Pre-delivery Inspection (PDI) Checklists & PDF Reports

Avoid major recall issues with digital pre-delivery inspection checklists and templates

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What is PDI?

Pre-delivery Inspection (PDI) is the final check car dealers perform to ensure that a newly bought vehicle is ready for the road and safe to drive before handing it over to the customer. It is usually conducted at the dealership, where inspectors examine 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.

What is a PDI Checklist?

A PDI checklist is a tool 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 proactively repair identified issues, 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 PDI inspection:

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.

Jona Tarlengco
Article by
Jona Tarlengco
Jona Tarlengco is a content writer and researcher for SafetyCulture since 2018. She usually writes about safety and quality topics, contributing to the creation of well-researched articles. Her years of experience in one of the world’s leading business news organisations helps enrich the quality of the information in her work.

Explore more templates

PDI Report Checklist
A PDI Report Checklist aims to properly record the performance of a pre-delivery inspection on a newly-bought vehicle. Use this customizable PDI report checklist to easily complete the test drive, delivery, and documentation, and automatically generate and share a PDI report. All data is stored and secured in the cloud for dealers or vehicle inspectors to access PDI reports anytime, anywhere and on any iOS, Android, or Windows mobile device.
Bonus! PDI Checklist for Builders
A PDI checklist can be used in the real estate industry for builders and buyers to verify the condition of a newly-built home or condominium unit before moving in. A representative of the builder and the purchaser can easily inspect the exterior, interior, and operating systems with this easy-to-use PDI checklist. Take photos of any item that is damaged, incomplete, missing or not operating properly to immediately rectify these conditions that existed prior to occupancy.