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What is a pre-delivery inspection?

October 03, 2022 by

Before you collect your brand new car, it will have gone through one final check, known as a pre-delivery inspection (PDI). But what exactly does it include?

PDI meaning

PDI stands for Pre-delivery inspection. Before you take delivery of your new car, the dealer will carry out a PDI to ensure the vehicle is is full working order and is safe to drive.

The car will be examined top to bottom including the paintwork, interior and engine to check for any defects which may have been missed during the manufacturing process.

What happens in a pre-delivery inspection?

A pre-delivery inspection will usually be carried out by the dealer you buy your car from. Some manufacturers, such as Kia, carry out PDIs at their delivery depots before the car is transported to the dealer. The bodywork and interior will be checked for damage and the car will be taken on a brief test drive to make sure everything is mechanically safe and in  order. 

While the exact procedure varies depending on the manufacturer, PDI checks will examine the major components on the car. Here is a list of procedures that they will all generally include:

  • Examining the wheels. Hugely important is making sure the locking nuts are correctly tightened and that the tyres are inflated to the recommended levels.
  • Inspecting the exterior lights to see if they are working. The alignment of the headlights will be corrected if necessary.
  • Checking that the car can be locked, unlocked and started using the key or key fob.
  • Checking the car’s coolant, engine oil and washer fluids levels are correct, and topping them up if necessary.
  • Making sure safety features such as the seat belts and the dashboard warning lights are working as intended.
  • Inspecting the car for damage, and cleaning the car inside and out before it’s ready to be collected by the customer.

As part of these PDI checks, all of the equipment fitted to the car to protect it during transit (such as the bodywork wrapping and the suspension blocks that stop the car bouncing around while it’s being transported) will be removed.

A portion of the checks will involve your vehicle having a quick shakedown drive on the road. This is one of the reasons why your new car will already have some miles on the clock when you collect it.

While the distance covered varies depending on the manufacturer, the driving portion of the PDI is there for learning if the car behaves like it should on the open road and checking there are no issues. The dealer will need to make sure that the steering doesn’t vibrate or pull to one side. This can be caused by incorrect wheel alignment or wheel balancing. They will also need to make sure that the anti-lock braking system is working.

How long does a pre-delivery inspection take?

PDI times will vary depending on how thorough and comprehensive the checks are. As a general rule of thumb, an inspection will generally take between one and two hours to complete. 

Why is a PDI important

Having a pre-delivery inspection is important because it ensures that you car is ready to be driven before you collect it. The car will also be stripped of all of its shipping material and suspension blocks, as well as making sure there aren’t any paint defects or damage that needs attention.

Will the PDI check impact the delivery date of my car?

The pre-delivery inspection should be factored in to the lead time of your car, so it shouldn’t make a difference to the delivery date. This is especially the case if the PDI is carried out at the dealership, as it only takes a couple of hours to complete.

The only situation where your delivery could be delayed is if the PDI uncovers a fault with your car. The length of the delay will depend on what the issue is and how long it takes to fix.

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