Do you know why tons of pre-owned cars, some only one or two years old, land in dealerships and car lots regularly? The reasons vary, but it’s almost always because these cars’ owners were unsatisfied with their performance and wanted something else. This could have been avoided if they checked the cars thoroughly before buying them, including test driving them.
Sometimes, a buyer still gets it wrong even after a test drive because they go to a car lot unprepared. They don’t know what to look for, such as how comfortable a seat should feel, what sounds to listen to, and how the features fit their driving style, among others. They don’t even have a specific route in mind when they go on a test drive. In this article, you’ll get an idea what to do when test driving a car and, ultimately, be satisfied with your purchase.
What to look for
Suppose you’ve already inspected the vehicle and you’re satisfied with its current state, then the purpose of the test drive now is to confirm your initial impression. You should check if it performs as it appears and if you’re comfortable driving it. Here are some of the questions to ask when test driving a car.
- Do the engine and transmission make unusual noises? The engine should create a consistent, not-too-loud roar. A different sound could mean several things, and you should bring it to the dealer’s attention.
- Are the brakes hard to press? It shouldn’t take effort to step on the pedal. Too much resistance could mean hydraulics issues. It shouldn’t feel too soft either.
- Does the car pull opposite to where you steer it to? If it does, you’re dealing with an alignment issue. You can fix it, but the cost should also reflect on the car’s sticker price.
- Do you have trouble reversing or parking? Any response you feel that requires extra force to control is a red flag.
How long should you test drive a car?
The longer, the better. That’s pretty much the general rule. However, a 30-minute drive will already reveal details about the car you probably missed during the inspection. Drive on different terrains and park in tight spaces to see how the vehicle responds. Making abrupt stops and turns also gives you a clue about the condition of the brakes and engine. Some dealers won’t allow you to test drive their vehicles for this long, which is suspicious. Look for a car whose seller is confident enough about its performance that they’ll let you test drive it for up to an hour or longer.
Bring an expert with you
If it’s your first time buying a car, it would be best to have someone knowledgeable in cars join you. The dealer will likely go with you as well to explain or point out the vehicle’s perks as you use them. It will be helpful to have someone else in the car to confirm or refute their claims. Of course, if you’re working with one of the reputable Ram dealers in Deming, NM, you’ll get honest and straightforward assertions.
The key to buying a car is being honest with yourself and the dealer. If you find issues while test driving the vehicle, bring it up quickly so you can hear the dealer’s explanation and determine if it can be fixed. If you have the slightest doubt about the purchase, don’t hesitate to look at better options. Check out Viva CDJRF for more helpful tips.