One of the most important steps of buying any car is the test drive. Whether you’re buying from a private party or a dealership, there are a few things you should do before, during, and after you take the car for a spin.
Before the test drive
Before you put the car in gear and drive, make sure its systems all work to your satisfaction, like the air conditioning, radio and power seats. Check that there’s enough room for belongings you intend to transport in your car frequently. We recommend you bring a friend along, too. By the time you sit in a car, you may already be emotionally attached. Your friend will help you discover issues you might otherwise overlook.
During the test drive
You’ll want all of your senses at attention while test-driving a used vehicle. How does the car sound when you accelerate, brake, and turn? Does the transmission make strange noises when shifting gears? Does excessive wind and engine noise leak into the cabin from the windows and sunroof? How does the brake pedal feel when you slow down? Do the gauges work? How does the car behave over bumps? Look out for anything that feels out of the ordinary.
Once again, bringing a friend can be helpful, especially if you don’t have a lot of experience driving cars. Putting someone more experienced behind the wheel can help bring issues to light you wouldn’t have discovered otherwise.
After the test drive
After the test drive, you should check that the things you looked at before the test drive still work. Also, get out of the used vehicle and take a look at the exterior. Are there any fluids dripping? Loose panels? Do the tires look healthy?
Keep in mind that you may encounter many minor issues that are easily fixed. For example, just because a used car has worn tires that cause it to pull slightly to the left doesn’t mean it isn’t a good value.
Ultimately, the test drive is important, but it’s not the only important aspect of buying a car. Check out our other car shopping tips at Casey Auto in Newport News, Virginia!