You might have heard of a PDI by seeing the cost of it being tallied up with all the other charges you had when buying a new car (even if it’s just new to you). Or maybe you just heard of them being done by the wiser car buyers in the group. Whatever the case may be, there’s a method behind all the madness, and it’s for good reason too.
Those who are wise will get a copy of the pre-delivery inspection report immediately before going all-in when it comes to buying a vehicle. They’re straightforward for the most part unless it’s a dealer who’s intentionally trying to confuse you. It covers the basic operational elements that are critical to the smooth operation of sedans, and it’s something you should take the time to double-check.
There’s a little more to it than just taking it for a nice test drive but not much more. Some of the aspects are often overlooked because they seem so basic. So, in order to help you make one of the smartest car buys of your life, we’re going to take you into a deeper look.
The Problem with Pre-Delivery Inspections Done by the Car Lot
Oftentimes, a car could be sitting on the lot forever before it really grabs the attention of the one who’s going to end up taking it home. If it goes sitting for too long, the original inspection may not be doing you any justice.
Most of the time, car dealers will perform another one to give you the justification that you need. This isn’t done every time though, as there are dealers out there who don’t want to pay for the additional cost. You also can’t take anyone’s word for granted, especially that of a car salesman just trying to fatten his next commission check as much as possible. No pun intended.
It’s just more reason to double-check their work. And make sure that the deal you’re getting is truly fair and not just one that will make you the next victim of a non-valuable buy.
The Elements of a Thorough Sedan Inspection
You could hire a mechanic of your own choosing for a couple of hundred bucks to do a comprehensive inspection, or you could just do your own inspection. If you want to go about the DIY approach, here are some of the key aspects that you should be looking into. These are the main parts that you may want to consider some of the other aspects as well depending on your specific vehicle needs.
- Are all the belts and hoses maintained?
This is where you can tell whether a car has been maintained or just thrown up for sale without any thought whatsoever. Look to make sure the hoses and belts aren’t worn or damaged. You don’t want to expose your new ride to further damage because something simple was ignored.
- Check out the fluids for telltale signs.
The brake fluid, coolant, oil, and transmission fluid are what you’ll need to check. Look to make sure they have the right colour and consistency, without any metal shavings being present. Then take a sniff to see what each one smells like. If you smell something burnt or that doesn’t smell normal for the fluid that you’re checking, there might be some big issues you don’t want.
- Dig into the radiator for answers.
The coolant will tell you a lot, and you’ll want to make sure the radiator itself doesn’t have any fluid on the exterior of it where it doesn’t belong. Pay close attention to all of the hoses and fittings, you’ll quickly see if routine maintenance has been embraced or ignored.
- How does it look?
Look on the body for any signs of accidents, damaged paint, rust, or any other type of damage that has occurred over the sedan’s lifespan. Also, keep your eye open for any damage to the frame as this would require a major repair if it’s even possible to fix it.
- How does it drive?
During a PDI, mechanics take the car for a spin to emulate regular driving conditions. A simple test drive will reveal how it feels behind the wheel as well as give you the chance to spot any potential problems before signing on the dotted line. It’s also best to listen carefully, as whines and other odd noises coming from the car may mean more headaches to come.
- What’s the inside look like?
If it’s filthy, you might want to consider either bartering on the price or going a whole other route entirely. Look for cigarette burns, stains, and any other visible signs of extended wear that’s not normal for the car’s age. Just make sure things are to your liking before committing to any type of vehicle purchase. You’ll be thanking yourself later.
- What’re things smell like?
If you smell something burning from under the hood, odds are that there are some underlying issues that need to be dealt with. Also, if the exhaust smells funny, that’s another sign.
If things don’t smell foul on the outside, pay close attention to the inside next. You don’t want a smell that you can’t get rid of after you drive the car home. If things don’t smell right, it might be best to pursue your next option unless the seller will get things taken care of properly.