There’s a lot of advice on offer about buying a car but the best tip is definitely that you should always test drive a vehicle before you buy it. There’s absolutely no substitute for this because even if your dream car might have all the features you want, and comes in the colour you love you won’t know how it handles until you actually get in and drive.
First of all, make sure you put enough time aside to go car shopping so you’ll have several hours at your disposal. Trying to squeeze in a test drive during your lunch hour or just before you need to pick up the kids from school will make you feel rushed, and you won’t take the time to inspect the car thoroughly.
Now that you’re ready to get in, take a minute to see how you feel sitting in the driver’s seat. Get a sense for the space – do you and your passengers feel comfortable? Are all the dashboard features within easy reach? Do you sit too high or low?
Start up the engine and listen to the car. There are certain noises you want to hear and others you certainly don’t want to. Make sure you turn the radio off before you start driving so you can hear how the engine sounds as you accelerate and brake. Get a sense for how well the car is insulated by listening for outside sounds, like wind and road noise. Also, try and drive a route that you are familiar with so you can concentrate fully on the car rather than the surroundings.
Make sure you test out the power steering with a three point turn and pull in and out of parking spots to get a feel for the manoeuvrability and turn radius. Check the climate controls so you can see how long it takes the car to heat up or cool down. Also, test the windshield wipers and sprayers. Spray the windshield and see how effectively the sprayers and wipers work.
If you can, bring a passenger so they can give feedback on how the ride feels in the back seat. Bring the kids along to if you have any. You want to be sure the car seats fit in the vehicle and that the kids are comfortable.
There are lots of things to remember when you test drive a vehicle but doing them all might save you a big headache with the car after you buy it.
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