Five Tips for Test-Driving a Used Car

From visual inspections to CARFAX reports, there are numerous ways to assess a used car - however, none of them can replace the good-old test drive. However, even a test drive might not prove much helpful if you do not know what to look for. In this blog, we will be covering a few test-driving techniques that will help you distinguish between the mediocre and the good.

Tips to Test-Drive Used Cars:

1) Remain unbiased:

As a test-driver, you must set aside any prejudices. The cars designed by your favorite manufacturer might outdo its competitors in some areas, but might not be good enough in others. Also, keep in mind that 'modification' does not always equate to 'improvement'. So, make sure to set aside your negative and positive biases, and make sure that you perform your analysis from an objective viewpoint.

2) Drive like you normally would:

Upon starting the test drive, make sure that you drive like you usually drive your car, so that you can see if everything feels normal.

If you want to assess the acceleration and speed, you should drive the vehicle on a highway, while a visit to the parking lot will help you assess the car's maneuverability in tight areas.

3) Check the features:

Assess the various features of the car that you are likely to use during your drive, such as:

  • Radio and GPS: See if you can safely adjust the radio and GPS while driving.
  • Bluetooth: Make a phone call during the drive to check out the Bluetooth function.
  • Climate control: Checking the climate control could involve adjusting the temperature or the blower strength.
  • Cruise control: Maneuver your car speeds while driving.

4) Avoid haste:

A professional test driver often drives for at least 10 miles to examine a specific criterion. Serious buyers do not allow the sellers to bully them into taking shorter drives (however, you must also provide for the possibility that the seller might be wary of joy-riders). So, if you are seriously considering purchasing a particular car, you could pay the seller an additional amount for a longer test drive.

5) Take another person with you:

If you feel that you are not very savvy when it comes to vehicles, you should probably take one of your friends or family members along for the inspection. Even if the person accompanying you is not very knowledgeable about vehicles, a second pair of eyes can only prove helpful during the assessment - if anything, they can at least give an opinion about the vehicle from a passenger's viewpoint.

A test drive is the most important aspect of a used vehicle inspection, so make sure that you go about it the right way - and we hope that this brief guide will prove to be a useful reference point in that regard.

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