What should I look for when I’m test-driving a car?
If you are serious about buying a car, you can be sure that your car dealer will offer you a test drive in the vehicle(s) you are eyeing up. This is a great opportunity to get to know the car you may drive for 10+ years on an intimate level. With limited time however, it is crucial to know what you should look for to make sure the car is right for you.
Listen to the car
The six senses of a human define how we react to certain events. When test driving a car, be sure to listen to how it reacts in different scenarios. Switch off the radio, and listen to it accelerate, brake, turn on and idle.
Get in and out of the car
It sounds silly, but get in and out of the car several times. You will be doing this multiple times a day, so getting a feel for it will help you decide if it is a good fit. If you plan on taking passengers frequently, make sure they are going to be happy with their seats.
Test drive in daily scenarios
Drive it like you plan to every day. If you are a peak-hour driver, stop and start the car often. Are hills a regular part of you drive? Drive through some hills. This is an opportunity for you to test how the car might handle your day-to-day routine.
Do you know the cars weaknesses
No doubt you will have read online reviews of the car(s) you are about to drive. Knowing what people don’t like about the car is a chance for you to form your own opinion in areas that are subjective.
Test out all the features
How does it feel to open the trunk, is the sound system user friendly, does the interior suit your eye and feel comfortable? All these little things add up when thinking about your overall image of the car.
Other features to consider:
- Glove box, compartments
- Heated seats
- Drink Holders
- Driver controls
Used Car Considerations
When taking a used car for a test drive, there is always a chance that it’s a lemon (a car that is found to be defective only after it has been used). An easy way to avoid a lemon is to check the general cleanliness of the car. If the car is dirty with stains on the seats or if there are small nicks all over the car, that strongly suggests the car has not been cared for and that there may be other major issues that you can’t see.
While all the above points are necessary considerations when test-driving a car, ultimately, if the car does not feel right – listen to your gut. If it feels like the right car, you will know it.