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As many 124 Spider owners (as well as Mazda MX-5 owners) have later realized, many dealers* seem to be skipping just about everything on their pre-delivery checklists, other than removing the obvious plastic protection wrap from the seats and body.
Be aware of the following items that are supposed to be addressed during dealer pre-delivery…
Wheels are shipped to the Mazda factory with the tires already installed and are inflated to the maximum rated pressure, which is 51 psi. This helps the tire sealing surface to mate with the wheel rim properly and it helps keep the tire true (minimize “flat spotting”), especially as the cars are chained down to the decks for the long boat ride overseas.
The dealer is supposed to deflate the pressure to around 29 psi as part of their pre-delivery tasks, and customers going for test rides hopefully aren’t driving vehicles that still have 51 psi in the tires, as this will have a very negative effect on the expected ride quality.
If you have a tire pressure gauge, it is easy to deal with over-inflated tires as many gauges have a small nub built-in designed to depress the valve stem and allow excess air to escape.
And if they haven’t deflated the tires, then they also didn’t reset the TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System), so you can expect that (loud) alarm to sound within a couple hundred miles. Here’s the procedure for doing that, after you’ve verified that the (cold) tire pressure is set to the B-pillar placard pressure (29 psi) on all four tires (note that this only applies to the Classica & Lusso; the Abarth should reset itself).
Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS):
Classica & Lusso uses ABS algorithms; no actual wheel sensors
Reset TPMS system:
Hold TPMS button until beep, and lamp has flashed twice
If your vehicle came with the Navigation option, the dealer should have installed the SD card, but most buyers are finding the packaging in the either the armrest cubby, or the cubby between the seats in the rear bulkhead (that’s our “glove box”) after they arrive home, wondering why their Infotainment system informed them that “your 124 Spider is not equipped with Navigation”. The 4″ x 6″ ziplock bag containing the SD card in yet another smaller ziplock bag, will be labelled “NAVTEQ MAPS” and may also have the Mopar Part # 68366118AA label attached. You’ll find instructions on how to install the SD card here.
Another clue that the dealers aren’t following instructions is when you find a bag (as shown below) containing two chassis plugs in your glove box or trunk…
Installing these plugs are also part of pre-delivery. They aren’t installed at the factory, because I’m told that the holes serve as both production line fixture locators in the factory, as well as vehicle tie-down locations during transport. The latter seems questionable. since photos I’ve seen of the vehicles being prepped to be driven off of the transport boat show them tied down to the deck via the front and rear tow-eye bolts.
Your vehicle does not need to be raised off of the ground to install the plugs. By using a mirror along the under-body in the vicinity under the B-pillars (rear of the door opening), and using this photo as a guide, you should be able to find the two oblong holes that these plugs are intended for.
Removing the front and rear tie-down hooks from the grille and rear fascia access locations seems to be carried out pretty consistently.
If you find a package that looks like this (shown below) in one of your storage compartments, it is to be snapped into the access hole in the the front grille for the front tie-down hook, which is usually placed in your trunk near the tire service kit, in case you wish to use it as a tow-hook (perhaps to a flatbed tow-truck driver to facilitate winching your vehicle onto the truck) or a tie-down hook. I don’t know what happens to the rear hooks (which are shorter), but it is usually not needed by the consumer anyways, since the front hook fits either location. I’m guessing they are recycled, and this is probably why they tend not to end up in the vehicles by the time customers get them.
* Based on what I’m reading in the forums (which may in-fact be exaggerated, since positive experiences may be less likely to get reported) and based on my personal experience.
The only pre-delivery task (of those mentioned in this article) that my dealer performed, was deflating the tires (they put green valve cover caps on to indicate that they then re-inflated the tires with Nitrogen @ 29 psi), which I presume they planned on charging the purchaser for, as a dealer add-on whenever they can get away with it. Unless you are driving a Formula One race car, don’t fall for this one! Here’s a sticker from someone else that was purchasing a 124 Spider Lusso from a questionable dealer (they got it waived)…
As another Spider forum member stated…
“Anyone who pays $299 to have 100% nitrogen in their tires (as opposed to 78% nitrogen which is normal in atmospheric air), has rocks in their head. It’s the most ridiculous scam I’ve ever come across.”
