A test drive is crucial to determining whether a used car is in good condition or not but most people are not sure what to look for in a test drive. A lot of the necessary work for a test drive is actually done before you even turn on the ignition so we’ll help you with a few tips to prepare you for your next test drive.
By the time you asked the seller for a test drive, it most likely means that you really like the car but at the same time you need to be objective when evaluating the condition of the car. It’s too easy to be blinded from any flaws when your mind is pretty much set on purchasing it. The best thing to do, leave all that desire you acculumated through the time you spent withering down multiple car listings to this one car and go in without any expectation of bringing home a car.
Another thing you should do is have the opportunity to drive the same make and model of the car before going on your test drive. This way you already know how the car feels like and have something to compare to. If the car you are planning on buying feels significantly different than the one you’ve driven before, that should give you pause about pulling the trigger. Some good venues for finding the same make and model of the car to test drive can be another used car outlet, rental agency, or check if any of your friends have the same car.
If you are buying a car from a private seller, ask to meet at a time and place where there won’t be much traffic and you can easily access the highway. Ideally you want to be somewhere you are familiar with so you don’t spend half your time figuring out the road and half figuring out the car. You want to test drive on local road and highway as well. Also let the buyer know you are planning on test driving the car for 15 - 20 minutes so he knows what to expect. If the buyer is not willing to let you drive for that long, offer to pay for the gas as a token of your seriousness in purchasing the car.
Now that you are finally in the car, remember to turn off the radio so you can pay attention to any unnecessary noises. Drive as you normally would on local road and on highway but pay extra attention to what you hear and what you feel. Stop at a few traffic lights to test out the brakes and find some speed bumps to go over to test the suspension. A mall will be a good place to find some speed bumps and maybe test out some tight maneuvering and parking.
If you still feel like getting a second opinion on the car and you probably should since any car is going to be an expensive purchase, you can test drive with the AutoInsight app which uses the OBD port to help you monitor the car while you test drive. Or you can take the car to the mechanic too for a thorough inspection.