8 pre-delivery checklist points for a new car

If you are buying a new car, it’s always better to check it out before you actually sign on the dotted line. Because once a car has been registered in your name, there’s very little you can do about it if you find something wrong.

Since a car is a big investment you are making, it is a good practice to visit a dealer’s stockyard before the car reaches the dealership and a “pre-delivery inspection” or PDI yourself, along with the dealer’s representative or salesperson.

8 pre-delivery checklist points for a new car

Why should I do a PDI?

The dealer will anyway do a PDI and hand the car over to you, where they will check normal things such as level of oil, coolant etc in the car, and if all the parts are fitted properly – hubcaps, side steps, mirrors etc. But more often than not the PDI is not carried out properly and you realize there are problems with your car only after you’ve taken delivery.

One common problem is that during transport from the factory to the dealer’s stockyard, sometimes cars get damaged. These cars are quickly sent to the service center for a quick fix – body panels that are dented may be quickly painted over. Sometimes cars would have been lying in the dealer’s stockyard for months on end (especially if it’s not a popular model), and you could be given old stock – which may have its own problems such as rust setting in.

How to arrange a PDI?

Once you’ve booked a car be in touch with the dealer’s representative. Or track the car’s progress from factory to dealership on the Internet – some carmakers have this facility. When you know that you car has landed in the dealer’s stockyard, take time out to arrange a visit to the stockyard a day before it reaches the showroom for delivery. Go early, stay in touch with the dealer’s representative and visit the yard. Paperwork to check, includes the road worthiness certificate (Form 22) that the dealer will have (comes with the car). Check the engine and chassis number and manufacturing date of the car on this, and cross check it with the stamping on the car (found under the bonnet on a metal embossed plate). Check the VIN number – a code that comes with every car and note it down. If you were given a VIN number after you booked the vehicle cross check that.


What to check for in a PDI?

  1. Check if the odometer is working. There should be no more than 100 km on the odometer at the most. Anything more indicates the car may have been used for test drives or something else.
  2. Look carefully in bright sunlight at all the body panels. Check for paint mis-match, which could indicate a touch-up job.
  3. Check the tyres – ensure they are new tyres, look for any signs of wear. Note down the code on each tyre.
  4. Check the upholstery – it should be neat and clean and wrapped in plastic.
  5. Open the bonnet and check the engine bay. Tally the VIN/Chassis/Engine numbers.
  6. Check the level of coolant, engine oil, washer fluid.
  7. Check the battery and note down the make and code number on it.
  8. Check all lights, horn and electrical to see if they are working properly.

If you are satisfied fully with the condition of the car, you can go ahead and finish up the paperwork. The car will now be taken by the dealer’s representative for the dealer’s PDI and pre-registration formalities with the RTO (sometimes).