Test Driving a Car: 5 Tips You Should Know Beforehand
Purchasing a car is a huge decision financially. Since it will affect your finances for the foreseeable future, you need to ensure you’re making the right investment. You can when you test-drive different vehicles before making a purchase. For these test-drives to prove helpful and enlightening, though, you need to take a calculated approach and remember these tips. They’ll make this process much more manageable to deal with and also help you make a wise decision.
Perform Adequate Research
Before you start test-driving different vehicles, you first need to know what you want out of a vehicle. Start making a list of vehicle types you’d be interested in buying. There are many great options today, including SUVs, heavy-duty trucks, efficient sedans, and sporty coupes. You can narrow down your selection by thinking about how you’re going to be using the vehicle.
For example, if you plan on driving long distances to work, it’s to your benefit to purchase a sedan. It offers plenty of space, all while providing a fuel-efficient design. Conversely, if you live alone and want to go fast, a sports coupe would be a better selection.
After pinpointing a vehicle type, start making a list of vehicle features. In terms of safety, it’s smart to look for vehicles equipped with advanced systems like lane-departure warning and parking assist. They will help you avoid costly accidents. As far as practical features, it’s always nice to have a navigation system. So, when you’re traveling to unfamiliar places, you can get detailed directions that ensure you never get lost or take inefficient routes.
Set Up an Appointment
Once you’ve narrowed your selection down to a few vehicles, you’ll want to schedule an appointment with a particular dealership that has these vehicles. Then, you won’t have to worry about waiting a long time or dealing with any extensive questioning.
You can generally set up these interviews over the phone or via email. Just make sure you let the dealership know when you plan on coming and what vehicle you want to drive. Then, when you show up to the dealership, they’ll have the vehicle waiting in front and you can start the test-drive without any unnecessary delays.
Conduct a Visual Inspection
Before setting off on your drive, you should first conduct a visual inspection. These first impressions can tell you a lot about a particular vehicle. A vehicle that’s in near perfect condition probably was taken care of properly and therefore won’t have a lot of hidden damage. Conversely, a vehicle with a lot of dents and scratches probably has been through a lot. These vehicles run you the risk of dealing with expensive repairs in the future.
Pay attention to the condition of the body and also keep an eye out for visible signs of rust. If they are present, it probably would serve you best to choose another vehicle to test-drive. You should also assess the physical condition of the tires. Do they look inflated properly and have a lot of tread left? If the tires are in poor condition, you’ll want to make a mental note. You can use then point out these defects to the dealership, possibly getting them to come down on their asking price.
Take It Around the Block
After conducting a visual inspection, you’re finally ready for the actual test-drive. This is one of the most important parts of this entire process, so you need to take your time assessing the right performance attributes.
One of the most important is engine performance, as this part is one of the most expensive parts to replace on a vehicle. In fact, replacing this part can cost between $2,250 and $4,000. Ideally, the engine shouldn’t make a lot of noise and it should provide power the moment you go to accelerate. The engine also shouldn’t cut out at any point.
Braking is another performance metric to carefully assess, as it dictates how safe the vehicle ultimately is to drive. When you go to brake, there shouldn’t be any delays or any loud screeching sounds. Instead, the brakes should provide exceptional stopping power and feedback.
In terms of how comfortable the vehicle is, you need to pay attention to the suspension. It should provide a smooth ride, even when you travel over bumps. Obviously, older vehicles may not have a finely tuned suspension. That’s perfectly okay as long as you know what you’re getting.
Finally, get a feel for how the vehicle handles. The steering wheel should provide instantaneous feedback and the vehicle should be easy to control around corners. If it’s not, you may want to choose a different vehicle. After all, you’ll be driving this vehicle a lot and you shouldn’t feel uncomfortable at all when behind the wheel.
Try Out the Interior Features
Although a lot of your focus during these test-drives should be on vehicle performance, in-car features are also important to try out. After all, you want to get the most out of your newly purchased vehicle since it is such a large investment.
See how the stereo sounds and responds. This may be the bulk of your entertainment on long drives, making it all the more important to have a good sound system and user-friendly stereo controls. One of the most important in-car features to test out is the air conditioning system, especially if you live in a warmer climate. Make sure cool air blows through all of the vents the moment you turn on the AC.
Comfort is also something you should never overlook when test-driving different vehicles. Ideally, the seats need to fit your particular body type and make it feel like you have maximum control behind the wheel.
Finally, assess interior storage. Ensure there are plenty of compartments to store your personal belongings, such as wallet, cellphone, and travel bags. The more storage the vehicle has, the easier it will be to travel on the road with others.
The test-drive is one of the most important aspects of buying a vehicle. As long as you make the necessary preparations and pay attention to the right attributes, you can get the most out of these trial sessions. Then, finding the perfect vehicle for your needs won’t be difficult.
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