How to Test Drive a Vehicle

How to Test Drive a Vehicle
Test driving a vehicle is one of the most important steps of the car-buying process. A vehicle may look great on paper, but you won’t truly know if it meets all of your needs until you take it out for a spin.

Tips for testing driving a vehicle

In order to get the most of your test drive, you’ll need to make sure you do a thorough check of the vehicle to see if it’s right for you. Below are some tips on what you should be looking for when assessing its potential.
Schedule Ahead of Time
You should schedule an appointment with the dealership before going in for the test drive. Not only will this save you time during the entire purchasing process, but you can also check to see if the car you want is in stock. You’ll likely make a more rational decision this way, as the preparation will help to keep you level-headed.
Do a Thorough Inspection
Before you begin your actual test drive, you should inspect the interior and exterior of the car. This means checking the tires, mirrors, seats, steering wheel, windows, trunk, cup holders and anything else that may affect your day-to-day drive. This step is crucial, so don’t rush it because you’re too excited to begin driving.
How It Drives
The most important part of the test driving process is actually feeling how the car drives. Does it have good handling? Can you brake easily? Do you feel safe? Does it pass the comfy-bum-test? These are all questions you should be asking yourself during the test drive. If you’re satisfied with this part, you’re definitely on your way to purchasing the car.
 Drive in Different Places
Instead of just taking the car for a quick spin, you should be testing it out on different terrain. You may not have access to side roads if you live downtown, but at the very least you should be driving the vehicle on the highway, as well as in the city.
In addition to driving in different areas, it’s also a good idea to test out the car at all times of the day. This will give you a solid idea of how well the headlights perform and allow you to determine how easy it is to see during a night cruise.  A dealership will have no problem letting you drive the vehicle at different times of the day.
Bring Your Car Seat(s)
If you have young children, it’s important that they can also fit comfortably in the vehicle. Bring all car seats that will be used, to ensure they fit snuggly and that your kids will have enough room in the back. In addition, your entire family should come with you during the actual test drive if possible, as their comfort and safety should be also be a large factor in determining your new car.
 Make a Comparison Chart
If you end up test driving more than one vehicle, a good idea is to make a comparison chart. This will give you a clear representation of which car is the best. Although you won’t necessarily give the same amount of weight to each category, generally speaking, the car with the most boxes checked should be the one you end up purchasing.
Final tip, do your homework.  Google is your friend – write out a list of must-haves and “would-be-nice” to haves to help keep your mind focused and not distracted by shiny/sparkly things.  Read reviews on each vehicle you’re considering but also on the dealerships themselves – how have their past customers enjoyed their buying and servicing there?  Knowledge is power so power-up!
Good luck and safe travels!