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350Z 28th August 2011 05:53 PM

New Car Pre-Delivery Inspection – An Exhaustive Guide
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Be it a first car in the family or just another addition in your garage, buying a new car is an occasion one cannot forget. Amid all the enthusiasm, a slight precaution can ensure that this joy is a long-lasting one. PDI, better known as pre-delivery inspection is a process of thoroughly inspecting the car before paperwork is done. However assurance the sales person may provide about the car being flawless and well-checked, it’s important to personally inspect the car in depth if for nothing then atleast for the sake of self-satisfaction. This thread is an ultimate guide for the beginners and professionals alike about the A – Z of performing a PDI. Read on.

350Z 28th August 2011 05:54 PM

Re: New Car Pre-Delivery Inspection – An Exhaustive Guide
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Prepare in advance and fix an appointment with the dealer for PDI. Insist anytime as long as it’s daytime. Do ensure to take the following things along:

> Trusted Friend: For quick help, observations and reduces chances of being misguided by salesperson.

> Camera: To capture images of different angles and post on the forum for views of fellow members.

> Notepad and Pen: Useful if required to note down important bits or information told by sales person.

> Your Driving License: You wouldn’t want a cop to become a spoilsport during your new car test drive.

> Print of PDI Checklist: Highly recommended and important to collect the final observations after PDI.

> Mixed Track Music CDs: To test the audio setup of vehicle with different tracks, settings and volume.

> Misc Documents (If required): Your dealer might ask for certain docs to complete registration formalities.

Note: This entire process should be performed before the registration. Your dealer cannot replace the car (if found defected) once registered.

First things first, note down the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) of the vehicle in question. To describe in layman’s laguage, VIN is horoscope of a car. It consists of alphanumeric characters and can be used to find out information about a particular unit. Example: It's production date, manufacturing location, features and much more. This tool is quite essential to figure out whether you’re being offered a car which was manufactured much earlier than current date. Remember, an old manufactured car is more questionable and prone to issues. Do not accept such vehicle unless it looks absolutely perfect and the dealer is willing to offer a justified amount of discounts against it, as this car has depreciated while sitting idle at the dealership for a considerable amount of time.

Next, look at the odometer. The car should not have clocked more than 100 Kms. Though, it depends on case-to-case basis as sometimes the cars are driven upto remote areas from nearby cities. Anyhow, do not accept a car which has clocked additional kilometers without a valid explanation. In case the odometer reads zero or it doesn’t work at all, beware. The dealer might have already disconnected the odometer. Now let’s move on to the exteriors for a visual inspection. Closely check the car from 360 degrees for signs of repair, apparent scratches, dents and rusting. Do not ignore mirrors and windows for cracks either.

Note: The surface rust on disc brakes is normal and nothing to fret about.

Tip: Not sure how to decode a VIN? Read Here:

350Z 28th August 2011 05:54 PM

Re: New Car Pre-Delivery Inspection – An Exhaustive Guide
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Switch on and off to test all the lights (Headlamps, Foglamps, Stoplamps, and Indicators etc).

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Difficulty to pull up the boot indicates a faulty hydraulic system.

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Watch out the mirrors and windows for breaks or deep scratches.

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It is questionable is the seats are not covered with polythene.

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Small yet significant. Pay special attention to the fuel lid for damages.

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Inspect lower end of the car (Doors / Bumpers) for signs of dents or scratches.

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If the car has remote locking, use it and also manually lock / unlock the doors.

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Use windshield wash sprayer to scan the condition of wiper blades.

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Brand new tyres must have complete tread. And verify their manufacturing date too. Note: Beware of cracked wheels.

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If we say check ‘all’ the lights, it literally means all.

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350Z 28th August 2011 05:55 PM

Re: New Car Pre-Delivery Inspection – An Exhaustive Guide
Pop up the hood and take a look on the engine compartment. Everything must appear in good shape and in place. Pull out the dipstick and examine the condition of engine oil. It should be topped up and appear golden’ish in color, darkness means it requires a replacement. Similarly, check rest condition of other essential fluids too (Coolant, Brake Oil, Power Steering Oil etc). Plus, the battery should be new and have its positive terminal covered.

Drop the hood and make sure if it easily shuts and sits down properly or not? Repeat the similar process for doors, boot, rear view mirrors, and fuel lid by shutting and opening them to confirm their smooth functioning. Excessive play is not a positive sign and should be brought to the attention of dealer. Yet another important aspect to check on the exteriors is tyres. They’re usually inflated more than the adequate pressure when the car is parked in stockyard. Verify that all the tyres should be of the same brand with no signs of wear or tear. Additionally, their manufacturing date should be around the same time as of your car. Similarly, check if the spare wheel is kept intact along with tool kit inside the boot.

Talking about the interiors, seats should be wrapped with plastics and so the other often used parts like sun visors. Don’t forget to pay a close attention to the features or settings which have to be working all right the way they are expected. For example, windscreen wiper should be perfectly cleaning the glass without leaving any marks or scratches (Indicating worn out blades). And if the outside rear view mirrors are internally or electrically adjustable, operate them too. Also for the cars which come equipped with a music system, it’s recommended to test their functionality yourself. This is where your favourite Music CD will be put into use. Prefer taking one which has a few songs with mixed tracks. Insert the disc and play it with different settings and volume modes for some time to test that it does not give up.

Tip: Not sure how to check manufacturing date of the tyres? Read Here:

350Z 29th August 2011 03:00 PM

Re: New Car Pre-Delivery Inspection – An Exhaustive Guide
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That's how the brand new battery should look like.

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Check the engine oil’s quantity and colour.

