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What Is Automotive Pre-Delivery Inspection?

What's in this article?
  1. Pre-Delivery Inspection Checklist
  2. Interior
  3. Exterior
  4. Underside
  5. Engine Compartment
  6. Road Test
  7. Inspection Report
  8. The Importance Of Pre-Delivery Inspections
  9. Need A Car Delivery Service?
What Is Automotive Pre-Delivery Inspection?

Buying a new vehicle is exciting.

However, some necessary steps must be taken before your vehicle is delivered, such as inspecting your new car.

This pre-delivery inspection (PDI) ensures that the vehicle has not been damaged during transport from the manufacturer to the dealership. It also allows the dealer to confirm the vehicle is safe to sell.

But what exactly does a pre-delivery auto inspection include? And why should you care?

In this article, we'll answer these questions and explain everything you need to know about automotive pre-delivery inspections.

Pre-Delivery Inspection Checklist

During a pre-delivery inspection checklist, the car is inspected for flaws, defects, and compliance with legal requirements.

A pre-delivery inspection can save money and prevent headaches down the road if done correctly.

To ensure nothing is overlooked, the inspector will review a checklist as they go through the inspection.

Inspectors will then discuss the PDI checklist during delivery, and you will then be asked to sign a document confirming the inspection.

During the inspection, an inspector will check the following components.


  • Ensures break and gas pedals operate correctly
  • Wheel alignment check
  • Ensures fuses are installed for electronic processes
  • Ensures all electronic functions work correctly (audio, Bluetooth, navigation, etc.)
  • Ensures latches, locks, and hinges are lubricated
  • Ensures radio station and clock pre-sets are adjusted


  • Look for dents, scratches, rust, or loose trim
  • Checks paint condition, bumper, moldings, weatherstripping, etc. for any flaws
  • Examine the windshield for cracks
  • Examines windshield wipers and windshield washer fluid level
  • Ensure headlights, tail lights, brake lights, and fog lights turn on and are correctly aimed
  • Make sure the tire pressure is set according to the manufacturer's recommendations


  • Checks hoses, lines, exhaust system, and suspension
  • Brakes are serviced
  • Vehicles with all-wheel drive have their corresponding oils examined

Engine compartment

  • All fluids are topped up (transmission, power steering, coolant, brakes, and oil)
  • The hood latch is lubricated
  • Checks battery to ensure it's fully charged
  • Checks for abnormal noises or visual defects

Road test

During the road test, your car will be driven between 5-15 miles on city and highway roads. The inspector will listen and feel for any abnormalities in the following components:

  • Engine
  • Transmission
  • Clutch
  • Breaks
  • Lane departure warning
  • Wheel alignment

Lastly, the diagnostic error codes are checked on the computer.

Inspection report

After the inspection, the inspector will write a comprehensive report of their findings. The buyer and the salesperson will both receive this report to sign.

The report will indicate whether or not the vehicle passed the inspection. If problems are discovered, the report will detail the issues and how they were fixed.

The Importance of Pre-Delivery Inspections

Pre-delivery inspections (PDIs) are essential because they ensure that the vehicle being sold meets all applicable safety standards. They're also required by law.

If a defect is found, the manufacturer usually requires repairs to be made before the vehicle is delivered to the dealership or buyer. This ensures that the vehicle being delivered is appropriately functioning.

Whether or not state laws mandate PDIs, they're still important because they help prevent warranty claims and improve customer satisfaction.


Need a Car Delivery Service?

If you purchased a vehicle out of state, A1 Auto Transport can save the trip and ship the car straight to your door.

Our auto shipping services include pickup and delivery, insurance coverage, and door-to-door services.

Contact us today for more information about our auto transport services.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take for a pre-delivery inspection to be done?

Why should I get a PDI for my car?

I'm purchasing a used car. Can I still get an inspection before buying the car?

How much does an inspection cost?

Where can I get an inspection done?

When should I get an inspection?

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Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing. 

After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood. 

With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.

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A-1 Auto Transport is a disclosed agent for the following shipping companies:

Trans Global Auto Logistics, Inc.
3401 E Randol Mill Rd
Arlington, TX 76011
NO. 018191NF
CFR Rinkens
15501 Texaco Avenue
Paramount, CA 90723
NO. 013055NF
ABC Worldwide LLC
2840 NW 2nd Ave #105
Boca Raton, FL 33431
NO. 025472F
CSI Logistics
435 Division Street
Elizabeth, NJ 07201
FMC 22206
Intl Cargo
45 Campus drive
Edison, NJ 08837
NO. 17858N
ShipYourCarNow LLC
1160 South Rogers Circle Suite 1
Boca Raton, FL 33487
NO. 025646
Merco Air & Ocean Cargo, Inc.
6 Fir Way
Cooper City, FL 33026
NO. 021869F
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