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Pre-delivery Inspection (PDI) checklist for new cars

Team Ackodrive17, Jul, 2021

The level of excitement is sky-high when you are about to get your hands on your brand new car. In the excitement during the new car delivery, you tend to rush through the process. Most buyers forget one crucial thing while taking the delivery of a new car, which is inspecting the vehicle for any exterior or interior damages. The process of car inspection before the delivery is called Pre-delivery Inspection or PDI. Read ahead to know more about the process involved in PDI.

As explained in "How to buy a car through AckoDrive" article, online car booking is a simple process. You can also find the details about the post-booking and delivery process by glancing through the AckoDrive post-booking and Car Delivery Process page. PDI or Pre-delivery Inspection is one of the most crucial aspects of the new vehicle delivery process. Before the new car is delivered, it’s better to inspect the vehicle by yourself. That way, you can be assured that your brand-new car is in perfect condition.

What is Pre-delivery Inspection (PDI)?

Pre-delivery Inspection is the final level of inspection of the car that the dealer carries out before the car registration. The inspection includes examining the car’s exterior, interior, electrical parts, mechanical parts, fluid levels, and accessories (if any). Lastly, the vehicle undergoes a quick test drive to identify any issues present in the car.

Technically, it is the car dealer's job to conduct a thorough PDI before delivering it to the customer. However, it is better to inspect the car by yourself before collecting the vehicle from the dealership. To simplify things for you, AckoDrive will send you a car PDI checklist document before the vehicle is delivered. You can refer to the checklist and make sure that your brand new car is in the best condition. PDI involves several checks that are explained below.

Car PDI checklist for physical inspection

Below is the checklist to inspect the exterior of your new car.

  • Park the car in an open space with good daylight to thoroughly examine the exterior.

  • Walk around the car and check for any scratches, dents or marks.

  • Examine different parts of the exterior to spot any differences in the paint.

  • Open and close all the doors to ensure that they lock and operate smoothly.

  • Open and close the bonnet and boot lid to ensure that they open and close smoothly.

  • Inspect the engine bay. It should be clean and free of dirt and rust.

  • Check for tangled wires, signs of oil spills, and damaged/broken plastic parts under the bonnet.

  • Check the spare tyre and wheel. They should be brand new.

  • Open the boot and check for broken/damaged plastic parts, jack and spanner, OEM-provided toolkit and any patched up/cut wiring harnesses.

  • Check the front and rear windshields for any scratches or cracks. Also, check the window glasses for any visible damage.

  • Check the tyres to confirm that they are new and have adequate tread. Check for signs of wear and tear and ensure that the tyres are inflated as per the manufacturer’s recommendation.

Car PDI checklist for interior inspection

Once you have examined the car's exterior, the next step is to hop in the car and have a look at the interior. Here is the checklist to examine the interior of the new vehicle.

  • Examine the quality of the dashboard, seats and door pads. Look for any signs of damage, scratches or marks.

  • Check the overall fit and finish of the interior.

  • Check if the glove box opens and closes properly.

  • Check for any stains on the front and rear seats and the mat/carpet.

  • Lift the mat/carpet and check for any signs of water seeping inside the cabin.

  • Check if the windows roll up and down smoothly, especially power windows.

  • Inspect the roof liner and door seals and check for any signs of cracks.

  • Check the seat belts and other seat adjustment controls.

  • Check if the steering wheel is moving freely.

  • Check the odometer reading on the dashboard. It should be under 100km.

Car PDI checklist for inspection of electrical components

After inspecting the exterior and interior, the next step is to test the electrical components of the new car. Here is the checklist to check the electrical components.

  • Start the engine and switch on the AC. Check if it manages to cool the cabin effectively and quickly.

  • Check the AC vents for accumulation of dust/dirt. Also, check if there is any false odour from the air pumped out of the AC.

  • Check the infotainment/music system and test all the ports and control buttons and speakers.

  • Check if the horn and wipers are working correctly.

  • Check all the lights, including headlights, tail lights, indicator lights, fog lights and interior lights.

  • Lastly, open the bonnet and have a look at the battery. Check for any rusting in the terminals. Also, ask for battery warranty-related documents.

Car PDI checklist for inspection of essential fluids

A car comes with several essential fluids to keep the vehicle running smoothly. Before taking the delivery of the car, it's necessary to check the level of those fluids. Below is the checklist for fluid checks.

  • Open the bonnet and pull the dipstick to check the engine oil level. If there is a digital gauge for engine oil level on the dashboard, make sure to check it.

  • Check if the coolant level is as per the manufacturer’s recommendation by inspecting the coolant reservoir tank. The coolant should be between the maximum and minimum levels.

