How To Test Drive A Car

When you are looking to buy a new car, whether that vehicle is brand new or used but new to you, taking it for a test drive is an important part of your decision-making process. It is not just a formality that you can overlook simply because you like the look of the car (inside and out) and it falls within your budget. The test drive can either cement your want for the car, or it can show you that it’s not actually as great as you thought it was. Knowing this is all-important because you don’t want to spend a lot of money on a vehicle only to discover that it is a terrible thing to drive around in.

Here are some ideas of what to look for when you take the car out for a test drive so that you make a good purchase rather than one you will live to regret. Remember, as the buyer, you are always the one in control, so if you don’t like a car after you have driven it, don’t be afraid to say no thanks and walk away.


The size of a car can be deceptive; it may look large from the outside, but when you come to sit in the driver’s seat, it may not be big enough due to lots of dials and a large console. Or you may find that you can’t move the seat where you need it to be in order to drive comfortably and safely.

You also need to remember that it’s not just your comfort that you need to think about. How many other people are regularly going to be in the car with you? If it’s a family car, for example, how many children are you going to want to fit in it? If possible, take them along with you on your test drive and speak to them afterward about whether or not they were comfortable.

If you also need to take strollers, bags of shopping, golf clubs, or equipment for work in the car, is that all are going to fit too? The trunk needs to be tested so that you know how big it really is and what you can fit inside. There is no point in purchasing a car, perhaps even paying the deposit on your credit card, if it just isn’t going to be any good. Using this method to pay for your deposit can be worthwhile, though, as you will always have legal comeback – learn more about obtaining credit even if you have a bad score.

Is It Working?

Any car that you buy from a dealer will have – hopefully – gone through a series of inspections and checks before it is made available to the public. Any damage that might have occurred during transit and any faults within the car itself should have been fixed before anyone goes in to buy it. However, faults can occur at any time, especially with a used car, and this is something else to look out for when taking a test drive.

Although you may not be a mechanic or any kind of expert when it comes to a car and its engine, you will be able to hear any strange noises that might indicate a problem. You will be able to see if the lights are all working, and the windshield wipers. What about the windows and the air conditioning and heating? You can feel how well the car drives and whether it stays on track or veers off. How does the stick feel when you move it? Is it smooth or does it jolt and snag? If you drive the car as you normally would, ideally on a route that you know so that you can really concentrate on the car itself, you will soon discover what feels right and what doesn’t.

The Interior

A test drive is not just about looking at the mechanics and feeling how the car drives. Checking out the interior is important too, especially when you are buying a used car. Look to see if there are any rips or tears in the seating and whether the carpets are in good condition. There might be scratches that look unsightly that could cause a problem in the future. Is there a strange smell (perhaps of cigarette smoke if the previous owner smoked in the car) that you wouldn’t be able to live with? These are all things to take into account during your test drive. Of course, if you’re buying a second-hand car, you won’t expect it to be perfect, but it should still be reasonable, especially if you are paying a lot for it.

The Exterior

A test drive will, of course, mean that you are focused on the interior of the car, but don’t forget to check out the exterior too. Rust can be a big problem with cars, and so it’s important to check whether you can see any or not, for example. Also look to see if there is any evidence of previous accidents. Although this may not affect the car’s performance, it could cause a problem when trying to finance the vehicle, and your insurance premium may go up as a result.

Don’t Rush

It’s easy to fall in love with a car both before and after driving it. Cars can represent a lifestyle that you are looking to attain, or might even serve as an important rite of passage. You might simply need a new car so finding one you like that fits your lifestyle and your budget, and that you enjoyed driving, could indeed be tempting. However, even if everything does seem to have fallen into place, you shouldn’t rush the transaction. Take some time to think about it. How long will depend on your own feelings; some people might choose to go away and sleep on it – may even take a few days to make a decision – and others might like to go and grab a cup of coffee nearby before returning to the dealer.

The important thing to remember is that this is a big decision, and no matter what car you are buying, it is going to cost you a reasonable sum of money. This is why it is important to make a level-headed decision and not be swayed by your emotions; stepping away from the car will help you do that.

~ by velofinds on June 1, 2018.

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