Learning how to test drive a car correctly is vital before buying a brand new or used car. It’s even more crucial for a used car, especially if you’re buying through a private arrangement. Just because the car looks polished from the exterior doesn’t guarantee that it’s entirely operational. Appearance can be deceptive, remember?
The only way to ascertain that you’ll be comfortable with the car you’re about to purchase is to test drive it. Are you looking to buy a used car? Not so fast, though.
First, check out the tips we share here on how to test drive and what to look for.
Ask to test drive alone (without the salesperson)
As long as you submit the right documents, i.e., your driver’s license and ID, we see no reason why you shouldn’t be allowed to test drive solo. Besides, it’s also even more recommended during this era of social distancing.
Even so, note that unaccompanied test drives may come with other special guidelines and safety measures depending on the dealership’s terms and conditions. Always ask about this beforehand to know what to expect.
What are your typical driving conditions?
Do you usually get stuck in slow traffic or drive on bumpy or potholed roads on your way to work daily? We recommend you take your test drives in a similar environment to have a feel of how the car drives in those conditions.
The same applies to the weather. Seek to find out how effective the car’s air conditioner and heater are during those hot and cold winter days respectively.
Test your handling and speed
If you’re a regular commuter, try test driving the car in stop-and-go traffic and at freeway speeds. On the other hand, if you often drive on inclined and mountainous roads, consider trying the car on steep grades. While at it, pay attention to the engine’s sound when driving up the slope.
The other trick is driving over bumpy or rocky roads to determine the car’s shock absorbance capacity. Finally, try taking tight corners at abrasive but safe speeds to gauge the car’s stability.
Brake like a pro
Before leaving the dealership for the test drive, ensure that the brakes are steady and functional. You need to know how these life-savers will hold up and how the car will respond to any abrupt slowdowns. So, how do you test the brakes?
If you’re at an empty parking lot or an open field, you can accelerate the car at top speed before giving it a firm brake. Does the brake pedal feel stiff or comfortable? Are you okay with having brakes that catch suddenly, or should they be adjusted a bit? All of these are critical determinants of whether you feel safe in the car or not.
Get in and out of the car several times
A simple way to test the comfort of a car is by getting in and out of it. And this isn’t restricted to the driver’s side only; you should try entering and exiting through the passenger doors too.
The other benefit of doing this is that it allows you to unearth other potential defects the car might have. For example, you can tell whether or not it’s suitable for kids as well as available leg space for taller people.
Check the radio and other electronic features
It’s not easy to drive while at the same time assessing the functionality of the radio and other electronic features of a car. For this step, therefore, we recommend you do a comprehensive evaluation without any distractions and while the vehicle is motionless.
Stopping the car and listening to the engine’s sound for a few minutes will also help you identify if there are any strange noises. In the same vein, avoid playing music while test driving as it will most certainly blur your judgment.
Check for visible defects
Defects such as rusts or leaks should be easy to notice if you view the car in bright daylight. A few areas that are notorious for getting rusts, stains, and leaks include door edges and hinges, under the hood, under the trunk carpet or pad, and the car exterior in general.
If something is not right, you could decide to use this to your advantage to drive the price down or walk away from that deal altogether. Luckily, that won’t be necessary at Motors on Wheels. All our cars undergo a thorough 51-point inspection process to ensure they’re in the best possible condition. We follow the advice in this article for every car we buy.
Trust your instincts
Research has it that, more often than not, your gut instincts are always accurate. If there’s an inner voice telling you that’s not your ideal type of car or the deal is too good to be true, you better believe it. Besides, if you get a feeling of uneasiness about the car or the seller, it’s best to think twice.
Purchasing a vehicle isn’t something you should take lightly. Remember a wrong decision could mean thousands of dollars gone down the drain, or worse, an awful accident. As such, ensure you’re composed and confident when making this big decision.
Get the best car for your needs today!
We’re living in uncertain times of the coronavirus pandemic when every dollar counts and our health matters even more. You don’t want to buy a used car without properly evaluating it, only for it to cost you more in repairs afterward.
Here at Motor on Wheels, we comprehensively inspect our used cars for sale before putting them on the market. If you’re looking to buy a high-quality vehicle in Houston from a dealer that will allow you to test drive it, give us a call on 713-660-866 or fill out this contact form for a quick quote!