When you buy a car, you use your head and your heart. Your head crunches the numbers and analyses the pros and cons. It looks at brake horsepower, fuel economy and price. It works out your financing options and prioritises the optional extras. It is you heart, however, that usually makes the final decision! How do you feel when you sit behind the wheel? It is your heart that tells you which is the perfect car for you. It’s the one that gets you excited and gives you butterflies.
Image credit: NRMA Motoring and Servic…
Often, you can tell just by looking at the car. But, most of the time, you need to take it out for a spin. That’s the only way you’ll get a true sense of the driving experience. Every little detail counts here. The roar of the engine, the response of the throttle, the thump of the sound system. These are things that only a good test drive will tell you. In this post, we’ll explain how to get the very best from a test drive.
Take your time
It’s really important to take as long as you need on a test drive. Buying a car shouldn’t be an impulse decision. It should be based on lengthy consideration and tests. Take the car out for at least half an hour. Take it for an hour if possible. Many dealers let you take the car out for a weekend or overnight.
In all likelihood, you won’t be the only one using the car. You might have children who will sit in the back. Your partner might accompany you every day in the car. If that’s the case, bring them along for the test! It will be their car too. How’s the leg room in the back? Is it comfortable for the passengers? Can you see out the back window with passengers? A passenger can also help keep the dealer chatting while you focus on testing the car.
If it’s a used car…
… Then the test drive is even more important. If you’re buying a used car, make sure you look and listen for signs of trouble. When it comes to used cars, many problems are hidden from the service history. Listen for any out of the ordinary noises or problems. Does the car feel right? Drivers will tend to notice any strange driving sensations that could be linked to trouble.
Drive it like you would normally
Most importantly, don’t hold back on the test drive! Push the acceleration and see how it performs under pressure. Hit the brakes hard and make sure it responds. If you love listening to music while driving, crank the stereo and see how it sounds! All these little details are important when it comes to your car. Take the vehicle out onto the motorway and then out onto country roads. Test it in different environments and make sure it performs.
Finally, be sure to ask plenty of questions while you’re on the drive. It’s a time when you’re in control and can dictate the conversation. Best of luck and don’t hold back!