How to Take a Car for a Test Drive

Taking a test drive is a vital part of choosing the right car for you. It's the only way you're going to find out if a car is good to drive and practical enough for your needs. So while the number of customers who buy a car without trying it continues to rise, its4women always advise you get behind the wheel before committing.

So whether you’re buying a used car from a private seller or a trader, don’t consider handing over any money – not even a deposit – until you’ve driven the car at least a short distance to confirm that it’s not a liability on wheels.

How to Take a Car for a Test Drive

Do you know what to look for?

Knowing what to look for when you’re behind the wheel will help you spot any potential issues and it will help you buy the right car with confidence.

  1. Examine the tires individually. Does each have at least a quarter of an inch of tread? Is the wear even?
  2. Look under the car for fluid leaks. Do this with the engine off and again with it running.
  3. Squat at the front corners of the car and look down along its sides for ripples that might indicate body repairs.
  4. Open and close all the doors including the boot and bonnet. Make sure all operate smoothly.
  5. Lock and unlock all the doors from inside and out.
  6. Ask the salesman or owner to sit behind the wheel and operate the headlights, brake lights and turn signals as you verify that they work.
  7. Open the bonnet with the engine running and listen for knocks and hisses.
  8. Check door edges and hinges for rust.
  9. Lift up the pad or carpet in the boot and check for rust.
  10. Slide behind the steering wheel and make sure the controls for every system operate properly. Does the air conditioner cool, does the heater heat, does the CD player work?
  11. If there is an air freshener hanging from the rearview mirror or the interior smells as though it was just sprayed with air freshener, open the doors for a few minutes and let it air out. By the time your test-drive is completed, the air freshener smell should be gone and you can get a better idea of the odors you will have to live with.

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