Driver 101: 7 step-to-step process to do a proper test drive

Updated Feb 15, 2019 | Same topic: Best Advice for Car Buyers

Read on to know all useful tips and tricks when doing a test-drive!

Getting a car has never been easy, especially when it comes to a test-drive to evaluate a vehicle behind the wheel. It is the best chance for the buyers to check the car's overall performance as well as diagnose any problems with the engine, brakes or suspension. 

Drive-testing is important to do because it will help control the transaction, in the noobs favor! In this article, will disclose a step-to-step process to do a proper test-drive, helping buyers to be in control and should dictate the flow of the sale. 

How to test drive a car like a pro

I. Step-to-step process to do a proper test-drive

1. Check if any unexpected noise the car makes when moving 

While driving, try to hear all the unexpected noises the car makes. It is advised to check how the suspension does feel while the windows are opening. If the driving runs smoothly without any noise, then the unit is good.  The duration of test-driving should be long enough for a further check. 

2. Test the safety equipment in the car

All the safety equipment should be green and go. Indicators on the dashboard that light up will mean problems with equipment. All the airbags must be in working order, and the brakes must respond to sudden stops, and the seatbelts should tighten up when the brake is slammed hard. Double check on the hand-brake if the car can hang from an incline.

Test drive tips_Check seat belt

Ensure the safety features like seat belt is in perfect condition

3. Check out the AC 

While the car is running; let the AC run on auto to see if it gets cold. Check if the AC  ever loses cold during the test drive. The best option is automatic AC over a manual type. Pop the hood to check the AC tubing for possible leaks too, after the test drive.

>>> See also: 4 Hacks on How to Find Car Air Conditioner Leaks

4. Examine all the power function

It is also important to have other equipment in the car like the touchscreen and power functions reviewed. While inside the car; check all the power functions to see if all are in working condition. Put any finger or hand to check if the anti-jam sensor works! If any power function does not work, please take note of it.

5. Diagnose if any turn signal issues

Are all the side view, rear view mirrors, and the turning lights responding well? Take note if all the power rear-view, side-view mirrors work, and if the all the signals lights turn and are intact without busted lamps. These are vital driving aids that should be in working order.

Test drive tips_check turn signal

Turning signal lights should respond well for a safe driving 

6. Review the gear selector

How is the transmission and is it smooth or noiseless, and anything negative about it? Give the shifting a thorough workout; check for smoothness and quickness when shifting the transmission. Whether manual or auto; there shouldn’t be any roughness when driving.

Test drive tips_check the shift selector

Check if the gear selector runs smoothly or not!

7. Check the electrical system

Now, this is important! Check if the battery is good, and the electrical system has no grounded wires; that mean problems to be fixed.

II. Tips to avoid sales ploys during or after the test drive

No one ever said that all transactions are totally honest. Professional salesmen always have many selling tricks to persuade and make you love their car. Prepare yourself carefully with some tips to avoid sale ploys in order not to be a victim of car scams.

1. Prepare photocopies of necessary documents such as driving license or insurance paper 

Normally, salesmen will ask to keep your driving license or proof of insurance before handing the vehicle's key for you to go on a test drive. However, to extend the time of their persuasion, they often find some reason to keep your documents. So with the photocopies, you don't need to wait for so long to take back the original paper. 

2. Consider carefully before deciding to trade in

Knowing that you are keen on their selling car, the dealerships tend to ask for a trade in your current used car. Keep calm and tell them that you need time to consider. The reason is that it's a chance that they will take your car for evaluation during your test-drive. Your test-drive time, therefore, may be delayed.

3. Ask for a test-drive by yourself, without salesman alongside 

If you are allowed to do a test-drive on your own, without the observation of the salesperson, it is better to examine carefully every part of the vehicles. Additionally, more different roadways will be tested for your ride.

Test drive tips_ drive without salesperson

Without salesperson, you are free to do test-drive in different roadways

Either you purchase a new car or a second-hand one, all the tips and tricks to do a proper test-drive above will come in handy to secure a win-win option. 

>>> Click here to get more helpful tips and advice for your car buying

Norjan Ismail Abbas

Norjan Ismail Abbas


Norjan enjoys writing about various topics, and car is among them. Don't ever ask him which his most favorite car is since he has none. He believes each car is beautiful in its own way.

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