There are numerous options for buying a car online, and the popularity of the auto dealer experience has declined. Consequently, customers are prepared to purchase a new vehicle — the 2nd most expensive item the majority of people will ever buy — without actually trying it out beforehand.
This is an alarming trend because, irrespective of how nice a car might appear on the face of it (or how well the critics have received it), customers can still discover crucial shortcomings with a particular vehicle during a test drive — personal, mechanical or otherwise. If you are unsure about what to expect or how to approach a test drive, follow the advice below:
Do Not Rush
Purchasing a new vehicle is a big decision involving lots of money. In all likelihood, you will be keeping the vehicle for many years, so always ensure that you give it a thorough test, prior to committing yourself. Drive at different speeds along different roads — residential roads, highways, city streets, etc. Essentially, you should attempt to mimic your day to day driving, to get a good idea of how the vehicle will perform under your usual driving conditions.
Along with regular driving, it is essential to park the car you are testing out. Note how easy it is to parallel park and whether there are any large blind spots, which make backing out from a space harder. Check that the car is sufficiently maneuverable to fulfill your daily parking requirements. You need to be able to get out and in easily. Many people do not consider these aspects of vehicle ownership, until they have become a problem — by which time it is too late.
Check The Tech Features
Have a play with the infotainment unit. It should be user friendly, not distracting or clunky. Switch the radio on and listen to the sound of the speakers. Connect your cell phone to ensure that the Bluetooth connection is functional (if available). Look at the luggage rack and test how easy it is to fold the seats down. There is more to driving that just operating the steering, brakes and gas, so you should definitely spend some time checking these things.
Passenger and Driving Handler Test
Find out how the vehicle drives from the point of view of the passenger and driver. The handling of a car is an important part of your experience as an owner. Check the vehicle’s suspension, and make sure that it is not too soft or too tight. Also, check the brakes, steering and engine power of the car. If you will have passengers in the car frequently, ride in the back and front seats to make sure that they will be comfortable.
Keep Your Eyes and Ears Open
Throughout your test drive, listen out for any problems with the vehicle. Noise from the wind is a common complaint for lots of drivers, so check that the interior is properly insulated from this. Furthermore, listen out for any rattling or clunking. Anything which sounds a little unusual ought to be examined, because it could result in a costly repair or safety issue at a later date. Strange noises should be investigated by a 3rd party mechanic, prior to buying a new car.
Remain Vigilant at all Times
You may have had an enjoyable test drive, however do not forget that that car could still have various defects. Look for problems with the interior materials and paint. Even though a car might have been pristine when it left the assembly line, scratches and nicks can appear during transit, when the vehicle is sent to the dealer.
Take a Friend with You
Lastly, and maybe most importantly, two heads are better than one. Taking a friend or relative with you could help you spot things that you might not notice yourself. Also, take someone who can stop you from getting too excited about a vehicle, so you don’t make a hasty purchase.
Guest Blog by Mike Saunders a car enthusiast, who enjoys writing about the automotive industry, blogging, and is a avid learner who absolutely loves deep dish pizza. Find more of our blogs on our nationwide auto buying site at www.Biggestcarbuyers.