Tips for Test Driving a Used Car

Though many people prefer the “get in and get out” version of car shopping, skipping test driving, each vehicle would be a colossal mistake. All cars drive differently, and challenges such as uncomfortable blind spots or a reduced turning radius are challenging to identify based on the eye test. Test driving each vehicle for a few miles allows you to pick up on these problems as well as a few others when you get out in the open road. There is no need to do all this alone; we recommend bringing a friend with you to help you who can help identify different little quirks about the vehicle while you’re at the controls. Remember though, you’re the one making the decision so don’t let anyone force you into a hasty purchase. Below are five more tips that can assist you when you are test driving a used car.

1. Make Sure You’re Comfortable
Before heading out to the dealership, it’s essential to call ahead and schedule an appointment with a salesperson. That way, the salesperson will have the car ready and waiting for you when you show up. When you get in the vehicle, before turning the key, take some time to get comfortable first. Perhaps you should take some time to get in and out of the car to make sure that the seats aren’t back-breaking. Be sure to adjust the mirror, move the seat to a comfortable position, and look over your left shoulder to look for blind spots. We know that this might seem pointless, but keep in mind that you’ll be having to drive this car for a while and little problems can add up over time. If there is an infotainment system, consider playing with the controls and adjusting the radio. We recommend letting the air conditioner run for a bit as it can be a problem for used cars and, no matter what anybody tells you, is not an easy fix.

2. Drive the Car Like Your Going to Buy It
Before you start driving, turn everything off in the car as you want to be able to focus. Try taking the vehicle where there is a lot of stop-and-go traffic in addition to taking it out on the highway. While driving pay attention to the cars steering and handling to look for potential problems. It’s also recommended to take the car on some tight roads to listen for any inherent squeaks or groans coming from the chassis.

3. Drive in Bad Weather Conditions
If possible, try test-driving your car in bad weather. While nobody wants to drive a car in a downpour, picking a rainy day certainly has its upside. For starters, foot traffic to dealerships slows down on bad weather days and driving a car in the rain will help you asses the traction on the car’s tires. Make sure you see how well the wipers work as while we all want to drive under blue sky’s eventually, you’re going to get caught in a thunderstorm.

4. Parking
It’s vital to practice parking a few times to see if it’s easy getting in and out of spaces as well as parallel parking. This is also an excellent time to test out the car’s safety features to see if they are working correctly. If you’re test-driving a full-size truck and SUV, it may have parking sensors. As of 2018, all new cars come equipped with a reversing camera, but this technology isn’t uncommon in older cars either. If you are test-driving a car with a reversing camera, a parking test is an excellent opportunity to test it out.

5. Negotiate
When you have completed your test-drive, let the dealer know what you like and didn’t like about the car. While it can be very tempting to start talking about price, keep in mind you will be in a better position to negotiate if the salesperson knows you are looking elsewhere. Take some notes before you leave the dealership and let the salesperson know you are looking over some other vehicles. When you are ready to negotiate, you can use the valuable information you’ve gathered from the test drives to help make a great purchase.

If your thinking about buying a used car, we here at Pinckney Dodge Chrysler Jeep RAM have a wide selection of used vehicles at the dealership! You can also speak with one of our friendly and helpful salespeople to help you make an informed decision. Feel free to browse our inventory or stop by and test drive yours today!