How to Test-Drive a Car

by Lee Wyatt
(last updated February 17, 2012)

For many people the test drive is perhaps the most fun part of buying a new car. What they don't understand is that, while it can definitely be fun, it is a vitally important part of the car buying process. However, those how learn how to test drive a car properly will also learn that they are able to get the best possible car. Keep one thing in mind though when going out on a test drive. While there is a definite process to properly test driving a car, that doesn't mean you can't have some fun.

  1. Find the car. Before you can first go for a test drive, you need to find the car you will be testing. Be aware that you may need to go to several different dealers, or even private owners, before you find the car that you think that you will want.
  2. Check the price. When you find a car that you are interested in, you need to check the price. Do a little comparison shopping. This means that you can check the price at several different car dealerships to see what the price difference is, as well as checking online, and also checking what the Blue Book value is. With this information in hand, you are almost ready to go and start your test drive.
  3. Take a friend. Whether you are going on a test drive at a local car dealership, or getting your car from a private dealer, you really need to have someone go with you. This companion will allow you to focus on the task of the drive, while they talk to the salesman. In addition, your friend will provide some safety for when you go on the drive so that you don't have to be alone with the owner or salesman.
  4. Go for a spin. It's now time to actually go on your test drive. As you drive around, make sure that you are focusing on the drive itself. Ignore salesman and focus on how the car handles, the features of the car, how it speeds up, how it decelerates, and so no. Make note of how the car sounds, as well since that can often indicate whether there is a problem you should be aware of.
  5. Do a realistic drive. Often car salesmen like you to drive in a certain area, or only a prescribed distance. This usually isn't enough to gauge how well the car will handle. Instead, take the opportunity of a test drive seriously. Let the dealer know that you would like to take the car on as realistic of a drive as possible. Keep it under five miles though, most car dealers won't have a problem if you keep it within that range.
  6. Take notes. When you are finished with your drive, write down your experiences. Keep a written record of how the car handled, and your impressions about the vehicle. This will come in handy when you begin thinking about which car you end up wanting to purchase.
  7. Don't drive just one car. Never drive just one car. Instead drive a couple different ones to get a better idea of how the car handles. In addition, you will also want to take the opportunity to test drive vehicles at different dealerships if at all possible. This will allow you to create a more realistic idea of what you want, as well as what you will get in your purchases.

Author Bio

Lee Wyatt

Contributor of numerous Tips.Net articles, Lee Wyatt is quickly becoming a regular "Jack of all trades." He is currently an independent contractor specializing in writing and editing. Contact him today for all of your writing and editing needs! Click here to contact. ...


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