RV Pre Delivery Inspection and Orientation

Before you take delivery of your recreational vehicle from a dealer, you should always demand a pre-delivery inspection and orientation.  You need to receive assurances from your dealer that the new RV is fully functional, properly serviced, and safe to operate. The pre-delivery inspection should actually take place before you arrive to pick up your new rig.

A quality dealer will usually invest a full tank of fuel, a filled LP-gas tank, and nearly 24 hours of operating and testing all the major systems, appliances, and functions of the RV to this comprehensive preparation. Better dealers will also provide new buyers with essential items not provided by manufacturers, including an electrical adapter plug, potable water hose, water pressure regulator, holding tank chemicals, RV toilet tissue, and a sewer hose with adapter and clamp. If not, the buyer should be certain to purchase these items himself before taking delivery of the rig.

Upon arrival, the buyer should expect to spend no less than an hour or two participating in a thorough orientation and walk-through of the RV's components and systems. In checklist form, this orientation should include:

- Instruction in all operations.

- Explanation of the standard warranty coverage.

- Explanation of the owner's manual. Review of maintenance requirements.

- Owner's manuals for all components.

- Familiarity with the coach electrical system.

- The location of and replacement procedures for fuses, relays, circuit breakers, and solenoids.

- Actually starting, driving, and braking the vehicle, with an explanation of cold- and hot-weather starting procedures.

- A test drive or test tow, including towing of a dinghy vehicle, if you plan to use one.

- Practice hooking and unhooking a tow vehicle.

- Review of safety procedures.

- A fire escape plan, including operation of the escape window.


Specific instruction should take place on the following systems and components:

    AC generator

    AC generator circuit breakers

    Air conditioners

    Black- and gray-water dump valves

    Circuit breakers

    Coach batteries

    Dash electrical components, including:

  • Lights
  • Wipers
  • Gauge instruments
  • Audible and visual warning features
  • The meaning of all indicators

    Electrical distribution panels.

    Electrical shore-power cord.

    Engine compartment, including:

  •  Engine oil
  •  Hydraulic fluid
  • Transmission fluid
  • Coolant level
  • Leveling-jack hydraulic reservoir
  • Fuel filters
  • Fan belts
  • Hoses
  • Air filter

Filling the freshwater tank

  • Fire extinguisher
  •  Furnace
  • Ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCI)
  • Ice maker
  • Inverter circuit breakers 
  • Leveling system
  • Power converter
  • Refrigerator
  • Sewer dump hose
  • Shower
  • Toilet
  • Transfer switches
  • Water Heater
  • Water hose
  • Water pump
  • Water purifier

Add any other options you've chosen to add to your new RV, and you should have a pretty comprehensive list. Make sure the dealer not only demonstrates everything for you, but also allows you to practice operating things yourself. Watch them do it. Do it yourself. If you're still not certain, do it again.

Many dealers also offer a free camping weekend at a local campground. If so, take advantage of it to give your new rig a thorough run-through under actual camping conditions. If not, then definitely plan to schedule a short camping excursion on your own for the same purpose. It's better to find out about any bugs or quirks your RV may possess in this way than to discover problems while on a lengthy trip.



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