15 Pieces of advice for test driving a car
Article by Isabella Aldridge | August 29th 2017
While researching online is a great way to start the process of buying a new car, nothing can replicate getting behind the wheel and taking your dream car out for a spin. Thankfully, this is also a relatively easy thing to do and something which most car dealerships will offer to anyone serious about buying a new car. However, not everyone will have taken a car on a test drive before, and if this is your first vehicle, you need to know there is much to pay attention to during this process aside from the actual driving.
With that said, here are some tips and advice for taking a test drive of a car:
#1: Do some research and know your car
- Firstly, you are not making life any easier by walking into a dealership without any preference or knowledge about the car you want. In this regard, do some research online to check out the manufacturers, models or designs which you find most appealing and acquire some general information about the features of the cars which catch your eye.
#2: Have a full valid driving license and adequate insurance
- While the car dealership should be happy for you to take a vehicle for a test drive, you absolutely must produce a valid driving license before they can consider same. Likewise, you cannot take to the road without insurance, and the dealership will need proof that you have fully comprehensive insurance before you get behind the wheel.
#3: Check everything about the car, not just the tyres
- If you intend to invest your life savings into buying a new car, you should also have every intention of finding out everything about it. Rather than just kicking the tyres like many prospective buyers seem to enjoy doing, check every aspect of the car from the mirrors and dashboard to the trunk space and material of the seats. Obviously, these are merely a few examples, and you should leave no stone unturned when it comes to making such an important decision.
#4: Ensure you are comfortable with the visibility
- Once you leave the dealership, make an effort to pay attention to the physical comfort involved with driving your chosen car. Is the dashboard too high for your liking or is there enough physical space in the driver seat?
#5: How is the movement and acceleration?
- Another important factor is obviously the driving itself, but there are many factors which require your attention at this point. Pay attention to the ease at which you find it to manoeuvre the car from one lane to another, the amount of time it takes to accelerate or brake and even the feel of your new steering wheel.
#6: Test the brakes when the road is clear
- Arguably one of the most important features in a car is the braking system. Try not to perform any unusual manoeuvres on a busy road but rather seek out a quiet stretch and test how the car reacts to when you brake suddenly. It will be good to know how the car reacts in an emergency but when you think of it, using the brakes unexpectedly is something which happens every day.
#7: Don’t forget the electronics
- Most vehicles are equipped with a wide range of electronic devices including GPS, Bluetooth, and smartphone integration. At some point in the future, you will need to use these so don’t forget to test them out while driving.
#8: Air conditioning and heating is essential
- Again, these are essential elements in every part of the world, and you need to know they work sufficiently. As with the electronics, test them out and in this case turn the air conditioning or heating to the maximum to check out their full power.
#9: Test the parking assist function
- Park assist is quite new but a highly useful system in a new car. Stop somewhere safe along the route and use the park assist to fit into a tight parking spot. This should also give you a good idea of whether you are “feeling” the general size of the vehicle.
#10: Recognize both the engine and outside noise
- Some engines are louder than others, and you should at least notice this on the test drive. You can test this by paying attention to the level of noise while accelerating. Equally as important, the amount of noise which reaches the interior of every car is different, and you can use a test drive to establish whether this is adequate or even too much.
#11: How does your test drive feel?
- As already mentioned, the comfort of a driving seat should be obvious on a test drive, but it is just as important to notice how the car feels while turning, braking or passing through a pothole in the road. Remember that this is always going to happen and you should not need to make allowances for anything you do not like about the comfort of the car.
#12: Ask as many questions as possible
- Again, kicking the tyre is not a good way to establish whether this is the car for you or not and sometimes even a test drive is not enough. Instead, make it your business to ask questions in the dealership, whether this is the steering, the fuel, the electronics or the tyres – the more, the better.
#13: Be transparent with your dealership
- When speaking with a dealership, try not to go into the process with pre conceived ideas or in other words, trust your dealership. Speak with transparency and be as direct as possible to ensure the salesperson knows what you want and what you need to know.
#14: Remember the salesperson is with you
- Unfortunately, many buyers get so caught up in the process of buying or test driving a car that they forget the salesperson is present. In the case of the salesperson joining you on the test drive, stay aware of their presence and make sure to give them a warning if you intend on testing the brakes or any other unexpected manoeuvre.
#15: Take your time and remember that the car will still be there tomorrow
- It can be an incredibly exciting time but try not to rush your decision to buy a car. You may feel sure about the decision which is great but considers taking an extra night to consider the experience and return to your dealership the next day having had time to think everything over.
Either way, drive safely, pay attention and let the experience guide you in the right direction.
Questions? Great! We’ve Got Answers – CALL NOW! (604) 330-5583