6 Immensely Important Things to Keep in Mind While Test Driving a Car

Buying a car is like dating; you test and test until you find a perfect, or close to perfect, match. Whether it’s a brand new or second-hand car, dealerships will usually allow for their cars to be test-driven. Isn’t that a fun way to drive your favorite cars without actually buying all of them? You will be able to get a first-hand experience and you get to imagine yourself as the owner of that car.

Is an SUV too high and heavy for you? Don’t like the bumpy feel of a Vios? Are there too many buttons in a Civic? Or do you absolutely love the sporty feel of a Toyota 86? These are the type of discoveries that are usually made during test driving a car. It is usually this process that closes a sale which is a win-win for you and your car dealership because you become sure on what car to buy, and not just based on Topgear reviews and research, plus the shop earns money through the sale.

Walking into that specific store, you would want to appear knowledgeable and prepared for what’s to come. This would help in making the whole experience more efficient and stress-free for you. Why not become an expert more than that car salesman. The following are some essential tips for test driving a car.


Tip #1: Bring the Whole Clan

When it comes to making any decision, a second opinion is always useful. For your test driving a car, try to get your partner, a friend or even your mechanic to tag along. An extra pair of eyes and ears will certainly catch something that you would otherwise miss. If you have children and a family car is what you are looking for, it’s definitely useful to bring the kids to check if they fit. It may seem like you’re being exaggerated with the whole process but it is better to have foresight and check if there is enough space for the kids, your golf kits, your pets, your surfboard and the like, rather than discovering you are short on space when your bank account is already short on cash.

Like what they always say, “The more the merrier!”


Tip #2: Ask About the Policies

Make sure to ask about the dealership’s test-driving policies so that you are on the same page and avoid unnecessary issues in the future. Also, inquire about the insurance policy whether or not a salesperson is required to ride with you or if the car is insured should you be allowed to drive it alone.

 Test Drive a car

Tip #3: Get to Know the Car

Your new car is your new toy. Just like a kid receiving a new toy, you would want to touch every single button in the car. Familiarize yourself with the features and functions so that you can gauge if that car is your match. Some people prefer simple cars that will take them from point A to point B while others are thrilled with many added features.

Features and functions such as:

  • Lights
  • Air Conditioning and Heating
  • Bluetooth and Audio System
  • Navigation System
  • Drive Mode System
  • Automatic Brake Hold Option
  • Safety sensors
  • Hands-free Driving

Tip #4: Don’t Rush

Try to drive on familiar roads such as your route to work so you get a feel of your daily activities with the car. Because of this, you will be able to compare and contrast the cars you’ve previously tested or driven. Conduct simple maneuvers such as all types of parking, emergency stops, reversing and the like. You should be able to do all of these tasks with clear peripheral vision and no blind spots.

A test-drive is the getting-to-know stage in dating. It is not a quick 15 minutes spin around the building; even though most people think this is the standard. A thorough test-drive usually takes 30-40 minutes. You would be able to get fully acquainted with the car during this period of time.  Speaking of time, it is also advisable to schedule your appointment during a non-rush hour so that the roads are more peaceful and you get to enjoy your ride.

Tip #5: Stay Focused

Once you’ve test driven a car, more often than not, your salesman will persuade you into buying the car. He will be that small voice over your shoulder tempting you to take out your pen and wallet. This is time for you to stay focused. Remember your goal: to test-drive your prospective cars. Not purchase a car, yet. Go home, do your daily activities, relax, and weigh in your options. It is outside the store, away from the car, that you can think clearly and come up with a wise decision as to what car to buy.

A key to ensuring a successful test-drive is to remember that you are the customer and you are in full control.  When to schedule your appointment, how long you will take the car for a drive, who you will bring with you for extra support and whether or not you will buy that car is all up to you. Therefore, the test-driving process should not be considered as a tedious task but something that is essential and even enjoyable in the decision-making process.

test drive

Tip #6:  Have all your documentation in order

Some dealerships will ask for a copy of your driver’s license, identity document or similar, and possibly insurances, when you test drive a car.  Have it all ready so you don’t have to come back another day.  In the same vein, get your paperwork in order in advance too. When you buy a car the paperwork can be pretty intense.  Find out in advance what you need for a new car purchase and have all the paperwork with you.  It could include your old car papers, bank statements, and proof of address, licenses and more.

How long will a Test Drive Take?

This is always different, depending on the car dealership, the car, the potential buyer (you) and the city, country or situation.  A normal test drive would take about 15 minutes.  If you want to test drive the car in the suburbs, in town, and on the highway (this is recommended) then you may be able to drive for around 45 minutes.  Ask your dealership how much time you can drive the car for.

What happens if you have an accident during a Test Drive?

In most instances you, the driver, are responsible if you have an accident during a test drive.  The dealership will likely try and hold you liable for the damages but if you have insurances, then generally your own insurance policy will cover the damage.  It works the same way, again generally, as if you have an accident with a rental car.  But before you drive the car off the floor, ask about insurance!

Here are a few Quick Facts for you, about Test Driving a new car

We have given you six good tips about buying a new car and test driving a new car.  Here are a few quick facts that will help you make your purchase.

  • Never buy a new car on impulse.
  • Buy a car that suits your lifestyle.
  • Buy a car that suits your bank balance.
  • Do not let the car salesman intimidate you.
  • Always test drive the car.
  • Have your paperwork in order, and have a copy of your driver’s license.
  • Buy from a reputable dealer.


General info

What is interesting to know is that most people know immediately which is the right car for them while test driving a car.  There is something about a car that ‘fits the person’ and vice versa.  You want to buy a car that is the perfect fit for you. Take your time.  If you have any reservations, use the internet and have a look at the various car consumer websites. Talk to friends, talk to dealers and read reviews.  If you have done your car homework thoroughly, it is unlikely you are going to land up with a bad buy.

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Final tips on Test Driving a Car

You are test driving the car to make sure that it goes well, has no obvious defects, is a good drive, feels comfortable to you, and is going to be the car that works for you. Before you get in the car, look around the car.  Check for any dents or scratches.  Take a look in the engine.  If you don’t know what you are looking for, ask somebody who does know for help. Look at the tires and if you are buying a used car, make sure the tires are in good condition.

Look carefully at all aspects of the car.  If you note anything that is not quite right, make a note.  And if for any reason you feel unsure about the car, after the test drive, do not buy it.  Rather, test drives a few more cars.  Remember, you can always come back to this car.

And remember, always buy a car from a reputable dealership.  Always!





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