The test drive is when you learn whether or not a vehicle is a good fit for you and if it will satisfy your driving needs.
You can do all the homework and research you want regarding a vehicle, but if it doesn’t fit your or your lifestyle, it will not do you any good. You should never skip this step, even if you’re attempting to buy a vehicle without going to the dealership. There are many things you can get out of a test drive.
Be Objective About the Vehicle Before You Drive It
The time you spend inside a vehicle is when you finally get to that point of decision where you want to purchase the car. You mustn’t allow the “new car smell” or number of features to cause you to buy a car before trying it out. Often, you’ll drive the vehicle with a salesperson, which means you need to avoid the high-pressure sales tactics that come with it. Allow this person to point out features but keep yourself from getting emotionally attached to the vehicle.
Take the Vehicle to Places Where You’ll Normally Drive.
Getting in and out of the vehicle is essential for getting comfortable with it. This means going to parking lots and exciting to see how it feels. You don’t have to leave the dealership lot to do this, but it might feel more comfortable to you during a test drive. This is undoubtedly true if you don’t have a salesperson along for the ride. Make sure you are satisfied with the ingress and egress of the vehicle.
Drive on a Rough Road During Your Ride
A smooth road will feel soft; that’s a given, but how does the car handle a rough road? You don’t need to ruin the suspension or wheels with potholes, but a highway under construction with the top layer of the asphalt removed can be a good one for you to use. This is the entire point of seeing how smooth or rough the car feels when driving. You want to listen to odd suspension noises while bouncing around the bumpy road.
Drive the Car As You Own It
How do you drive every day? That’s precisely how you need to move the vehicle you take out for a test drive. If the salesperson goes along for the ride and begins screaming with fear, it might be time to change some of your driving habits. The point of driving like you own the vehicle is to show you how well this new model fits into your lifestyle.
Use Every Feature and Button in the Car
Have you tested out a vehicle if you don’t try every button or mess with every feature? You can’t say that you have. Adjust the seats, steering wheel, windows, air conditioning, radio, safety features, mirrors, and anything else you can think of during the ride. You don’t want to buy a vehicle and find out later that you forgot to test some features. Try everything, and don’t worry if the salesperson gets antsy or impatient; they are there to show you the car and should help you understand everything about the vehicle.
Try the Brakes on Purpose
If you have passengers with you, warn them you’ll slam on the brakes, but you should do this at least once. You never know when you will need to stop fast, and you must understand how much room you need to bring the vehicle to a stop. This is a great way to make sure the ABS kicks in and allows you to retain control when you’re braking.
Put a Premium on Comfort
How much will you drive your new car? If you love to take road trips, have a long commute, or enjoy long drives in the country, you’ll want a comfortable vehicle. Not only should you fit well, but you need to spend several minutes understanding the comfort and qualities of the car. If anything about the car’s fit feels wrong, don’t buy it. Will more than one person be driving the vehicle? If so, you need to have them test drive the car.
Forget the Predetermined Path of the Salesperson
It’s your test drive, and you’re in charge. Take the car out on the highway, drive it in the middle of the city, and get the feel of the vehicle when you accelerate to highway speeds and when stuck in traffic. These are common occurrences, and you need to know how this car feels before you ever buy it. Some of that feeling tells you how the transmission performs and what you should expect under various conditions. Forget the predetermined salesperson test drive and take the car where you want to go.
Accelerate Three Different Ways to Test the Drive System
You should turn off the radio and listen to the vehicle when you test the acceleration and how the car performs. You want to accelerate gently to the desired speed and see if the vehicle does this smoothly and consistently. If this is acceptable, speed up more briskly to the desired speed and listen for anything unusual. Finally, go full throttle from the start and see how the car feels. Make sure the vehicle passes all three of these acceleration tests.
Test the Features that Weren’t Part of Your Last Car
Whether you’re buying a new car or a used model different from the last one you drove, you’ll have some new features that weren’t part of the previous vehicle. When you head out on your test drive, you need to test all the items you’re unfamiliar with. These can be aspects of the infotainment system, safety systems, or additional drive items that you’ve never had in a car before. If you’re moving from a gasoline car to a hybrid or electric model, you’ll have an entirely new experience.
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