Test Driving a Car Before Purchase | There’s nothing more exciting than shopping for a new car – especially if you’ve only just passed your driving test. And while we all have an idea of how our dream car will look, there’s a lot of things under the bonnet that need looking into before parting with your cash.
When shopping for a new vehicle, it’s a good idea to first think about what you actually need the car for. Whether you just plan to do small commutes or want something to give you the freedom to explore further afield will determine how efficient you’ll need it to be with fuel. If you have a family or plan to take friends and relatives from A to B, perhaps a two-seater sports car isn’t the right choice. You get the idea.
As part of the shopping process, you should always, where possible, request a test drive. Take someone with you and make sure to give the car a good drive on various roads.
What to look out for in a test drive
Before driving the car, you should be able to take a good look at the exterior components. Online forums will help you find common faults with a particular car make so be sure to do plenty of research.
You should inspect the car for cracks, dents, and stained upholstery, too, to ensure you’re getting value for money. The car might have been damaged during delivery to the dealer, or a private seller may be aware of manufacturing issues and not disclosed them.
If you’re buying a car from a dealer, take the salesperson on the test drive with you to ensure they’re aware of any issues you raise. That way, you’ll have a leg to stand on when it comes to negotiating price.
When driving the car, be aware of any strange noises, feelings, and smells. This could be a quick signal that something is not quite right.
Make sure to take note of how it handles different scenarios. Check the acceleration, the brakes, and different speeds. Take the car on different terrains and see how the car copes with hills and steep inclines.
If you’re buying from a private seller, they should also offer the option for you to take it to the local mechanic to have it checked over before you buy. After all, the seller wants the car gone, so they should be more than happy for you to do your inspections if it means you’ll purchase it.
Even if you’ve fallen in love with the car but can see there are issues, it might be worth taking a pass. Otherwise, you could be quickly paying for repairs. That said, there may be a chance to claim on your auto insurance depending on what the issue is, how old the car is, and what your policy covers.
Buying a car is always exciting, but no matter how cheap or perfect a vehicle seems, it will save you a lot in the long run if you do extensive research before parting with your money.