The Insider’s Perspective: The Critical Role of Dealerships in RV Ownership


At Peak Mountain, we take pride in crafting the industry’s finest travel trailers. However, our expertise extends beyond manufacturing. As certified RV technicians, we operate a comprehensive RV repair shop, catering to every make and model. After stumbling upon this compelling discussion, we felt compelled to share it on our platform.

Disclaimer: The following post is an intriguing excerpt from an RV forum, shedding light on the pivotal role of dealerships in the RV ownership journey. All credit goes to the original author on the forum. Just a warning, super long post but I hope someone gets something out of it at least. And we are not taking credit for any spelling or grammar errors.

“Somebody posted a somewhat vague, probably ignorable answer to a question that really caught my attention. Simply because I think it’s one of the best possible answers ever. And a lot of people don’t even realize it. Surprisingly, the question doesn’t really mean much. It could be any number of vaguely related questions that, in one way or another, ask: which brand should I go for. The answer I’m referring to was “the dealer is key”.

It’s pretty common knowledge the industry is pretty much dominated by Thor and Lippert. And most of us know the common outcome when you start talking about quality of work in the manufacturing end if things. That’s not what this post is about. Not trying to beat a dead horse.

What I am talking about is the dealers. Make no mistake about it. The quality of dealership you buy from has a direct effect on your whole RV ownership experience. I know what you’re thinking: “yeah of course, but if they made them right to begin with” blah blah blah. Yes we know. But there’s more to it than that. Let me explain.

Let me start by saying it’s not my intention to bash any one particular chain of dealership. That’s not my intention. I want to better inform you of the process of what gets done ( or better yet, what’s supposed to get done) between the RV getting delivered to the dealer from manufacturer and the keys get handed to you.

So. Let me define what I mean by “quality of dealer”. I’m not talking about the salesman or the sales manager or the financing person or most likely any of the people you met during the sales process. Those people are a dime a dozen. I’m talking about the guys in the back. And I’m not talking about the service writer or service manager either. Im talking about the service technicians. More specifically, the pdi department.

For those that don’t know, pdi stand for Pre-delivery Inspection. Every RV that hits the road is only as good as the pdi department it goes through. And the pdi department is only as good as the dealership will allow it to be.

I used to work in the pdi department of a large, well off Keystone/Highland Ridge dealership selling Cougar, Montana, Fuzion, Passport, Hideout, Open Range, Chateau and various other brand name RVs. And I can tell you first hand that the brand new RVs are manufactured so much worse than you even think they are. I could tell stories for days. I know this because that dealership has a VERY good pdi department. In my several years working there, not one time did I pdi an RV that was ready direct from the manufacturer. Meaning every single one needed repairs before it could be sold.
The main part of doing the pdi was quite literally do everything the RV can do. Operate every single thing. Open and close every single door, cabinet, drawer, latch, hinge, and what not. Make sure the operate as they should, they line up, the whole nine yards. Operate every appliance make sure they work. Do a full water test completely filling all tanks and testing for leaks and waste valves and tank flushes and all that. All the windows and shades and awnings and slides and compartments. More often than not, I’d have to spot seal the roof because of poor sealing from factory or a gap opened up in Transit for initially delivery… Well you get the picture. I tested EVERYTHING. And every single time I would find problems. Sometimes minor cosmetic issues sometimes major. It wasn’t unusual for me to log anywhere from 2-20 hours worth of warranty work to an RV that hasn’t even sold yet.

This is where it starts getting interesting. Countless times I’ve read posts here about problems people have that would have clearly been found if the pdi was performed properly to begin with. I’ve even read complaints of common problem trends. Things that are a dead give away that the RV never got a pdi. Or got a quick, half-assed pdi.

So why is this where it starts getting interesting and why is it important for you to know all this? Because the dealerships are stealing from the manufacturer. In a matter of terms… And the manufacturer knows they put out a poor quality product! In a matter of terms. I’ll explain.
So believe it or not, the pdi (which gets done at the dealership) is actually considering part of the manufacturing process. So much so that the manufacturer actually pays the dealer to perform the pdi. Yes true. They have 3 set flat rate times (depending on the length of RV) that they pay the dealership to perform the pdi.
The manufacturer knows there are flaws and pay the dealership to do the final wrap up on the RV. And it’s not chump change either. It’s up to 5 hours labor they pay. That’s just for the checks. Then once problems are found, there is additional time allotted for each repair needed. My personal record was 23 hours warranty labor in addition to the 4.3 hours for the pdi check list. On a brand new rv.

Now, just so you understand clearly, the manufacturer pays the dealership up to 5 hours labor just to fill out a check list. Whether or not or how diligent the pdi is performed is entirely up to the dealer. Perhaps some dealers like to just pocket that time and send the RV down the road with no or very little pdi done. And in turn is directly related to how good of an RV you end up with.
Lots if times you hear some people say “x” brand of RV is garbage and nothing but problems. Then you hear other people say the same “x” brand is great and very little problems. Whenever I read those posts I always think back to some of the warranty repairs I’ve made and think “if you only knew”

So naturally you probably want to know how to tell if you have a good dealership or not. Here’s my best advice: ask to see the pdi checklist before buying. And ask to speak with the technician that did it. If they refuse either of those things to you, Run.

If you made it this far, I hope you learned something.”

RV Lifestyle Group

At Peak Mountain, we believe in exceeding expectations to ensure our customers feel right at home with their Park Mountain Camps.

When you purchase one of our trailers, we extend a warm invitation for you to experience the comfort and functionality of your new investment firsthand. That’s why we encourage you to stay on our premises for a few days, providing ample time to familiarize yourself with your trailer, ask any questions, and ensure that everything meets both our standards and your expectations.

During your stay, we want you to feel at ease as you explore your new trailer. Our goal is to make sure you feel confident in operating its various features and amenities, so you can make the most of your camping experience. We’re here to assist you every step of the way, whether you have questions about the setup, functionality, or anything else related to your trailer.

Your comfort and satisfaction are paramount to us. That’s why we’re committed to ensuring that everything aligns with our high standards of quality and exceeds your expectations. We want you to feel not only satisfied with your purchase but also excited about the adventures that lie ahead with your Park Mountain Camp trailer.

Welcome to the Peak Mountain family – we’re thrilled to accompany you on your camping journey!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *