How to Test Drive a Car – Tips & Tricks

Every person buying a car has a certain budget and some pre determined requirements in mind. Regarding the budget and financial options, a buyer has many choices and that is something that can be given less priority in the buying decision.

How to Test Drive a Car - Tips & Tricks

The thing which requires more attention is the performance of the car. One must also take care that the car must be practical enough for your needs. The best way to judge this is to test drive the car. Shortlist the options according to your budget and than test drive to choose the best one.

You must answer the following questions as a deciding factor:

What kind of car do I need?

If its a family car, then you need to focus on space, practicality, safety and comfort. If its a sports car, then emphasis will shift to desirability, performance, handling and the ‘fun factor’. Similarly whatever you are looking for, prepare a checklist of your requirement.

Choosing the car carefully will pay you back at resale time, because they’re the same points the next owner will be thinking about when looking for a car.

What car to test?

After preparing the checklist of requirements, do consider all the options available by researching on internet and other mediums. You can also visit or call the nearby dealers to get the details. However dealers have a habit to push customers to higher end models, avoid the fancy and stick to your requirements and decide, this will also make you a value for money purchase within your budget.

After making a list of cars according to your requirements, book a test drive using the internet or calling the near-by dealer.

What to look for in a test drive?

The dealer would like you to test drive on a pre determined route using right hand turns that will take you back to the dealership but that will not be helpful. Ask to test drive on the road you typically drive, that will help you in taking the best feel of the car. The points that you need to consider in test driving are:

  • Performance : This includes acceleration and braking test.
  • Ride and handling : This include the steering test, visibility of traffic while sitting on driver’s seat, ease of driving, etc.
  • Refinement : This includes checking the interior noise level while driving, road and engine noise, etc. If the transmission is automatic, concentrate on smoothness of it, etc.
  • Quality and reliability : This includes check at the seat comfort and ergonomics and the quality of material used in the interior of the car.
  • Safety and security : This includes checking about the airbags, traction control, etc.
  • Space and practicality : This includes checking the space available in the car.
  • Equipment : Consider the equipments available with the car such as AC, stereo, etc. and compare it with the competing models.

Final Considerations

When you are done with the test-drive, remember driving the car was just a test and not an implied agreement that you will buy it. If you are not comfortable to buy, just drop the option and move for the next one. Be polite, but firm. Ask for the salesman’s card and thank him for his time and leave.

Remember to do your research first so that your test drive will be more meaningful. The value for money of a car can be easily judged by test driving it.