How to Test Drive a Used Car

November 25, 2014
Used cars

Buying a used car can be a daunting and risky process. You never know exactly what you’re getting. While the majority of used car dealers are trustworthy and reliable, there are unfortunately some that will do anything in order to make a sale. One way to ensure you are getting the best value for money is to insist on a test drive. Top dealers such as Jennings Motor Group will be more than happy to let you test drive a car before deciding if it is right for you.

Planning your own route

As featured in the Telegraph, whether buying from a private seller or car dealership, it is important to plan your own route. If the seller knows the car has trouble undertaking specific tasks, they will plan a route that avoids highlighting the problems. For example, if the car has worn down suspension components, the seller could avoid a route that features speed bumps. Or they may insist you stick to main roads if they know the steering is quite heavy at lower speeds. Planning your own route will enable you to test the car in a number of situations.

Top things to look out for

When you’re on the test drive, there are a number of factors you should pay attention to. How comfortable are you in the driver’s position? Can you reach the pedals easy enough? It is also important to test out the features of the car such as windscreen wipers, the horn and lights.

While driving, pay attention to the different gears. Is it easy to change into different gears or do they grind? Listen out for any noises too. These are just some of the top things you need to keep an eye on.

Take somebody else with you

It is a good idea to take somebody else along for the ride. They can help you to keep an eye on anything that doesn’t feel/sound right. However, try to avoid taking the whole family with you. They will cause more distraction than anything else and you need to be fully focused on the car.

Don’t talk throughout the drive

It may feel a little awkward, but staying quiet throughout the test drive is actually a clever tactic. As published on About Autos, sellers hate silence as it makes them feel uncomfortable. You can hear every noise that the car makes. It is surprising how quickly they are willing to talk about the cars problems when you stay quiet as you’re driving along.

Test driving a used car is a small, but vital part of the car buying process. You will find that most sellers want to rush the test drive. Try and set a time of at least half an hour and ask if you can do the test drive by yourself. Private sellers will likely be reluctant to let you do this but it is always worth asking. If you follow the tips above you will have a better chance of buying a reliable used car.

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