The Test Drive: How to do it proper.

Buying a car, new or used is an exciting time. At My1stMotor we don’t want to dampen your excitement with the serious matters, but hey, it’s our job to inform. Test Driving a car is a VITAL part of the buying process – that’s the obvious bit. So, here’s a few thoughts on getting the most out of the test drive.

  1. Take a pal on the journey – It’s always good to get an independent view of the how the car feels. Not just how comfortable the seats are, but the feel of the ride. If you have friends like ours, they’ll be poking and prodding around at all the little gadgets and gizmos while you’re taxiing them around. While this can be annoying, they can tell you if something isn’t working properly. Encourage them to go all out – open the windows, move the seats back and forth, check the seat-belts, heater – even the cig lighter. Trust us, you’ll be glad they were there.
  2. Before you start test driving – check the outside, make sure the tyres look safe. Is it easy for you to get in and out of the car? Can you adjust the steering wheel for your height? Try to visualize yourself driving the car accounting for its size and width. You’ll be surprised how this can help you be more confident and get more out of the test drive.
  3. The road is open – use it. Many people feel obligated to just drive around a corner. You’re in the car now, make the most of it. Take 30 minutes or an hour (definitely if you’re buying from a dealer). If you’re near a motorway, get on it, try overtaking – checking for acceleration and the car’s blind spots. Go up some hills – does it struggle? Take some corners at speed (within the legal limit of course) – does it embrace them with a warm hug, or can you feel it about to lose control. Try an emergency break. Are the brakes responsive? If there is a SAT NAV system, get a quick tutorial and put in an address some distance away to check it doesn’t land you in the middle of the ocean.
  4. When you get out of the car – and if you’re feeling like this could be the one, be sure to check all the innards of the car, and the outside. Do all the seats move back and forth? Do the rear seats fold down properly? Is the paintwork scratched? Assume the car is yours, and treat it as such. Consider the boot size – will the dogs fit comfortably?
  5. Be Chatty with the Owner/Dealer – Ask everything you want to, with no hesitation. Don’t be put off by responses like ‘of course it does’ and ‘yes, obviously’. You will be parting with hard earned money – so don’t be afraid to ask difficult questions about the cars’ history or capabilities.  If you’re buying a used car, ask about the most recent repairs, or servicing flags and warnings. You could even ask ‘Is there anything wrong with the car?’ It isn’t always easy to be bold, but unforeseen problems are a real headache, and you want no regrets.

So, all the best with your test drives, and as always, be safe, be free with My1stMotor.