Test driving a car is very important as it will provide you with an opportunity to find out whether the car is worth what the dealer is asking for. Some people who have bought many cars may feel that test driving a car is now a waste of time and they may be tempted to forego the process altogether. But this would be a terrible mistake because not all vehicles are the same and there could also have been some manufacturing errors in the particular car they are purchasing.
It can be annoying to realize, maybe after a week or a month, that there were some issues with the car that you bought. For example, you may realize later that the steering does not coordinate well with the wheels or the weight shifts dangerously as the car turns, worse still, you might realize that the brakes are not functioning as expected or the wiper is faulty.
Some of these problems can never be detected by an eye test alone, so you need to get behind the wheel and drive for a few miles to be able to pick up some of them. Test driving a car is one of the most important stages of the car buying process. Learn about the necessary actions to take during a test drive.
1. Test It for Comfort
Before you leave your house to go for a test drive, call the dealer so he can make the car ready for you. Once you arrive, the first step is to find out how comfortable the car is. Get in and out of the car a few times and try to feel whether this causes any strain on your back, next, try to move the driver's seat to a comfortable position, adjust the mirrors, and do a thorough audit of the car's cup holders.
If everything is fine so far, check the infotainment system for any fault. Test the controls by playing around with them, put the radio on and off, and also test whether the Bluetooth can connect with your smartphone and whether the air conditioning is working perfectly.
2. Test All the Parts of the Car
Remember this is test driving and it deserves all your attention, so, switch off the stereo then start the car. The dealer may direct you to follow a predetermined route for the test drive, but you can ask if you can be allowed to choose your own route and if allowed, you can pick a route that you feel can help you get the feel of the car. Once on the highway, pay attention to the handling and steering of the car.
How do the wheels respond to the steering? Do they allow you to merge easily with other cars on the road? And how does it feel when you are turning around a bend, is the vehicle turning smoothly or there is some body roll? Take the car onto a rough road and try to listen whether there are any upsetting groans or squeaks, and don't forget to test the car's brakes and acceleration, you can accelerate it a bit then hit the brakes to see how the car behaves.
3. Test Driving Is Good in Poor Weather
It is better to choose a bad-weather day to test the car as this will give you an indication as to whether the car can let you down in a similar situation. Driving in bad weather will help you test many things.
You can begin with the wipers then move to the defroster and finally to the engine. The cold weather can help you test the efficiency of the battery and whether the wheels can maintain good traction on the road.
4. Test the Car for Parking
After driving a car, it is obvious that you will have to park it. Buying a car that's not easy to park will cause you lots of frustration. Try parking the car a few times and check whether it aligns well at the parking space. Also, check whether the car has some useful safety features and test them. For example, if you are driving a large SUV or a full-size truck, it may have parking sensors and a reversing camera.
Test these to find out whether they work well. Currently, all new cars are fitted with reversing cameras. This was made as a requirement as from 2018 but there are also some older cars that have this camera.
If you are testing a car with a reversing camera, take your time to test it. Check if its screen is clear and large enough. Test the effectiveness of the camera when backing up.
5. Pack Your Luggage
When going for a test drive, bring along some luggage. It is good to find out how your luggage will fit into the car. If you have a medium-sized suitcase, that will do, also, if you have small children, you can carry their car seats and strollers and test how they fit into the car. You can also carry your purse. Some cars don't have convenient places to keep purses.
What to Do After Test Driving
Once you are done with test driving, let the dealer know what you liked and what you disliked about the car. However, even if you liked the car, don't be in a hurry to start talking about figures. You need to play smart so you can have an upper hand during the negotiation process. Tell the dealer that you have to look at a few other models too and make a comparison.
If the dealer knows you are looking elsewhere, he may give you a good deal. Even so, if you are sure the car is good and you are convinced the price is fair, you can go ahead and start the negotiation process, close the deal and drive away. If you need a car that's going to give you peace of mind, you can contact us.