Test Driving

If you’re thinking of purchasing a new car it’s absolutely essential that you test drive it first. It doesn’t matter if the car is new or used, you should thoroughly test drive it either way. This is your opportunity to ensure that you really want to purchase the car. You’re spending a large chunk of money on it, you should do the most you can to ensure that you feel comfortable in it and enjoy driving it.

Make the most of your test drive

When selecting which car you’d like to test drive, be aware that the car dealer will likely try to get you to test drive a higher spec version of the car, in order to upsell you. Make sure you test drive the car that is the exact specs you are after – correct engine, transmissions and trim level that you’re interested in.

You only get an hour for your test drive, so making the most of that hour is crucial. Ensure that you can drive both around the town, and on the motorway if possible. If you get onto the motorway or dual carriageway, try overtaking. Make sure that you check for good acceleration and if there are any blind spots.

It’s not always possible, but try to drive uphill, as how a car pulls uphill can be very revealing. It’s also worth trying out a challenging route home, with plenty of hard braking to test out the car’s stability in an emergency.

This is also a chance to test our personal preferences that you couldn’t have known otherwise. For example, is the car comfortable? Do you like the inside? Can you easily get into and out of the car?  Will you be able to fit all the kids (and dog) in the back?

Always remember; even if you think you’ve 100% made up your mind – try a similar car for comparison. This will either confirm your first choice, or you may even be surprised.

Test driving a used car

When test driving a used car, you must be aware that it is an entirely different scenario to test driving a new car. Some of the same questions will still apply, but you also need to make sure that the car is in decent condition.

It’s very important that, while test driving the car, you also make sure that you look over the car – both inside and out – to make sure that it is in an acceptable condition. This includes looking over the body itself, as well as under the bonnet, in the boot and in the cabin.

When you first start the car, make sure you listen out of anything out of the ordinary – especially when you start the engine. Any knocks from the engine can be a sign of costly engine repairs. Make sure you are also on the look-out for any blue smoke coming from the exhaust – as this is a sign that the engine is burning oil.

Once you’re driving, be aware of any strange noises – especially any coming from the suspension – and check that the car stays in a straight line when you are driving, without pulling to either side.

It is incredibly important that if you have any questions or concerns that you bring them up with the secondhand car salesman immediately before you part with any money.

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