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So, are you fully pumped up to drive your dream car to your porch? Okay, you’ve just got your car loan approved, test-driven your model already, booked the colour of your choice & now can’t contain your excitement to grab your car key & post your pictures with the car gushing with joy on social media. But hey, you’re definitely missing this ONE IMPORTANT ITEM which should be on top of your CAR BUYING CHECKLIST.

Today, we’ll talk about Pre-Delivery Inspection (PDI) & why you absolutely shouldn’t be shying away from demanding this from your dealer/sales consultant.

By the way, you may want to check this post on the upcoming promising cars of 2019.

What’s PDI?

As the name says, Pre-Delivery Inspection is the thorough inspection/ observation of the car that you’ve booked for purchasing to check for any internal or external defects.

Why you must do a PDI?

Please understand that the car showroom you visit before selecting your car has all demo/display cars. And most commonly, the test drive cars have the odometers disconnected from them.

Needless to say, we’re all aware that all consumer products, cars or not, can have manufacturing defects.

All the more, while transporting a new car right from the manufacturing unit (factory) to the showroom, the car can potentially suffer from a number of damages.

Hence, a Pre-Delivery Inspection (PDI) must top your car buying checklist. Because, it doesn’t have to be always a second-hand car, which requires a thorough inspection.

If ignored, a lot can go wrong while finalizing a car & registering it on your name. And once you get the car registered in your name, God forbid, should there be any complaint vis-a-vis it’s functioning, there’s hardly any chance that you could have it replaced or if your sales consultant would seriously ever look into resolving the issue.

So, here we sum up what should essentially be on your car buying checklist:

Pre-Registration Car buying Checklist

Clarify to your dealer very well that no invoice or document be prepared under your name until you’re done inspecting the car to be registered with you.

Arrange for a Daylight inspection slot

ALWAYS make sure that you hit the dealership stockyard (the place where they can arrange for your inspection) during the day. Although it comes across as a minor condition, it’s extremely important for you to be able to inspect or examine your car in bright SUNLIGHT, when any possible defects on the exterior, such as dents, scratches, paint jobs etc can be easily spotted.

Ask for a Wash & Tank fuelling

If possible, ask your dealership to get the car washed minimally before your visit & to also get it sufficiently fueled for you to be able to start & drive-check while inspecting it.

Borrow another pair of EYES

NO! Not literally 😉

Take a friend along to join you during the inspection visit to the stockyard. You see, it’s always better to have another person who could probably notice any faults that you’d not. All the more, if you know any car mechanic personally, there’s no looking back. Just grab him along! Because there’s nothing that can hide from his vision. Be it any repainting or re-fitting work around the exterior, especially around the bumper.

What to inspect at the INTERIOR & EXTERIOR

Check if these look UNUSED & operate smoothly:

  • Dashboard
  • Glove Box
  • Seats for their adjustment controls
  • Car flooring for any hidden cracks or damage (Lift the floor mat/carpet & check)
  • Door pad, Windscreens, Sear belts
  • Tyres for proper treads

What to check when you start the engine or drive

  • Any unusual noise while starting the engine.
  • Any foul/burnt smell upon doing that.
  • If your car is supposed to be one with power steering & power windows, check if these operate accordingly smooth without any trouble.
  • If the AC cools very well & doesn’t emit any foul odour. This can happen when the car unit has been parked idle for a very long time in the stockyard & bacteria & fungi can begin to grow & thrive in there.
  • If the engine exhaust emits any visible exhaust.
  • If the car seems to vibrate unusually.
  • If all the lights, as in headlights, tail lights, indicators are working fine.
  • If you can switch gears easily using the clutch & brake.
  • If you have a straight, levelled, empty road available for you to test drive with your hands off the steering wheel, do that for a while at a slow speed. If the car gets deflected towards any side, you may have to inquire about the wheel alignment with the dealer.
  • Check all the electronic fittings & accessories such as the infotainment system, AUX ports etc.
  • Ask the sales consultant for a complete demo of all the features promised with that car model.

Pre-Delivery Car buying Checklist

  • Note the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) or the Chassis Number.
  • Ask for Form 22 WITHOUT FAIL to verify the manufacturing month & year. The VIN must be the SAME as the one appearing on the sale invoice & registration document(s). This can prevent major goof-ups by the dealers.
  • Look out for the toolkit such as the Jack & Wrench & other hazard warning indicators.

What to do just before closing the purchase deal?

  • Read & sign all the sale & insurance documents carefully.
  • Finally, greet the sales personnel with a small gift as a token of appreciation or gratitude. Though a very underrated aspect, this simple & inexpensive gesture can strengthen your amicable equation with him/her further. Hence, he/she would be obliged to help you with any after-sale services for your car & assist you better on priority.
  • Enquire everything about the servicing workshops & wash stations associated with the manufacturing company.
  • Keep the dealer’s visiting card in the dashboard along with the owner’s manual. This may come handy anytime right when you need it.

Do remember to take this checklist along with you to the showroom. No doubts, your car is your dream that you buy with every hard-earned penny & meticulous financial planning. Please do NOT hesitate to opt for a PDI comparing it with a typical haggling-for-grocery affair. No, it’s got nothing to do with bargaining or sorts.

Although, You have the right to demand a Pre-Delivery inspection.! But Also keep in mind that not all dealers provide this facility mentioned here. So be wise and ask in a request manner sincerely. And note, if the dealer refuses, you won’t be able to anything legally against them 🙂

Here’s a video in Hindi for a better understanding.

Many congratulations on your purchase & we’d be glad to be part of your celebration. By the way, we’d love to know which car you’re buying. If you have any queries related to this car buying checklist, do drop in your comments freely.

PS: The Original Author of this Article is Ashvini Naik.

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