  • Check the level of brake and power steering fluid.

  • Lastly, inspect the windscreen washing fluid level.

Car PDI checklist for a test drive

Once you are satisfied with the car's overall condition, you can take the vehicle for a short test drive. It is recommended that you take one of the executives from the dealership while taking the car out for a drive. Here is the checklist to follow during the test drive of your new vehicle.

  • Check the acceleration and braking. There should be no jerk while accelerating the speed or any unusual sound while applying brakes.

  • Check if the car drives in a straight line when you let go of the steering wheel. If it doesn't, the wheel alignment needs to be corrected.Note: Let go of the steering wheel only when it is safe to do so.

  • Check if there is any unusual noise from the suspension or chassis.

  • Ensure that the accelerator, brake and clutch pedals work correctly.

  • Make sure that the gearbox is smooth and the gear lever works properly. Also, check the handbrake.

Car PDI checklist for inspection of duplicate key

Every new car comes with a duplicate key, and you should check if the key works properly by following the below checklist.

  • Lock and unlock the doors using the duplicate key.

  • Start the car with the duplicate key.

Need for a PDI

Pre-delivery Inspection is conducted to examine the new car for any minor or major defects. A brand new vehicle may suffer damages during transit or handling at the dealership. So, a pre-delivery checklist for new cars is essential. The dealership can fix the minor issues and will escalate any significant defects to the OEM. So, it’s crucial to examine the vehicle before the registration process. Typically, PDI is a standard operating procedure of a dealership before the registration of a new car.

Why should you inspect your new car before delivery?

As a new car buyer, you should make sure that the vehicle is in the best condition while the car is handed over to you by the dealership. PDI will eliminate the hassle of you facing issues with the vehicle post-delivery. It’s better to identify and rectify minor/major issues before the vehicle is handed over to you. A pre-delivery inspection checklist will help you in this regard.

Apart from examining the exterior, interior, electrical components, etc., you also need to scrutinize the crucial vehicle-related documents. Verifying the documents is also part of the PDI process. Below is the PDI checklist to verify important vehicle-related documents.

  • Verify the details on the original invoice. Check if the information on the invoice matches the car you purchased (Vehicle Identification Number, Engine Number and Chassis Number).

  • Check all payment receipts (road tax payment, car accessories, etc.).

  • Check the car insurance policy details and ensure that the details of the vehicle are correct.

  • Cross-check the vehicle registration number on the RTO documents.

  • Check all warranty-related documents (car, accessories, battery, etc.), and ensure that the dealer stamps them.

  • Collect the Owner’s manual and Service Booklet from the dealer.

  • Verify any other additional documents related to extended warranty, roadside assistance, etc.

Caution points while conducting PDI

Never be in a rush while taking the delivery of your new car. Don’t hurry through the process, especially while examining your brand new vehicle. Be patient and inspect every part of the car, that way, you can ensure that your new car is in perfect condition without any defects. Here are a few points that you can consider while conducting PDI.

  • Click photos of your new car from different angles. It will help you to identify any marks, scratches, dents on the exterior.

  • It’s better if you are accompanied by a family member/friend while inspecting the car. That way, it will be easy to identify any defects.

  • It is recommended that you take someone with you who has experience in conducting PDI. Prior knowledge of inspecting a new car can smoothen the whole process.

  • Never hurry while you inspect the new car. Ensure that you check every part of the car.

Frequently asked questions

Here are some of the most common questions related to Pre-delivery Inspection.

What should I check when inspecting my new car?

When inspecting a new car, check the exterior, interior, electrical components, mechanical components, fluid levels and accessories (if any). Also, check if all the features of the vehicle are working correctly.

What happens if I find any defects in my new car during PDI?

If there are any defects in a brand new car, the dealer will rectify the problem. If there is a significant defect, the issue will be escalated to the OEM, provided the defect/damage occurred during manufacturing/transit. If the damage is caused due to the dealer mishandling the vehicle, the dealer will fix the damages.

Is the test drive part of the Pre-delivery inspection?

A test drive is part of the PDI because not all components can be examined while the car is parked. To examine the components such as suspension, gearbox, steering, etc., you need to drive the vehicle.

What is a VIN, and where can I find it on a new car?

VIN is nothing but a Vehicle Identification Number. You can generally find it on the sticker attached to the windshield/windows or engrossed to the chassis/frame of the vehicle. VIN is a unique identification code for your car. Typically, VIN consists of 17 characters.

How much time does it take to conduct a PDI?

The time taken for PDI depends on how you inspect the vehicle. If you check the new car thoroughly and test drive the vehicle, it may take around 1-2 hours.

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