It is vital that you test drive a car whether you are buying a new car or a pre-owned car. During a test drive, you will be able to evaluate the comfort and drivability of the car, which will help you to decide if you should buy it.
Here are our top tips to test drive a car.
Getting Ready for a Test Drive
Before you arrange a test drive, you need to do your research and find out as much as you can about the cars you would like to test drive. This will give you an idea of what to expect from the cars and if the test drive lives up to these expectations.
Make a note of the things that you would like from your next car and compare your list to the car you will be test driving.
If possible arrange multiple test drives in one day so that you can compare them and take note of any differences.
What to Look for Before You Test Drive
You will need to inspect the car before you test drive it. Here are some things that you should look for.
1. Decide if you like the style of the car
2. Check if the seams between the body panels and doors are even.
3. Ensure that the paintwork is smooth and bright.
4. Open the doors and windows and make sure these all work.
5. Check out the boot and make sure it offers the space you need and that all extras like a spare wheel, car jack, spanner set etc are all there.
6. Check the seat adjustment for the driver, pedals, controls etc and make sure you like where they are placed and if the seats are comfortable. Plus look at the visibility from the driver’s seat to make sure you can see clearly in all directions.
7. Ensure that all the safety belts are working correctly and there is enough space in the back for passengers.
8. Go under the hood and check the oil dipstick, battery and fluid filler caps are easy to get to.
Now It’s Time to Get Behind the Wheel
Once, you are ready to get behind the wheel for the test drive, here are some things that you should look for.
The first thing you will do is start the car, so listen out for any strange noises when you start the car. Listen to the engine and ensure it sounds like it is running smoothly.
Whist driving, take note of the comfortability factor and if the ride is smooth. Ensure that the gears shift smoothly, that the car’s acceleration is sufficient, check the brakes and that these are working without any weird noises, if the steering wheel responds to movement and there are no noises, the handling is smooth and whether the ride is quiet, meaning you can’t hear wind noises, rattles etc.
It is a good idea to have a family member or friend go with you on the test drive so they can also listen and feel the car. You will get another opinion too and they may notice something you didn’t.
Once, you have completed the test drive take some time to think things over and make a pros and cons lists for each car you test drive. If you are still not sure then go for another test drive.
You should never skip a test drive as it is an important aspect of the buying process. Also, don’t settle. Try and find a new or pre-owned car that meets your needs and your budget.