Car Shopping Guide: Test-Driving

How to measure your comfort levels before you buy an automobile. Advice on making a good investment, including how to approach features.

Do you really know what to look for when you buy a new car? Is your car the right one for you? Even if your car is beautiful on the outside, you're in for some headaches if you don't weight the interior, derivability, and power before you buy that car of your dreams. When you test-drive is the ideal time to check out these car functions.

Weighing Comfort Levels

When checking out a car for the first time, get into the front seat and actually ADJUST the seat and mirrors to your comfort level. Make sure you have enough room over your head. You should have at least 2 inches of headroom. Make sure your seat height allows for good road visibility and that your headrest is comfortable to your head, neck, and back. Consider the fact that you may use the headrest for long drives in the car! Also, check for legroom in the back and front seats. If you move forward or back, is there enough room for both you and your passengers? Can you reach the mirrors comfortably?

Weighing Drivability

On order to fully weight the drivability of the car, it is best to try and initiate a test-drive at night. This ensures that the headlights are bright enough. When driving the car, make sure you pay attention to the "telltale" signs that the car will run smoothly for you. Check for power and acceleration. Also, does the car you're driving have the right transmission or gear ratios for you?



Make sure you check your field of vision while driving. Are there any blind spots? Can you see the rear adequately with the rear-view mirrors? Make sure that you are also comfortable with the level of noise or engine exhaust from the vehicle itself. These noises can often distract you!

Check on the fuel type needed for the car. If the car is a high-performance vehicle with multiple valves, chances are, the fuel will cost you more as well. Also, make sure to check and/or test the miles to gallon ratio. Large SUV's may eat up gas without a high level of acceleration.

Weighing Interior Issues

When checking the interior, make sure that the overhead light is reachable from the driver's seat. Make sure you are also able to read the gauges easily and are comfortable with the controls of the windshield wiper and gear shifters. You don't want to switch gears while trying to wipe your windows, do you?

Weighing it All Together

Before you buy the car, ask to see the owner manual to learn about any other customizable features. Are there warmers in the seats? Hw comfortable will your friends or kids be in the car? So, are you comfortable and happy with your test-drive? Great! Now, you need to make sure that the car you buy is of the same quality. When you get the car, make sure you test drive it before you accept it! Don't take any car deliveries at night unless you want to be surprised at the vehicle you got in the daylight.

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