Sep 13

How To: Test Drive a Used Car

All buyers know that the test drive is one of the most crucial parts of buying a used car. There are many things that could make or break the vehicle in question during this time, but do you really know what to keep an eye out for that makes the difference between a clunker and a keeper?

The first thing you need to remember is to keep an open mind. After all, this is a pre-owned car you’re looking at. You can have a general idea of what you’re looking for, but don’t set your expectations so high that you never find a car.

test drive a used car

Before signing the dotted line and sealing the deal on a used car, make sure you perform a proper test drive.

The next thing you need to do is perform a pre-test inspection. A person, or dealership, should have no objections to any inspections you want to perform on a car you’re considering purchasing. If they do, that should be a warning sign to you. Make sure to check the oil and transmission fluid levels as well as look for any cracked hoses or fan belts. Before driving, let the car idle and check for any leaks or funny sounds.

When finally deciding to take the car around the block a time or two, turn the radio off. You need to properly be able to hear any sounds the car might be making and your favorite Mumford and Sons song will distract you from listening for the important things. While driving the vehicle on the streets is important, the best way to test a used car is in an empty parking lot. You can test the car in different situations, from slamming on the brakes to quick turn maneuvers. This will allow you to test the vehicle the way you feel necessary without having to worry about other drivers. You should also test the car on a highway and bumpy roads to check how it handles all driving conditions.

After driving the vehicle, you again want to inspect it. Look for anything that might have started leaking or any unusual sounds which may have come out of hiding. When you feel satisfied with the idea of purchasing this vehicle, you can start the buying process.

The last thing to keep in mind when test driving a used car is to not feel rushed; if at any point you feel uncomfortable you can walk away from the deal and you lose nothing.

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