Test Drive Tips
March 6, 2017
Buying a car is no small thing. If you don’t do your homework and go into your test drive with a good idea of what to look for, you could pay for it for a long time.
Do your homework online. Edmunds.com and CarFax are great online resources for researching new and used cars. Only after you’ve taken this step, should you go out for a drive.
Try it On
Sit in the car for several minutes. Move the seats back and forth. Check out the leg room in the front and back seats. Get a feel for whether the car “fits” you.
- Can you get in and out easily?
- Do you have enough head room?
- Does the steering wheel and dash fit your reach?
- How does the seat feel?
- Are the gauges easy to read?
- And how about visibility? Is it easy for you to see the road and all the mirrors? Adjust mirrors to your liking.
- Try the radio before you begin your drive.
- Check out the trunk to make sure it offers enough space for you.
When you start driving, turn the radio off and listen carefully to the car. Any odd noises? Then, let the sales person, or person you’re buying from, know that you want to take a route that includes both right and left turns, as well as (if possible) different grades. This will give you a good feel for how it corners and handles climbing. Think about the normal routes you drive and try to map a route that matches that as closely as you can.
Here are other points to check out on your drive…
- Acceleration and passing acceleration
- Is the vehicle responsive? Can you feel the road through the steering wheel?
- Is the suspension stiff or soft?
The seller is of course trying to move you to a sale. Stay non-committal. Keep a note of things you notice. If you’re shopping with someone else, ask them to keep a list while you drive, and have them add their observations. Recheck and ask about these things when you finish the drive.
If you like the car and you’re going to come back to close the deal, be sure to write down the VIN number so you can locate that same car when you come back. Don’t buy on the spot unless you’ve already test-driven all of the other cars on your list and have all your questions answered.
You’re spending a lot of money on your vehicle. Invest the time to test it out the right way.
The material contained in this newsletter is for informational purposes only and is based on sources believed to be reliable and authoritative. However, this information has not been independently verified by us. This newsletter should not be construed as offering professional advice.
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