It's usually a very happy time when you take delivery of that shiny new addition to your garage. But nothing should be taken for granted, especially considering the number of zeroes involved in new car purchase transactions these days.
That's why we got our heads together and put down a checklist for you for when the time comes to pick up your new car. There are a few things you can do yourself to safeguard against potential hiccups for what should be a smooth and pleasant process. After all, you've earned it! Let's take a look.
1. Check the car body for chips, small scratches and the consistency of the paint.
This will rarely happen, but you might be the exception, so take the trouble to do these checks because it will be expensive to repair these problems later.
2. Check tyres for cuts or damage.
Tyres are possibly the most important components in your car since they is the only medium between the car and the road. They're also expensive to replace later, so make sure the tyres (including the spare) are brand new and unscathed.
3. Check headlamps lenses, fog lamps, and tail lights for cracks or scuff marks.
Sometimes cars are left out in the storage yard for a long time where fine dust tends to settle. While this is being cleaned away, there could be the possibility of fine scratches or marks forming on the lenses. Again, you will be very unlucky if this happens, but no harm checking, right?
4. Make sure all accessories promised during the sale negotiations are present and in functioning order.
You should keep track of all the promised accessories for your car if you did indeed negotiate a deal with the dealer, and make sure all these have been delivered as earlier agreed upon.
5. Check that the seatbelts click into place easily, in both the front and the rear seats.
Seatbelts are the most basic safety feature, so check that they are functioning effectively. Also, give the belt a jerk, and see that it bites.
6. Check child safety locks
Make sure the child locks on the rear doors are working. Push the pin into the ‘lock' position and check that the door can only be opened from outside. Make sure the doors are openable from both inside and outside in the 'unlock' position too.
7. Make sure the spare wheel, jack and tool kit are present
This is very important! Without these three essentials, you could be marooned in the middle of nowhere and get quite badly er, jacked...
8. Check that you have floor mats
Floor mats are important to keep dirt off the interior carpeting. So make sure you have these installed even if it is a paid option.
9. Make sure the variant of the car delivered is what you booked for
Might sound silly, but with so many variants of cars available nowadays, mistakes could happen. Check that all the features promised to you are present in the car delivered to you.
10. Check functioning of wipers, air conditioning, headlights, stereo, etc.
The bare necessities need to be working, and working well. Insist on replacement wipers for example, if they leave water lines on the windscreen. This might happen with lower-end cars.
11. Get the person assisting you to explain the working of all the controls
We rarely read owner's manuals, so don't wait to learn the controls—indicators, wash wipe, radio, etc.— yourselves. Since cars nowadays come with so many features, each with different placement and working, it's helpful to get the sales person to explain how to work each and every important feature. You don't need to go six months before you figure out how to change the time on the clock.
12. Check that sat-nav (if your car has it) is functioning
In our rapidly developing towns and cities, new roads spring up and one-way laws change practically everyday, so sat-nav has become a vital tool, that needs to be working effectively. Check that the maps are up to date, go prepared with a distant test location in your mind, key it in, and see that it pops up on the sat nav.
13. Check engine oil and coolant levels.
Have one of the engineers or the person assisting you to show you that the engine oil and coolant are at recommended levels.
15. Check that all paperwork is present
We're talking about the invoice, Form 22, owner's manual, temporary registration/acknowledgement slip from RTO, etc. Road laws are becoming increasingly strict in the country, so make sure all your paperwork is present and delivered to you. You should check the Form 22 before registration to see the engine and chassis number of the car, as well as the date of the car's production (on the Road Worthiness certificate, a part of Form 22), to get an idea of when the car was manufactured and how long it has been in storage.
16. Check the odometer—see that the car hasn’t run an excessive distance before delivery
You have paid hard earned money for your gleaming new ride, so make a noise if you feel there are too many kilometres on the odometer. Try and make sure in the beginning that you need your car with around 50 kilometres (tops) on the clock, unless the dealer specifies that your car would need to be driven from a further distance away.
17. Insist on collecting your car during the day
This is very important, because only in the day will you be able to spot any inconsistencies in paint lustre, small scratches, and even minor dents that would otherwise be invisible in the night. Also, dashboard discolouration, upholstery issues, and panel fit and finish can be thoroughly checked in daylight.
18. Insist on car replacement if you discover major problems
Once the car goes for registration you're stuck with it. So make sure you let your dealer know about any problems you may have found with the car, and don't take delivery unless you're 100 percent satisfied with it.