Understanding the Pre Delivery Inspection Process
Next to your home, buying a new toy hauler or RV is probably the biggest financial transaction you will make. Being prepared and understanding what to expect is important to making the experience a positive one.
Whenever you buy a new toyhauler you will do what’s called a pre delivery inspection or PDI prior to signing any paperwork. At the same time you will be shown how everything on your trailer works. Last week I took delivery of a new Voltage 3900 from Richardson’s RV in Menifee, Ca. so I thought it would be a good idea to explain the process and provide some tips.
First, if at all possible schedule the PDI on a sunny day and preferably as early in the day as possible. I was not able to follow my own advice on either of these. As my luck would have it I picked mine up in the afternoon during one of the heaviest rain storms to hit Los Angeles in years. Although they had it parked in a covered area, rain still seemed to hamper the outside inspection and we tracked a lot of water inside. Doing the inspection earlier in the day is also a good idea to give the service techs more time to make on the spot repairs. This will lessen the time or perhaps even eliminate the need to make a future appointment for repairs. Your inspection should take from 2 to 4 hours depending on the complexity and size of your trailer and how many issues you find.
Now it’s important to understand that the dealer representative has done plenty of these before and this maybe your first. His objective is to explain all of the trailers systems to you and your objective is not only to learn from him but also to make sure everything works. In either case, you need to control the tempo and not rush it.
Some things you should consider bringing are a pen and notebook to take notes, a camera, a flashlight, and a copy of the purchase order or delivery invoice. If you don’t take good notes consider bringing a video camera and have a partner film it. Use the camera to photograph any problems you may find and jot them down on your notebook. The purchase order is needed to double check that every option you’re paying for is in fact installed.
With that, here is a list of your trailers major systems that you should inspect and fully understand how they work.
- All storage doors open, close, and lock
- Sewer, grey & fresh tank dump valves
- Shore power hookup
- Propane tanks
- Siding, paint, and vinyl striping
- Front leveling jacks
- Tires & wheels, including the spare
- Rear Stabilizing jacks
- Fresh water fill points; city and holding tanks
- Outside lighting
- Pump Station
- Exterior slide seals
- Pin Box
- Outdoor Shower
- Ramp door
- All exterior lighting
- Propane & Carbon Monoxide alarms
- Air Conditioners
- Water pump
- Water Heater
- Televisions & Entertainment systems
- Air vents
- Slide out operation
- Control Panel
- All interior lighting
- All cabinets
- Interior doors
- Window blinds
- All windows
- Sinks & faucets
- Floor & wall coverings
- Garage tie downs
- Electric bunk operation
Be certain you operate and understand all of the above systems.
Now, after hooking up to your tow vehicle, be certain to check that the electric brakes operate by pressing the manual switch inside the truck. Also make certain the brake, running, and turn signal lights all work.
As you find issues, write them down. At the end of the inspection you should consult with the dealers representative on which can be fixed immediately and which will take a future appointment.
My PDI took about 3 hours and was overall a great experience. The employees at Richardson’s were all very cooperative and helpful. Most of the cosmetic issues I took note of were fixed immediately. Others needed parts ordered and a future appointment will be made to fix them. However, it is recommended that you wait until your first use of the trailer to see if any new issues arise before you make your first warranty appointment.
Well, hopefully I’ve accurately described the process. Feel free to use the comment boxes below to add a suggestion of your own.