Advice and Tips

What to look out for when you test-drive

Latest Motor News // 23 February 2017

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Today, faced with ever-increasing choice in the car market, deciding on a new vehicle can be a lengthy process. Yet, choosing when to buy, your budget and preferred make and model is not where the challenges end. Below we share five tips every car purchaser should read before they take a test-drive or buying a second-hand car.

Five tips for a smooth test-drive

1. Take your time

Car sales people can be pushy when it comes to selling you a vehicle.  This can be a distraction when you need to be focusing on how a car will fit into your lifestyle and meet your driving preferences. Don’t feel pressured to hurry – take at least a 30 minute test-drive, if not longer, and try some of your usual routes. Don’t forget to include a hill in your route as they can be particularly helpful at revealing if the car has any mechanical issues.

2. Make mechanical checks

If you’re not a motoring enthusiast and consider cars to be just a means of getting from A to B, then the technical jargon you face during a test-drive can be overwhelming. Here are some questions to ask yourself to check that the car is in full working order especially when buying a used car:

  • Test the brakes – does the car stop in a straight line?
  • Is the steering responsive, without vibration?
  • Are there any unusual rattling sounds coming from the suspension?
  • Is the engine quiet and smooth?
  • Does the clutch hit the ‘bite’ point when the pedal is nearing the top? This could indicate a worn clutch.

3. Ensure comfort and ease of driving

This point sounds obvious, but you need to consider how the car would feel to drive every day and during longer journeys. Check your visibility – can you comfortably see all mirrors? What’s it like to reverse and park? Is the seat easy to adjust? Although the driver’s comfort is of the utmost importance to ensure safe driving, you also need to consider the comfort of your passengers. Take a friend or family member along for the test-drive, they may have some opinions and thoughts too.

4. Check out the space

The boot can often be the last thing we think about when it comes to buying a car. Yet, if you have a dog or are a golfing enthusiast, you might need more space than most or even a flat-loading boot. Equally, do you have a large family? Can you accommodate the necessary paraphernalia, including children’s car seats?

5. Compare

And finally, a test drive is no use if you’re only comparing it against driving your previous car. You’ve probably become accustomed to the quirks of your previous vehicle and anything different may seem like an upgrade! It’s recommended that you take another similar car for a test-drive too, you might be surprised at what you notice.