There are other potentially bothersome items that your “knowledgeable” salesperson could have shared with you, some of which aren’t even addressed in the owner’s manual either:
- The forward viewing obstruction caused by the rear-view mirror in it’s factory installed position, especially if you are a taller individual. The Homelink mirror is even larger making the blind spot even worse. It may not occur to you get the mirror out of your forward line-of-sight by pushing the mirror all the way up at the pivot point closest to the windshield (which most people don’t realize exists) until the top of it touches the header, and then adjusting the swivel at the other oft-used pivot point (which the ladies are constantly adjusting as they check their makeup) for proper viewing behind your vehicle (it is also very helpful in viewing rearward over the top of the wind deflector rather than through it). Ohhhh, what a difference that makes!
- The passenger power window may be inoperable from both the driver’s and passenger’s switches. The likely cause of this is that the power window lock switch has probably been enabled (it will be in the slightly depressed position) – probably accidentally. This tip has saved more than one reader a wasted trip to their dealer. Read more about this (and how to initialize the windows for the auto-down function) here.
Two other windows items to note: you’ll have about 40 seconds to operate your windows after shutting down your vehicle, before the switches are disabled – as long as neither door has been opened. Also, get in the habit of not starting the vehicle as the door is being closed, as that will interrupt the auto-close function of the window.
- There is an actual (emergency) key hidden in your fob(s) that will open/lock your driver door and the storage cubby. I’ll bet the dealer doesn’t show you that (or how to release it using the button on the rear side) though…
- After turning your car off, you may hear a humming sound and wonder what that is. An electric pump insures proper cool-down of the turbo bearings by circulating coolant through it after the engine is stopped, and it usually shuts itself off within 10 minutes.
- Insure that the radio antenna is screwed in tightly as good static-free radio reception depends on it, plus you don’t want it working loose and falling off. Read more regarding the antenna here.
- Disabling the auto-dim feature of your gauges and Infotainment screen by dialing the brightness control knob to the maximum bright (clockwise) position, which will allow you to see the screen during the daytime when your lights are on. More on that in my new dedicated article regarding this subject.
- There is a stirrup to hold your gasoline cap while refueling that keeps it from swinging in the wind and possibly marring your paint.
- Speaking of the fuel door, because of the AKE walk-away feature being on by default, the doors may lock themselves as you exit the vehicle to refuel, and that will prevent you from opening your fuel door as that locks at the same time your doors lock.
- There is an access panel behind which is a “hidden” soft-sided storage compartment behind each seat back, one of which is perfect for storing the cup holder(s) when not in use.
- There is a capped 12 volt accessory outlet incorporated into the HVAC fan housing that merits an illustration in the owner’s manual, because the description that Fiat’s professional technical writers have provided will not help you locate it. HINT: You will find it hiding above the top edge of the floor carpeting. It is tied into the ignition switch, so devices plugged into the outlet will turn off when the ignition is turned off. In LHD vehicles it is located above the passenger’s left foot rest and looks like ⇓. In RHD vehicles, it is the inverse in appearance and you’ll find it located above the passenger’s right foot rest.
- When using a cordless drill to attach the rear license plate, dealers need to open the trunk to prevent the chuck from rubbing the paint off of the decklid’s bottom edge, as some customers have later discovered. I also think they are supposed to drill proper-size pilot holes prior to driving in those two large screws, but it is very evident on my car when I later removed the plate to install my own frame, that they just rammed the screws into the fascia (at least they installed the plate level though).
- There are some personalization options that you’ll need to get familiar with, so that the door locks, headlights and all of the electronic upgrade options will behave to your liking.