RV technician as he does the PDI. You will learn a lot about your specific RV when you do this and you will know the exact condition of all your systems when you drive off the lot. If your dealership doesn’t allow this, find another dealer – fast!
Next to making your purchase decision, the PDI is probably the most important part of buying an RV. Take it seriously and don’t rush it. You’ll be glad you did.