Things To Do & Remember When Test Driving a Used Car

Added In: Shopper Tips

If you’re looking to purchase a used car, one of the very first things, after doing your research about the different makes and models you are interested in, you’re going to do is take the car you’d like to buy out for a test drive. A test drive can tell you a lot about a car. From how well it handles, to how convenient the cup holder positions are, to everything in between, a test drive is something you never want to skip out on when purchasing a used, or new, vehicle.

Check out these tips for when you’re test driving your new, potential ride!

  • Take Your Time & Inspect The Exterior! The exterior of a vehicle is the very first thing you see, and because of that, should be one of the very first areas you take a critical look at. Keep an eye out for rust, look out for paint discoloration, check for cracks in the windshield, tinker with the headlights, examine the tread on the tires and check to see that the tires all match.
  • Fiddle With The Radio Before Or After The Test Drive, Not During! While it’s understandable that you’d want to listen to some tunes while driving around in your new potential ride, there are a lot of important things to be listening to that are not the radio, your iPod or your favorite podcast. For example: the engine and how much road noise there is when you’re driving.
  • Don’t Forget To Look Under The Hood! Everything might look alright with the interior and exterior of the vehicle, but remember that most of that is cosmetic. Be sure to take a look under the hood to check for any rust, leaks, or strange noises. IMPORTANT: Wait for the engine to be cool before you start checking and touching things under the hood. If you don’t know your way around well underneath the hood, have a trusted mechanic take a look and wait to see what they say.
  • Test & Play Around In The Interior! Though it may not seem as important at first, having an interior you like and are comfortable in is paramount. From making sure you have enough space in the cabin, to checking to make sure the seats adjust right, to inspecting that all of the buttons (radio, climate controls, clock settings, etc.) work correctly, there’s a lot to assess in the interior.
  • Don’t Forget About The Backseat! While as the owner of the car you will most likely be spending most of your time in either the driver’s seat or at times the front passenger seat, you still want to make sure that the back seat is comfortable for when you’re driving with others in the vehicle. Especially if you have kids or tend to travel a lot by car! The last thing you want to hear during a long road trip with the family or a group of friends is how cramped and uncomfortable the back seat is while getting kneed by them from behind.
  • See If You Can Keep The Vehicle For An Extended Period Of Time! Check to see if the dealership you’re test driving with will allow you to keep the car for a day or two. Most dealerships who really want to sell a car will give you more time with the vehicle so you can make your decision. This extension of time with the vehicle will give you the opportunity to see how it drives in both the day and at night, and it will give you the chance to test drive it on your usual routes. Both of which are key to figuring out whether or not a certain car is the right one for you.

Photo by Unslash vya Pixabay in CC0 Public Domain.

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