Taking It for a Spin: Tips for a Successful Test Drive

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Buying a vehicle is a big choice, and it’s essential that you make informed decisions through every step of the car buying process. Whether you’re buying new or used, we strongly recommend that you take your potential vehicle for a test drive before committing to the purchase. Read on for some tips to help you get the most out of your test drive experience.

Call Ahead 

Woman on phone/Image Credit: Anna Shvets

Most dealerships allow walk-in test drives, but you have a much better chance of having access to the vehicle you want if you make an appointment. By calling ahead, you can give the dealer a proper amount of time to produce any records, documentation, and other paperwork that you may need. Additionally, many vehicles come with two sets of keys as well as multiple key fobs that the representative may need extra time prior to your appointment to find. If this is your first-ever dealership experience, fear not! We have a blog post that covers that process too.

Cool It 

Parked cars/Image Credit: welcomia

Speaking of calling ahead, we strongly suggest that you request for the engine to be stone-cold prior to your scheduled time. This will likely require additional coordination to find a time where the vehicle has been parked for several hours, but it will be well worth it. Requesting a cool engine will ensure that you receive an honest appreciation of the vehicle’s possible flaws.

Come Prepared 

Tire gauge/Image Credit: boonroong

Bringing tools to your vehicle test will help you perform the best inspection possible prior to the drive. We suggest bringing a mat of some sort to lay on the ground while examining the underside of the vehicle, as well as a pair of gloves to protect your hands. Other essentials include a tire tread-depth gauge and any devices you may want to connect for music and communication while driving.

Check for Water 

Checking the trunk/Image Credit: Syda Productions

Water leaks can wreak havoc on your vehicle’s health. Luckily, water problems are typically easy to spot. Keep an eye out for mildew, rust, standing water, and any other signs of moisture in the typical trouble areas. In particular, we highly suggest that you check underneath the trunk by removing any excess cargo, the spare tire, and the floor panel so you can see the majority of the exposed metal.

Get Comfy

Test drive/Image Credit: Weekend Images Inc.

Before you drive off, you want to consider what a trip in this potential vehicle would be like for you as well as your passengers. Sit in the back seat to ensure that both you and your passengers will have sufficient legroom. Once you’re back in the driver’s seat, try out various controls such as the navigation tools, the climate controls, the seat adjustments, the mirror positions, and other amenities.

Hit the Road 

Driving/Image Credit: anyaberkut

When you’re off on your practice drive, and especially if you’ve chosen a new car to test, be prepared for a salesperson to accompany you on your journey. In addition, be aware that many of these passengers will have their own suggestions regarding your route and length of time. While some of their concerns are simply practical, such as avoiding traffic, less honorable suggestions may involve taking a less stable vehicle on a smooth road to camouflage problems.

Practice Braking

Stop sign/Image Credit: ronniechua

Quality brakes are essential to keep you safe on the road, so we recommend running three separate braking tests on your drive. Begin with a slow and gentle brake followed by a more abrupt, but not aggressive, brake similar to one at a red light. For the final test, attempt a hard stop from a moderate speed and check to make sure that your foot remains firmly on the pedal and the vehicle doesn’t shift to one side.

Now that you know the essential components of a truly successful and informative test drive, it’s time to find new rides to test out! That’s where BestRide comes in. BestRide is the smartest, easiest way to find a car online, so start your search today!

Buyers Guide | buying a new car | dealership experience | test drive | Tips and Tricks

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