TAKING PROPER DELIVERY OF AN RV
As I travel around the country helping dealers with their parts and service departments one of the services I perform is to help them improve their delivery of an RV to their customers. Since many people will be buying RVs at this show I have decided to write this article to give buyers a guideline on what information to look for when taking delivery of an RV.
Safety is very important. While the following list is not all inclusive from a safety standpoint it is a good start.
1. Your tow vehicle and hitch should be of adequate capacity for your total
rig. Be sure your GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) is correct and be sure your
hitch is adequate for the GVWR of the trailer. For detailed information visit
the RV Safety Education Foundation website at
2. If you are planning to tow a dinghy, check your tow bar for worn parts, etc. I also highly recommend some sort of brakes. I have studied the different tow bars and brakes available. Blue Ox and their products are very impressive.
3. Be sure you can recognize the smell of propane.
4. Many toy box models have gasoline tanks built into them. Have your instructor give you safety instructions on the proper use of these.
5. Get instruction on the fire extinguisher proper use. Learn about the PASS method
6. Be sure you know how to use the emergency escapes.
7. Tire safety, weight factors, and proper lug torque are very important. Have you instructor explain these to you. In the case of towables there is a booklet put out by most axle manufacturers you should receive and read.
8. Have your instructor explain how to properly drain holding tanks and use rubber gloves.
9. Understand fully how to use the propane, smoke and CO detectors.
10. As a final step it is a good idea to always do a walk around before driving off. Check the hook-ups, tires, safety features, antenna, stabilizer, slide rooms, etc.
The 12VDC battery in your RV is sometimes referred to as the heart of all the systems. Some things you should pay particular attention to about the 12VDC battery are:
1. Know what kind of batteries they are (Gel Cell, AGM(absorbed glass mat) or
Lead Acid) and how to set the solar panel or convertor charger for the proper
2. Know where the disconnects are and how they operate and what they do.
3. Have the instructor show you where all the 12V circuit brakers and fuses are located, how to reset them or change the fuses.
4. Have the instructor tell you about any 12V ghost draws that you need to be aware of.
5. Understand fully safety procedures when it comes to batteries.
Some slide rooms on motorized will only slide in and out when certain other parameters, such as driver seat position, jacks up or down, ignition on or off, etc. are met. Read your manual or ask your instructor about this.
The most common automatic roof vent is made by Fantastic Vent. There are several other companies that make these. There is often a control on the wall. Once again ask your instructor or read your manual. Different models will operate differently. Understand your model and how it operates.
There are some new cook tops ranges out. Here are a few things to understand about your range.
1. Some of the newer ranges have a different sequence for the pilot light in
the oven. Have your instructor explain this to you and how it works. Know how to
turn the oven pilot light completely off.
2. The top burners light differently on different models. Be sure you understand how yours operate.
3. Have your instructor explain to you about the different BTU ratings of the top burners.
4. As a safety issue never use your cooking stove for heating comfort. Do not put paper towels where the burners could ignite them.
Read your owners manual and ask the instructor about proper roof maintenance. Follow these directions.
The propane system is one of the least understood and potentially the most dangerous system in your new RV. Ask the instructor about the specifics of these items on your propane system:
1. How many hours will each appliance in your propane system burn off the
amount of propane you have in your RV.
2. Exactly how does the automatic changeover regulator work if you have one.
3. Does your RV have a flow limiting device and what will activate it.
4. Propane system maintenance is very important. Have your instructor explain the three propane tests you should have done annually to your RV.
5. Know the smell of propane.
There are many different valves on many of the newer fresh water systems. These use the same water inlet to fill the tank and provide city water. Take time to fully understand the operation and valve position for different functions. If your RV is equipped with a holding tank cleanout know where it is and how it operates.
The 120VAC system can be somewhat complicated to the novice. Some things to have a clear understanding of are:
1. How the GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) works. Which outlets does
it control? Where is it located? Some RVs will have more than one GFCI outlet.
2. How to properly hook up a 50 AMP service.
3. If your RV is equipped with an inverter which outlets are off the inverter and which are not. Where the inverter breakers are.
4. If your RV is equipped with an EMS (Energy Management System) have the instructor explain this thoroughly to you.
5. Have the instructor show you where the breaker panel is and explain each breaker function.
The cockpit area of the motorhome has many controls, switches, etc. It would not be feasible for me to try and mention each one in this article. When you are going through the orientation start at one side of the dash and understand what each button/switch does. Look inside the cabinets over the door and windshield for switches.
Have the instructor show you how to check your fluid levels. Open the hood/access area to actually check the fluid levels.
Do not be afraid to ask specific questions about your water heater, refrigerator, furnace, and air conditioner operation. When I have done my training these are four areas that most instructors do not explain fully. When I do my classes, I spend a good deal of time explaining these four areas. Ask for the owner’s manuals and use them to derive questions.
Some other items that I have seen skipped over too lightly are the monitor panel, inside and outside entertainment center, the awning, and the satellite dish. It is better to understand these at the dealership than to be at your first outing trying to figure it out. Do not get in a hurry and understand these items fully.
When I do customer orientation evaluations these are some common areas where misunderstandings take place. Length of this article does not allow me to go into detail. Have your instructor go into the details.
To make your RVing experience more enjoyable please do not leave the dealership with any questions about the operation of your RV.
Always pay attention to all of the instruction manuals in your new RV. It is important to read and understand these. Please fill out and send in any warranties or owner registrations as this allows the manufacturer to contact you concerning recalls, updates, specials, etc. This advice would also be true when you install a new accessory or part on your RV.
Thank you for reading my article.
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