When you go to buy an automobile, new or used, the test drive is of the utmost importance. This should go without saying, however some are so concerned with the way a car looks they neglect to experience the cockpit in a through manner.
Where should you test
In many instances, such as buying new from a dealership the salesman will have a pre-planned area for test driving cars with potential customers. Many salesmen will hope that the test drive will sell the car even if they couldn’t talk you into buying. However this limits your experience because chances are the pre-planned route is flat and dull. When you consider that all walks of life test drive cars, they have to limit their liability.
Ultimately you will want to mimic your normal driving routine on your test drive. Do you commute on the freeway during traffic? Do you pull jet skis to the river? Or do you deliver half the soccer team to the field for practice every day? Every factor of your daily life should be considered when test driving to ensure that you pick a make and model that will compliment the lifestyle you lead.
What to look for
It may seem quite overwhelming when test driving an prospective addition to your life and family. There are several things you’ll want to be looking for and aware of to be able to make a good decision. Before you even touch a gas pedal, you should get in and out of every seat in the house. Make sure the back seat is easily accessible for your passengers, make sure the drivers seat adjusts to suit your body and driving style.
When test driving you’ll want to eliminate outside distractions, leave the kids at home. Leave the radio off, that’s a minute part of the car itself and can be tested while sitting in the parking lot. Ask the salesperson to ease up on the sales pitch as you drive, giving you the freedom to concentrate on the response of your foot on the gas and the effectiveness of the brakes. You’ll want to feel comfortable with the size and girth of your new vehicle, and if you are used to a small sports car and you are test driving a full size SUV you will feel out of sorts.
Be sure to allow yourself plenty of time for your test drive. Many people make the mistake of hurrying this process and that is conducive to ending up with a lemon. You are about to spend a large sum of money on an automobile so don’t allow your salesman to bully you. Spend as much time behind the wheel as you need to be convinced that this is the car for you.
if you are purchasing used from a private owner you actually have the best opportunity because you aren’t limited to the pre-planned route and professional sales pressure. This takes some of the heat off and allows you to cover more terrain and experience more road conditions.
Use your salesman! They know the product and beyond their sales pitch, they are a valuable tool for a potential buyer. Ask questions and pick his/her brain for any information your research left wanting. Also be sure to let the salesman know if there is a specific road or road condition you would like to test so they can be prepared.
Bring a friend or your spouse along with you. Take them on the test, ask them to take quiet notes to compare at the end of the drive, however don’t allow them to become a distraction. They can give you a separate, unbiased view of the drive you just took
Ultimately the importance of a test drive is not to be underestimated. It can make or break a potential buy. Some cars look great from the outside, have luxurious interiors and drive like crap. Better you know that before you buy.