Taking Delivery

6 Steps to Follow When Taking Delivery of Your New Car

Taking delivery of a brand-new car should be a happy and memorable experience. With a little planning and organization, it will be. While it’s easy to get lost in the moment of being handed the keys to your new set of wheels, you should take care that everything is in order. Don’t consider the car-buying process over until you’ve checked out the vehicle and are completely satisfied with its condition.

6 Steps to Follow When Taking Delivery of Your New Car

Ensure your purchase goes smoothly—check out the tips that our experts recommend you follow when taking delivery of your new car.

Take your time and go over everything thoroughly, both inside and out. If you find any problems, they should be fixed before you take delivery or, if they’re minor enough for you to wait, you should set a firm date for the dealership to fix them.

You need to be meticulous, especially in the pre-delivery inspection. You may be bringing home a car with issues for which you can’t hold the dealer responsible.

What Is a Pre-Delivery Inspection (PDI)?

A pre-delivery inspection (PDI) is the final and comprehensive check of a car performed by both the dealership and the buyer to make sure that the vehicle is ready and safe to be driven.

A PDI usually takes about an hour or two and involves a rigid and comprehensive checklist. As a buyer, you should check for defects such as dents and cracks on finished surfaces.

This car-buying delivery process helps ensure that the car is in top operating condition, whether it is brand new or pre-owned. Inefficient PDIs may increase the risk of returning defective vehicles to the dealership. PDIs can help find major recall issues before a single unit is delivered. Another risk in failing to carry out a PDI is a delayed delivery schedule, leading to lower customer satisfaction.

Below are a few steps to ensure that your new car is ready for miles and miles of safe driving.

1. Pre-Delivery Documents and Paperwork

The process of purchasing a car, from looking at options on the showroom floor to taking delivery, is a long one. Before a car is delivered, all necessary documents should be prepared by the buyer and the dealership’s finance and insurance office. To ensure that your vehicle will be delivered by the target date, complete all the requirements.

Below is a list of some pre-delivery documents that should be prepared and filed:

  • Car details, including model, sub-model, make, chassis number, and so on.
  • Invoice for the car
  • Owner’s manual and service booklet
  • Government certificates (including pollution under control)
  • Payment receipts, including payments for accessories, taxes, and so on.
  • Insurance details
  • Vehicle Registration Number or VIN code
  • Warranty papers (with stamps) for car and all accessories with warranties, such as batteries, tires, sensors, and so on
  • Roadside assistance policy

2. Conduct a Physical Inspection

Do a thorough visual inspection using a circle check of the car before driving it. Take note of your manufacturer’s guide to help customize your inspection. If you see something, mention it immediately to the employee, dealer, or person responsible for vehicle maintenance.

Bring a camera, flashlight, screwdrivers (flat and Phillips heads), pen and paper, tape measure, tire pressure gauge, and delivery invoice on the day of your physical inspection.


Start the engine and check for any unusual banging or growling sounds. The coolant, engine oil, brake fluid, and windshield washer fluid reservoirs should all be full and free of leaks. The battery should be tested to ensure that it is fully operational.


Watch out for visual defects such as tears or holes on electrical lines, exhaust systems, and suspension components. In addition, brake indicators should be checked, tested, and serviced for unusual sounds and vibrations. Oils associated with all-wheel drive vehicles should also be checked.


Look for tangled wires, damaged parts, signs of oil spills, and misplaced, cut, or reassembled wires. Turn on the lights, wipers, audio system, and power windows. The remote locks and air conditioning should work. Test the horn to ensure that it is operating properly. Carry a flash drive or CDs and check the ports that you can use for the music system. In addition, test the control buttons, speakers, and all other audio accessories.


Observe the car in adequate daylight. Watch for dents, marks, or discolorations. Cars may suffer damage in transit from the manufacturer to the dealer. In addition, the spare tire should be new. Tire pressure in all tires (including the spare) must be set to manufacturer-recommended specifications.

The windows, doors, hood, and trunk lid should open and close completely. All lighting should be fully functional. In addition, mirrors should be clear and in alignment. Inform the dealer right away of any scratches or issues that you see.

