Heading out to test drive a new car should be an enjoyable experience, but for many people it’s as nerve-wracking as a trip to the doctors – but with the help of our test drive tips, you can overcome those pre-purchase nerves and make the right decision.
Things to do before your test drive
As with so many things in life, preparation makes the chances of a positive outcome much more likely, but how do you get ready to try out a new car?
One of our most important test drive tips is to be prepared before you step into the dealership:
- Know what car you’re interested in
- Know what potential faults that model might have (if you’re buying used)
- Check the insurance situation
Insurance to test drive a car shouldn’t be an issue with a main dealer because they’ll be covered, but it’s a good idea to ask prior to your visit and then check with your own insurance provider if needed.
If you’re going to look at a specific car, ensure it has good service history and check the MOT history with the DVLA, because it’ll be a good indicator of whether the car has been cared for. If there’s a history of tyres being worn and wipers not being replaced, you can bet that the rest of the car has been neglected too.
The day of the test drive
Assuming that the car you’re buying is used, you need to have a comprehensive checklist to work through when checking the car over – make sure:
- The electrics all work
- The engine is clean
- There are no knocks when the steering is on full lock
- There are no oil leaks
- That the engine sounds smooth with no suspect (black or blue) smoke from the exhaust
It also pays to discuss the length of the warranty with the dealer and negotiate with them to deal with any small dents and scrapes, or lower the asking price accordingly.
Once you’re happy it’s time to turn the key…
The test drive
Try to take the test drive without the dealer so that you can concentrate. Leave the radio off and try to get a good feel for the car:
- Are the brakes solid?
- Is there any pulling under braking?
- Does the steering feel distinct?
- Are there any alarming clunks or noises from the engine or suspension?
Make sure that you cover all of the road conditions you’re likely to drive in – an extended test is a must, so don’t let the dealer bully you into a five minute drive!
Once the test drive is over it’s still not necessary for you to make a decision. Unless your gut is telling you that it’s a massive YES, you can walk away and think about it – don’t let the dealer pressure you into a sale there and then. Buying a car is a huge investment and you have to be sure, so take your time and wait until you’re ready, because there will always be other cars to test out if this one isn’t quite right.
Follow these simple test drive tips and we’ll soon see you pulling into Trafalgar Street Car Park with an absolute beauty of a new (to you) motor!