Pre-delivery Inspection (PDI) Checklists

Avoid major recall issues with a digital pre-delivery inspection checklist app

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Published December 9th, 2020

What is PDI?

PDI (or Pre-delivery Inspection) ensures that a newly bought vehicle is ready for the road and safe to drive before handing it over to the customer. It is usually performed at the dealership, where inspectors check every aspect of the vehicle such as the fuel and exhaust system, engine compartment, and electrical controls. PDIs also include a road test to ensure general steering and handling, transmission, and brake operation are in good working condition.

This article features the following:

What is a PDI Checklist?

A PDI checklist is used by vehicle inspectors to assess vehicles’ operating conditions and compliance with safety regulatory standards before selling to customers. Using a PDI checklist can help lessen vehicles that come back to the dealership with problems, prevent costly recalls, and gain a high reputation of consistent quality for the dealership.

Risks of Inefficient Pre-delivery Inspections

Striking the right balance between efficiency and satisfactory work has been a challenge in doing pre-delivery inspections. Vehicle inspectors either waste too much time and energy using paper-based PDI checklists or conduct pre-delivery inspections based on fallible human memory. Here are risks that dealers expose themselves to when they perform inefficient PDIs:

Recurring Issues

Technicians might miss common issues that should have been detected during an effective pre-delivery inspection. Defective vehicles returned to the dealership entail repairs or modifications that could have been accomplished prior to delivery and spending costly man-hours of duplicated work.

Missed Delivery Commitments

Dealers inevitably struggle with delays in the delivery schedule as sold vehicles in the service bay increase. Expect low customer satisfaction when business processes such as customer service and logistics slow down due to inefficient inspections.

Automotive Recalls

At least 24 people have died and hundreds more have been injured because of airbag inflators that hurl shrapnel into drivers and passengers. Automakers have recalled 50.36 million inflators and replaced 27.2 million of them as part of the largest series of automotive recalls in U.S. history, involving as many as 70 million to be recalled by the end of 2020. Pre-delivery inspections can help find major recall issues before a single unit is sold or delivered.

Basic PDI Car Checks

Pre-delivery inspection is a crucial task because it helps secure the safety of your customers. It is performed to prevent car manufacturing product recalls and accidents due to factory defects or damage. The following are the basic checks performed during the pre-delivery inspection of a light vehicle.

Engine Compartment

  • The engine should not produce any growling sounds
  • All fluids such as washer, coolant, brake, power steering, transmission, and oil are free from leaks and at their normal levels
  • Hood latch should be lubricated to ensure smooth operation
  • The battery is tested and fully operational


  • There are no visual defects such as tears or holes on hoses, electrical lines, exhaust systems, and suspension components
  • Brakes should be tested and checked for damage indicators such as brake lights on, squeaking noises, vibration, and soft brake pedal


  • The steering wheel should be aligned
  • Locks, latches, and hinges are lubricated and functional
  • Fuses are installed for electronic accessories
  • No evident damage on car seats
  • Seat belt, wheel covers, wheel locks, and airbags are installed properly


  • All lighting should be checked if operational
  • Headlights are aligned
  • Tire pressure is set to manufacturer-suggested specifications, including the spare tires
  • All mirrors should be fixed and clear
  • Windshield wipers and washer fluid level are examined
  • Paint condition and emblems are damage free

PDI also includes checking of owner’s manual, service passport, warranty booklet, and guides before handing vehicle over to customers. It is also necessary to perform the recommended 10-kilometer road test both on city roads and the highway to check overall car performance.

iAuditor PDI Checklist App

iAuditor by SafetyCulture, a mobile-ready inspection checklist app, can help efficiently perform pre-delivery inspections, meet delivery commitments, and prevent major recall issues. With iAuditor, you can:

  • Perform pre-delivery inspections offline or online
  • Capture and store unlimited photos of vehicles
  • Schedule regular pre-delivery inspections
  • Assign corrective actions for failed items
  • Automatically generate and share PDI reports
  • Gain actionable insights from recurring issues

To help you get started, here are 3 of the best pre-delivery inspection checklists you can download and customize for free.


Shine Colcol

SafetyCulture Staff Writer

Shine has been professionally writing about virtually anything since her internship for a digital publisher of niche blogazines. She is passionate about building a culture of continuous improvement in the environmental, health, safety, and quality space through well-researched, engaging, and impactful content.