One of the most stressful parts of buying a car is the test drive. After all, unlike that ugly shirt you ordered online, returning a car after purchasing it is a long and complicated process. This is why it’s so important to make the most of your test drive so you can be confident in your purchasing decision.
Before you head down to a dealership, find out how you can maximize on your test drive and walk away with no regrets!
(Related story: Consumer Protection & ‘Lemon Law’: Why You Should Buy A Car From A Car Dealer)
1. Do Your Research
Before you head to a dealership, you should already know what kind of car you are looking to purchase. Don’t waste time looking around and instead make a shortlist of the cars you are interested in.
Additionally, schedule your test drives back-to-back and on the same day so that your thoughts on each car are fresh in your mind when you leave the dealership.
2. Bring A Friend
Two heads are better than one. A friend can not only help to mediate between you and the dealer but make sure that the transaction goes as smoothly as possible. Besides, someone with a different mindset from you can also point out things you have overlooked.
3. Make A Checklist
When you are at the dealership, it’s important to stay focused. Make a checklist for key things you are looking for in a car, and check them off against each car that you test drive. You should also take down notes for each car so you can keep your thoughts organised.
4. Plan A Route
Cars perform differently on different terrain. Be sure to decide on a route to places that you are likely to drive to frequently so you can test out how the car performs in these areas.
5. Inspect The Vehicle
This is a no-brainer, but inspecting both the interior and exterior thoroughly before you test drive is key. Check for scratches, rust, missing parts, stains and anything else unsavoury. You don’t want to end up purchasing a car only to find out that certain parts are in poor condition.
6. Check For Comfort
Once you enter the car, assess how comfortable it is for you. When you’re in the driver’s seat, take advantage of adjusting it to be as comfortable as possible. Take note of features like tilt functionality as well as upper and lower lumbar support.
7. Review Features
If the car has features that you are not used to, take some time to familiarise yourself with them. Don’t forget to take note of safety features such as airbags and seatbelts!
8. Drive It Like You’ll Own It
During the test drive, check for manoeuvrability, the noisiness of the car, brakes, visibility, and other things which might bother you if you end up owning and driving the car for a long period of time. The trick is to put yourself in the mindset that this car is already yours.
9. Ask Questions
Once you are done with the test drive, don’t rush to close the deal. Ask the salesperson as many questions as possible, including what the maintenance schedule is, what is included in the warranty, and what services the dealership can offer you.
10. Take Your Time
Last but not least, the most important thing is to relax and take your time to make sure you go over every possible detail regarding the test drive and the car. After all, it’s a big investment.