Most people understand that you should carry out a test drive before you buy a car, but do they know what to look for on the drive? To ensure you’re making the right choice, and picking a safe and reliable vehicle, there are multiple things that you’ll need to check. Test drives are especially important for buying second hand cars, and when you know how to complete a thorough test, you’ll save yourself a headache down the track. If you would like some expert tips on how to carry out the ideal test drive, read on.
Things to Check During a Test Drive
Don’t just drive the car slowly down one easy road and think you’re done – test the power of the vehicle in real conditions. Try overtaking a car and merging on a highway to see how the car manages. Does it take a while to accelerate? If possible, you should also take the car through the city, so you can see how it copes with the sudden stops and starts of city driving. Air conditioners can really affect the power of small cars, so make sure you try these tests with the air conditioning on as well.
One of the most important things you need to check during a test drive is the vehicle’s handling. Carry out a variety of turns, swerves and transitions to find out if the handling feels safe and precise. Maneuver the car through tight turns and into difficult parking spots to see how easy it is to control. The main thing is that you feel secure, and are sure you would be able to avoid an accident if the situation occurred.
For manual cars, you’ll need to check how smoothly you can work the gears and the clutch. Are the gears precise and easy to shift into, and how heavy is the clutch? If the car is an automatic, then test whether the upshifts and downshifts are smooth, and see if they shift at the right time. When your test car is a four wheel drive, you should also engage and disengage the 4WD function, to make sure it works properly.
Brakes can save your life, or be the reason you have a terrible accident – so it’s imperative that they work properly. Try a slow stop, but also try a sudden stop to test how the brakes will work in an emergency. Just check for other cars around you beforehand, and let any passengers know what you’re doing before you slam on the brakes. With good brakes, the car should slow down in a straight line and in a steady manner.
It may seem like an unimportant thing to check, but it’s always a good idea to see whether the car is excessively noisy. Open the windows while you’re driving to see how loud it is – even if the weather is cold now, you’ll need to open the windows in summer, and then you’ll be forced to listen to the car noise constantly. Check the noise under full throttle as well as when you’re going slowly to make sure you’ve covered all your bases. Noise can also be a sign of more serious problems with the vehicle, so it’s a good idea to investigate any noises before you buy the car.
Another good thing to take note of is the car’s visibility. Are there any blind spots? Make sure you have a clear view in all directions while you’re driving. It’s especially important that you can easily see out of the back window. Some new car models have a wide trim around the windows, which makes blind spots bigger, and you’ll need to take this into consideration.
General Tips for Your Test Drive
- Variety of roads: Don’t just drive on one, easy road. Take the car out on a highway, and test it in a variety of scenarios, especially ones which imitate the conditions you would drive in daily.
- Go it alone: It’s best to take the car out yourself, without a dealer or owner watching your moves and leading you down a predetermined route. Offer to leave a copy of your driver’s license, or the keys to your current car behind.
- Check technology: A car isn’t just its main function. Make sure you’re getting everything you’re paying for by looking at all the technology in the vehicle as well. Check the reversing camera, the GPS, the smartphone connection abilities, and anything else it has.
- Adjust everything: Move the seat, mirrors, and steering wheel around and make sure you can adjust them to your requirements. Sit in the passenger seats as well, check the comfort, and make sure there is enough leg room.
- Turn things on: Switch the headlights on, test the windscreen wipers, and make sure the air conditioning works.
Choose a Reliable Car Dealer
If you want to go to a car dealership, rather than buy a second hand car from an individual seller, then you’ve got to make sure they’re a reliable, experienced business that you can trust. Genuine car dealers will help you choose the right car, and will be easy going about any test driving requirements and questions you might have. Whether you want to buy a Renault, Suzuki, or Peugeot in Perth, the type of dealer can make or break your test driving experience.
Hemant Kumar is a project manager at Tridindia with more than nine years of commendable experience in writing about LMS, translation, and IT. His unmatched talent and passion for digital marketing gave him the opportunity to work as a multi-tasking project manager at TridIndia’s sister company, Link Building Corp. Today, he contributes to the world by imparting knowledge on SEO, link building and internet marketing etc., that helps business owners grow their online business.