A test drive is a crucial step when buying a vehicle. It's an opportunity to check that there aren't any major issues that will warrant future repairs. You can also make sure the vehicle is a good fit for you.
Ideally, you should take the car, truck, or SUV you’re interested in for a 15- to 30-minute spin and test drive different vehicles on the same day so you can compare them. To help you make the best decision for you, keep the following considerations in mind.
Start the vehicle
A mechanically sound vehicle will start right away. Pay attention to any unusual noises coming from the motor, and let it run for a couple of minutes before leaving the dealership. You should keep listening for any unusual noises during the entire test drive. Grinding, rattling, ticking, or knocking noises could indicate a number of issues.
Before you start the test drive, make sure the turn signals work, adjust the mirrors and test the climate control system. You should keep an eye on the different systems and instruments while driving. However, now is your chance to focus on the dashboard.
Assess how comfortable you are
A vehicle is a good fit for you if you feel comfortable driving and maneuvering it. If you struggle with getting the car out of a tight parking spot or can't parallel park when you get back to the lot, you might want to consider a different option.
Once you start driving, look over your shoulder to assess how large the blind spots are and whether you have sufficient visibility.
If possible, take the car to an area with a stretch of rough road so you can see how the suspension responds. Make sure the driving experience remains comfortable in different conditions.
Test drive the acceleration
You should drive the vehicle up a hill to test the transmission. Also, head to a nearby highway so you can accelerate quickly and see if the engine and powertrain meet your expectations. If the vehicle doesn't accelerate smoothly, you might be looking at a car with a faulty fuel supply system.
Make sure the brakes work
For safety reasons, you shouldn't drive off a lot in a vehicle with a faulty or unreliable brake system. The brakes shouldn't feel loose or have too much resistance.
Brake like you normally would during the test drive, and take the car to an empty parking lot for a more thorough brake test. Do one test to see how quickly the car stops when you brake normally, and do a second panic stop test to make sure the vehicle responds properly in an emergency situation.
Pay attention to the steering system
Your test drive should include some stretches of street driving and a short trip on the highway so you can see how the steering system handles different speeds. Feeling the steering wheel shake and experiencing resistance are signs that there is something wrong with the steering system. You should also drive for a few seconds without touching the wheel to see if the car pulls to one side. This could indicate an alignment problem.
At Mike Duman Auto Superstore, we make it easy to test drive a vehicle. Simply pick out a vehicle on our website and click the “Schedule a Test Drive” button! Take a look at our online inventory to get started!