Automobile Test Drive

New car test drive; it is most important determining factor when buying a new or a used car.

The most important determining factor when buying a new or a used car, is the test drive. This article will tell you how to do a test drive, what to look for, listen for and feel for while driving.

Always do a test drive when buying a car. You will probably have only 10 minutes of driving time with the sales person in the back seat breathing down your neck. But this 10 minutes is crucial if you are going to be stuck with $400.00 or more car payments for the next 6 years.

From the second you open the door to get in the car, pay close attention to every little detail, noise and position of controls in the car. Was the door handle convenient and easy to open? Are the doors too big for a cramped parking spot? Do you have to step up too high to get in, if it is a truck or SUV? How easy is it to get in? Will you be leaning into the back seat to buckle up small children? Get into the back seat to see if there is enough head room and to see if three people can sit comfortably. Are your legs comfortable or cramped in front or back seat?

Now its time to actually drive the car. Adjust the seat, seat belt, steering wheel, and mirrors to fit your body. Take note of how easy it was to adjust everything, especially if you are sharing the car with someone else and will have to re-adjust it everyday. Take a look around at the panel. Can you see everything clearly? Can you reach all the controls comfortably? Do you have to reach too far to get to the radio controls? Make sure they have an armrest on both sides of the seats. Pull down the arm rests to see if they are comfortable and fit your size.

The sales person will usually suggest a route for you to drive on. Hopefully this route will include plenty of stop lights, sharp turns, and freeways where you can get a good feel of the car's performance. If you feel unsatisfied with the route chosen by the sales person, suggest more driving where you would like.

Now that you driving try to get into a variety of real life driving situations. When you are at a stop sign and press on the gas to take off, is the car sluggish or does it take off smoothly? Does it pitch forward? When you come to a stop, how do the brakes feel? Do the brakes grab? Are you able to come to a smooth and complete stop easily? Try slamming on the brakes, in a secluded place, to see if you can still maneuver the car if there is an emergency situation where you have to suddenly stop. Does the vehicle



swerve to one side or the other? Does it feel like your body is being pitched forward extremely?

Try to find some speed bumps or a bumpy road to drive the car on. Bumps and holes in the road can help you test the car's suspension. Listen carefully for rattles and feel for body shakes. Does the car go over the bumps smoothly enough without a gliding feeling. Too much gliding will make you feel like you are not in touch with the road. Look for just the right balance.

While you are driving the car stay in touch with the noises. Turn the radio on to see how it sounds. Is it audible and clear, without being too loud. Turn the radio off and listen to the sounds the car makes on the road. You shouldn't be able to hear too many outside noises, such as the tires on the road. Wind and road noise is annoying, especially when you can not have a conversation with the passengers. Make sure you listen with the windows both up and down.

If the car or truck is a manual transmission, pay close attention to pressing on the clutch pedal. Is it easy to depress? Shift the gears to make sure it is easy to engage each gear. If the car is an automatic transmission, listen to the shifting. When you are on the freeway does it find a gear and stay there, or does it shift around annoyingly.

When you are on the freeway, is it easy to stay at a constant speed. How does your foot feel on the gas pedal? Is it a comfortable spot for your foot? Make sure you turn on the air conditioner to see if this affects the car's performance in any way. Change lanes, take note of how easy it is to use all the mirrors.

While driving assess how comfortable you feel in the seat. Is there a lumbar support that you can turn on and off? Feel the head rest, is it in the right spot? Is the seat soft but supportive?

If you can find a winding road with plenty of turns take the opportunity to find out how the car handles. Take the corners at a good speed, how well does it handle?

Now, find your way back to the dealership and finish the test drive by parking the vehicle. Try turning it in a cramped area. Is the wheel base so large that you can not turn it in a tight spot? Again, take note, of how well the car will fit in your parking space at work and at home.

Bring a note pad with you on your test drive and take notes on the good and bad points of the car. If you are really organized, you will have a check list made up before hand so you will not forget to evaluate anything. It is a good idea to drive several vehicles in competing models that are similar enough to compare. Try different makes too, even if you are set on one in particular. Do not, however, test drive a vehicle that is equipped differently than the one you are planning on buying simply because they don't have yours on the lot. Insist on a test drive of the exact vehicle you will be buying before you sign away $25,000.00 dollars.

© High Speed Ventures 2011