14 Essential tips for test driving a car for the first timer

Planning to purchase a new car? It is indeed a common practice to test drive a vehicle before making a purchase. For most of us, it is just an average 10 to 15-minute drive that gives a vogue understanding of the car. But do you know that it involves a lot of research to have a vivid picture of the same and that meagre information does not make you a proud owner? Take the following tips when you go for a test drive this time.

1) Understand your requirements:

The requirement of the car varies from person to person.  It also depends on a lot of factors like the buyer’s financial capacity, usage of the vehicle, the purpose it is used for and others. 

For example, a Lamborghini car cannot be used for a short trip. Likewise, you will not want to use your expensive car on a rough patch road regularly. Moderately priced vehicles also come with useful features. So, check out what purpose you need the vehicle for and then go for a test drive. 

2) Do good research:

Even though it is a good idea to get information from friends and well-wishers, do your homework while test driving a car. Internet is an excellent source of getting new car info and has all updated details including the technicalities of every part. 

This is a good way of finding out the right car for you as the specific requirements may vary from person to person. Some may require a reliable engine with high speed, and others may want decent mileage. Ask the technician who assists you every detail without hesitation and does excellent research yourself.

3) Have multiple tests:

Drive the number of cars and take appointments from different dealers. If possible, try to make them in short gaps so that you can make a quick decision.  Even though you find the first car feasible, don’t restrict yourself to one. There might be several other alternatives which can fit your expectations. 

4) List out:

Pen down the list of all model names and their features that you get from various sources. Public sources like friends and internet can filter many options for you.  Make a note of all those names and check the features in the internet. Also, you will find the rating of each car if you check in consumer websites. The one that you desired for may not have the good online rating, or the model would have been outdated. This will decide on your car easy. 

5) A day for a test drive:

Haste makes waste. Waste makes worry. This has to be followed in this context also. If you are desperate to buy a car, there are chances that you may purchase one immediately after having a test drive. But experts say that it is not a good idea to buy a car on the same day as the test drive. 

Allot a whole day for a test drive and slowly make a decision. The new vehicle’s advanced features and the fresh smell are so intoxicating that you are attracted to purchase it at any cost. 

6) Look for consumer list: 

Consumer lists online have all the features that you need to look for while doing a test drive. Check for this and see if the car consists of those features. 

7) Take along a knowledgeable companion: 

Don’t go for a test drive all alone. Ask your friend or any other family member who can advise you to accompany you. The salesperson only wants you to buy the car at any cost. It is purely a business transaction. There will be no genuine advice or emotional understanding in that. 

On the other hand, a friend or a family member who knows you in and out can see the transaction in multiple facets and advise you accordingly. There will be no chances of falling for fraud. 

8)Find out space: 

To find out the area in the car, you may carry some luggage or cargo and place it in the back. This will let you estimate the space that will be left after putting essentials. 

9) Comfortability is the main factor:

Check if the car is entirely comfortable for you. Your driving seat, the height of the vehicle, backspace all should be thoroughly checked before making a decision. All those fancy cars which look attractive may not last long in giving you comfort. 

See if you can get in and out quickly and whether there is enough room for legs in the seat.  Imagine how the car would feel for the next few years, say five years and then make a decision.

10) Check the car in and out:

Even though it is a new car, you cannot rule out the chances of scratches and dents. They can be damaged during transit and while test drives. So, check the vehicle around every nook and corner.

11) Verify technical aspects:

Modern manufacturers are offering many technicalities to their vehicles. You can comfortably place your mobile, check your surroundings, connect the phone to the speaker while on the go, and even connect to blue tooth.  They also alert you if you fail or forget to lock your car with car alarms. So, you must know about all these while testing the car itself as it takes some time to get used to the new technology. 

12) Check fuel maintenance and mileage: 

 See how economical the fuel can burn in the new car. Many modern vehicles are fuel-efficient, but some may gulp it off. See if regular maintenance is enough or it requires special maintenance

13) Drive through hard roads:

Where do you wish to travel on your new car? If your ride is mostly smoother one, then it is ok. Whereas, if you go mainly on the highway or rough and bumpy roads, then you should test the car on similar kinds of ways. This will let you understand how efficient the vehicle is on harder surfaces. 

14) Get xerox copies on your own:

It is a standard practice for the dealers to ask for a photocopy of the license. Get your copy and ask the dealer to return it to you. There are chances for vehicle theft using deceptive applications.  So, take care that you do not lose out on your applications anywhere. 

Your desire to purchase a new car can leave you in making wrong decisions if you don’t have the right knowledge. Since getting suitable information is not difficult these days, try to accumulate as many details as possible and enjoy being a happy owner!!

Emily Muelford
Emily is a British writer whose love of car culture is augmented by a fascination with both the European and American automotive markets. Her perspective is uniquely fish and chips.