Baggage Compartments

Confirm all keys, as appropriate. Hinges should be secure and tight. For some vehicles, gas cylinders used to keep doors open should be properly installed. For clamp-type doors, ensure that the clamps will hold the door safely and correctly.


Get inside the car and scrutinize the interiors. Check for stains, cracks, and scratches in the upholstery, dashboard, and seats. Look underneath the floor mats and check for any moisture. If you do see moisture, the car may have moulds that could affect its resale value.

The steering wheel should also be aligned. Airbags, seat belts, wheel covers, and locks should be properly installed. Don’t forget to pre-set the clocks and radio stations.

3. Take it for a Test Drive Before Taking Delivery

When you schedule your test drive, call the dealer to request that the car not be warmed up; some issues are only evident at start-up (unwanted rattle, visible smoke from tailpipes). Some dealers may want to conceal certain issues and pre-warm the car ahead of your arrival. Watch out for heavy banging that either disappears or continues when the engine runs. Before you drive, remove all items that could cause a banging or clanking sound.

Use Google Maps to test drive your car down the roughest nearby road. You can also bring your smartphone and other media devices to check that they will charge well in your vehicle. Check the engine oil and transmission fluid. You can consult the manufacturer’s or owner’s manual on how to check for fluid levels.

If you’re not an expert, it’s best to bring a car technician for a proper inspection. A car technician can immediately spot visible signs of moisture, rust, mildew, or other issues. Rust or mould may ruin a vehicle’s resale value. An expert usually looks under a vehicle’s trunk and lifts everything that can easily be lifted, like a cargo floor panel or spare tire. Sit down behind the driver’s seat. This will determine how much space your rear seat occupants will have.

Inspect the car by test driving the vehicle for the recommended 10 kilometres on all kinds of roads. Pay attention to the engine, clutch, brakes, steering, lane departure warning, air suspension, cruise control, and transmission. Consider how easy or difficult it is to pull or control the steering wheel.

Finally, study, confirm, and practice each on-board control such as climate controls, navigation, seat and mirror adjustments, and door locks.

4. Fuel Up and Full Electric Vehicle Charge

With over five thousand public charging stations in Canada, the CAA reports that you can drive an EV from coast to coast. Charging an electric car takes as little as 30 minutes. Ask your dealer if they offer a voucher for gas.

5. Schedule A Full Infotainment Overview

Ask about a full infotainment overview. Some dealerships provide an upgrade in infotainment. When you get an upgrade, you’ll have more features that enhance functionality and entertainment.

6. Sign the Note and Take Delivery!

Now that you’ve conducted a physical inspection, taken test drives, and submitted the paperwork, you just need to sign and take delivery!

“Quality means doing it right when no one is looking.” – Henry Ford

You can’t be too careful. Cars, whether new or used, cost a lot. You do want to double- or even triple-check that you’re bringing home the car that you paid for. Choosing and bringing a car home requires thorough research and careful deliberation. If you’re not an expert, have someone who has been inspecting vehicles over the long term to help you.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can I refuse delivery of a new car?

Depending on the policy where you bought your vehicle, you may refuse delivery of a new car. In Canada, there is no legislated “cooling-off period” when you buy a car. If you’ve refused delivery of a new car (for a valid reason) and your seller has agreed, see if you can recover any deposit you’ve made. In most cases, however, you will not be able to recover your deposit.

How long does it take to take delivery of a new car?

Don’t wait for 20 years for site deliveries. A company like Edmunds takes between three days and two weeks to deliver your new car from completed inspection of paperwork to actual delivery. If your car is manufactured in Europe, it may take about three months to arrive in North America. If you’ve purchased transit services from a dealership to deliver your car, they may be able to provide you with a fixed delivery date.

How much does it cost to have a car delivered?

The average cost to have a car delivered to Canada is between $700 and $2,500 for 300 km to 2,000 km, with the price also depending also on the trailer used. Some buyers prefer auto transport by rail because it’s much cheaper, but it takes more time. Finally, some dealerships may agree to home delivery.

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