How to test drive a car

How to test drive a car

Are you looking for a new car, and want to take it for a spin first? Here’s how to maximise a test drive, and ensure you’re getting a full sense of the car

It might seem obvious, but the first thing you’ll need to do on a test drive is show your driver’s license, so you can prove to the dealer or car owner that you’re licensed. Another tip before you begin is to take someone with you who can experience the drive with you as a passenger, and who can be a good sounding board if you need it.

No matter what your budget is, you should be after a safe and comfortable car, that drives smoothly, and can easily handle braking, hills and steering.

Here’s your checklist when test driving:

  • 1. Check the car for any damages or scratches. Even if it’s new or a demo car, there might still be flaws. Check for them, as you might be able to negotiate a better price if you speak up when you spot them. Alternatively, you can insist the dealership or owner fixes anything before, or on condition of purchase.
  • 2. Check out the comfort factor – do you feel comfortable, and could you sit on those seats for long drives? Test out the passenger seat and back seat too and assess if you’d be comfy on a drive.
  • 3. Assess the tech situation – does the car sync with Bluetooth? Does it have a CD shuttle or USB charging points if these are what you’re after.
  • 4. Check the mileage and ensure it matches up to what the dealer has claimed.
  • 5. To get a full sense of the car’s driving capabilities, take it through suburbs and the highway. Check to see if there are any blind spots when you turn, and how the vehicle fares when you’re overtaking.
  • 6. Test the car’s brakes by braking fairly hard and suddenly (just warn your passengers when you’re going to do so).
  • 7. Drive over speed pumps and up a hill, and also stop at an incline and take off, to see the car’s handling.
  • 8. If there’s a built-in entertainment system or navigation system, try these out to see that they’re user-friendly.
  • 9. Check out the boot and back space, and if you have young kids, assess if the car will easily fit prams and infant or booster seats.
  • 10. Switch off the music if it’s playing, so you can get an idea of how quiet (or noisily) the car drives.

Ready to buy a new car? Check out our Car Reviews first… we might have already done some of the research for you!

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