You’re looking to buy a used car and think you’ve seen a few good prospects. The next step is giving them a test drive, key pointers in mind.
Map out your route.
First off, know where you plan to go for the test drive. You have to try the vehicle in different driving conditions, such as on the highway, in downtown traffic, and the rest. Observe for any weird vibrations or noises while you navigate your route.
Check the car prior to the drive.
You will, of course, be checking the car’s interior and exterior before buying it, but a great time to do that would be before the test drive. Do you have to lean forward to reach things (for example, the radio, temperature, etc.)? How do you find the pedals and seat adjustments?
Be realistic during the test drive.
Accelerate, decelerate, pass, merge – do what you normally would when driving. What do you think of the engine power? How fact does it accelerate? Think it has more power than you really need? How liquid is the upshift and downshift, and do these happen at the correct time? Does the airflow around the car create an irritating squealing or humming noise when you’re driving at high speed?
“Feel” the vehicle.
Are you happy with the steering wheel? Is it responsive enough when you turn it, or is there a delay? Do you need to make adjustments as you drive? Take note of how the vehicle reacts when you make a right or left turn (make lots of those turns!).
Test the brakes.
Steer the car to a safe place where you can test its stopping power. If you have passengers, make sure you tell them beforehand so they can prepare for an abrupt stop. How responsive was the car’s anti-lock brake system to soft and hard breaks? Did the car pull to one side or did you have to hit the pedal hard before the vehicle stopped moving?
Do a test drive at night as well.
As a driver, you should know that some vehicle and driving elements are just not perceptible enough in the daylight. So don’t hesitate to ask the dealer if you can take the car for another test drive when it’s dark.
Take your time.
If you want your test drive to fully serve its purpose, be patient. If you have to spend 30 minutes in the car, let it be. This will be your most important basis for deciding whether or not to buy the car. Make wise use of it.