How To Get The Most Out Of Test Driving A Used Car

Automotive Articles

You probably already know that taking a used car for a test drive prior to making a commitment to purchase is an essential component in successfully buying a used vehicle, but you may not know how to how to take an effective test drive. It involves ensuring that the vehicle operates well under a variety of road conditions, ergonomics, research on the make and model of the car and how well the vehicle will suit your individual needs and preferences. Following are several strategies to getting the most out of a test drive.

Do Your Homework

Take some time to research the vehicle before the test drive. Look at various online consumer reports and be sure to check out the Kelly Blue Book to ensure that the seller's asking price is reasonable. You can also do a search for prior recalls and repairs using the car's vehicle identification number (VIN) on the U.S. Department of Transportation's website. Don't be afraid to ask the seller for the VIN -- reputable sellers won't hesitate to give you this information. Do your research the night before the test drive so that the information is still fresh in your mind.

Prepare a Route in Advance

This is also something that you should do the night before you take the vehicle for a test drive. Using an Internet app, plan the route so that it includes a variety of traffic situations such as stop-and-go traffic, congested areas, highways, and hills. The test drive should be about thirty minutes long, so don't let the owner convince you to simply drive the car around the block.

Visually Inspect the Vehicle Prior to the Test Drive

You should always perform a visual inspection prior to the test drive. Very few used cars are going to be without a few dings and scratches here and there, but numerous chips and scratches near the wheelbase is an indication that the car may have been driven frequently in bad road conditions. You should also check the tires at this time for worn tread and to ensure that they are properly inflated, inspect the interior of the trunk, and check the inside of the vehicle for rips, stains, and other damage to the upholstery. You might also want to take this time to look over the vehicle's maintenance records -- the seller should be willing to supply them.

Things to Check During the Drive

There are several things that you should check during the test drive. They are:

  • The brakes. Find an area with little traffic, bring the vehicle to the legal speed limit, and step on the brakes. The brake pedal should feel firm rather than squishy and soft, and the vehicle should stop easily without listing to one side or the other.
  • The alignment. Find an area with a smooth surface and little traffic. Take your hands off the wheel when it's safe to do so -- if the vehicle veers to one side, that's a possible sign of alignment issues.
  • The shocks. Drive over a bumpy surface at a reasonably slow speed. If the car shimmies and wiggles excessively, it may be in need of new shocks.
  • The steering. The steering wheel should move easily, and there should be no lag at all in the steering time.
  • The transmission. Whether it's a stick or a shift, pay attention to how easily the vehicle switches gears.

You'll also want to take the car into a parking lot and see how easy it is to park. If you routinely parallel park, make sure to test the vehicle's performance in that area a well.

Always have the car thoroughly inspected by an independent mechanic prior to purchase. If you have any doubts, keep in mind that there are plenty of quality used vehicles available in today's marketplace from dealerships like Grey Chevrolet Inc.


6 February 2015

auto body problems that have horrible results

Have you been overlooking the chipped paint on your car? Maybe you have ignored the rust that is forming on the quarter panels. Allowing these auto body problems to persist will lead to rust which is devastating to a car. Once rust begins to form, it can be difficult to put a stop to. Working with an auto body shop to repair any scratches or dents in your car can preserve its appearance and keep the car in solid condition. I have provided a few instances in which an auto body problem was ignored and what happened to the car after a few months had passed. Use these examples to help you learn when to take your car in for work.