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Experiment the smoothness of ABC pedals while taking the car out for a spin.

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Does the power windows and mirrors operate correctly from the inside?

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Typically that’s how a brand new car’s engine compartment should appear.

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Glove box contains owner’s manual, spare bulbs and fuses. Did you check yours?

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Brand new spare wheel kept intact inside the boot along with other necessary tools.

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Test functioning of all the buttons and rotary knobs.

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Pay attention to instrument cluster all the times during drive for any warning signals or disconnected odometer.

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Ask your companion to find out whether the car is emitting excessive smoke.

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Different cars have different locations of the VIN.

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350Z 29th August 2011 03:00 PM

Re: New Car Pre-Delivery Inspection – An Exhaustive Guide
Upon completing the exterior and interior inspection, proceed for a test drive. This drive is different than the one you took while choosing a car. All that makes the difference here is whether this particular unit drives smooth enough or not (overlooking the common pros and cons of the product). Split up this drive into two. First, drive yourself and ask your companion for minute observations (unknown rattles squeaks or noises). Second, sit and ask your companion to drive.

Get acquainted with the driver’s seat adjustment settings and position. Buckle up and turn on the ignition. Your car should start in a single cell. Put into first gear and make sure the car drives smooth enough as it’s supposed to be. Be vigilant for unknown sounds or excessive vibrations and overall NVH levels (with windows open and closed). Pay full attention to the instrument cluster for important indications. Try to drive the car in different conditions and terrain. Notice the wheel alignment and effectiveness of brakes. Test the car with the different features that it comes equipped with. (Cruise control for instance). Similarly, ask your companion to take a spin and also check whether the car is emitting too much smoke. Once done with a satisfactory test drive, look around for overheating signals or oil leakage.

It might take at least an hour or two for a thorough PDI. If at all, defects are found, bring them to the attention of sales person then and there. Feel free to compare the car with same models around to know whether the issue is specific or general across the range. Though minor issues can be fixed but strongly insist for a replacement in case major problems are identified.

Things to Remember During PDI:
  • Be courteous and polite while interacting with the dealership staff.
  • Firmly fix a particular date with your dealer in advance for Pre Delivery Inspection.
  • Take along a friend who’s responsible enough even if not an expert about automobiles.
  • Check for stickers like OK or PDI on the car's windshield / glasses from the company.
  • Gove box should contain an ownership manual, first aid kit, spare bulbs as well as fuses.
  • Carefully inspect the car body, windshields etc. for any little signs of repairs or damage.
  • If there’s another same car model parked beside compare your car with it.
  • Make sure that all the electronics (lamps, indicators etc.) are working correctly.
  • Test and operate almost every feature which is equipped in the car.
  • During test drive, be alert for any unknown noises, vibrations or smell whether small or big.
  • Ensure there are no leakages inside the car. This can be done with help of a quick water wash.
  • Finally, match VIN of the car that you inspected while taking the delivery.

Tip: Note sure about the meaning of some instrument cluster warning lights? Read Here:

350Z 29th August 2011 03:01 PM

Re: New Car Pre-Delivery Inspection – An Exhaustive Guide
Related Threads:

Important Note:
  • This PDI is written assuming a regular manual transmission car which runs on gasoline. For automatic and / or cars with different types of fuel, functionalities etc., remember to carefully test their correct working while performing a thorough PDI.
  • Some cars may be equipped with not-so-common or exclusive features. Do not hesitate to ask the sales person for a feature demo (which they must provide anyway) for a detailed explanation.
  • The Automotive India is always here to assist in case you are confused or stuck anywhere. Finally good luck and congratulations!

350Z 29th August 2011 03:37 PM

Re: New Car Pre-Delivery Inspection – An Exhaustive Guide
1 Attachment(s)
Note: It’s strongly recommended to carry a print out of the checklist attached along with post in order to perform an effective PDI.

Drive Safe,

P3T3R 30th August 2011 10:12 AM

Re: New Car Pre-Delivery Inspection – An Exhaustive Guide
6 Attachment(s)
Awesome write up Vibhor.

Just to add:-

Tyres: The manufacturer sometimes has multiple suppliers of tyres. Select a car with the brand of your choice. If upgrading opt for MRF or JK as they have a better resale.


-Photo of my car's OEM tyres (Appollo Accelere)

-Some snaps of a car rejected during a PDI

-Location of the VIN Plate and Sticker in the i10.

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dodge_v1per 30th August 2011 03:05 PM

Re: New Car Pre-Delivery Inspection – An Exhaustive Guide
excellent PDI and checklist man! helpful for new buyer!! given 5 stars rating!! [clap]

carfreak 30th August 2011 03:21 PM

Re: New Car Pre-Delivery Inspection – An Exhaustive Guide
This is one thread am going to preserve and share it with all potential new buyers. Thanks very much for the detailed info. Rated 5 stars but would have loved to rate 7 stars [clap]

Surfer 30th August 2011 04:41 PM

Re: New Car Pre-Delivery Inspection – An Exhaustive Guide
Thanks for information.Very helpful in deed.

Umang 30th August 2011 05:00 PM

Re: New Car Pre-Delivery Inspection – An Exhaustive Guide
kudos for one more useful thread! checklist is best! [thumbsup]

Surfer 30th August 2011 10:08 PM

Re: New Car Pre-Delivery Inspection – An Exhaustive Guide
I think contents should also be merged ,will be easy to read

350Z 1st September 2011 06:02 PM

Re: New Car Pre-Delivery Inspection – An Exhaustive Guide
Most of the points from previous thread are already covered in this new thread.

Drive Safe,

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