Four Things to Do When Test Driving a New Car

By Quentin Arthur (Freelance Contributor) | Posted on April 12th, 2019 | Last Updated on May 18th, 2020
By Quentin Arthur (Freelance Contributor)
Posted on April 12th, 2019. Last Updated on May 18th, 2020.
Four Things to Do When Test Driving a New Car

Just about everyone knows that you should never buy a car without first taking it for a test drive. However, if you are new to the car buying game, you may not know what to do or what to watch for during that test. In order to learn as much information about the vehicle as possible during your test drive, you should follow these four helpful tips.

1) Test all of the features 

A modern car is loaded with features, knobs, and buttons. You may not need them most of the time, but you should be confident that they will work if and when you do need them. Before you begin your test drive, try out all of the various tools and accessories in the vehicle, such as windshield wipers, seat adjustments, mirror adjustments, window controls, radio controls, and even the sound system. In order for you not to feel rushed, as the salesman is sitting in the passenger seat, waiting for you to figure out the GPS and radio, suggest that you will need some time to review everything, and that when you are done, you will seek them out for your test drive.  If everything works well, it's a good sign; if not, you've got a list of things to review with them.  Remember, you are likely buying the car as-is, so discovering that the defroster motor doesn't work, after the fact, may cost you.

2) Don't stick to predetermined routes

When you are out on a test drive, the sales associate who rides along may try to persuade you to do a quick drive around the block before heading back to the lot. However, this route most likely won't allow you to gain a complete understanding of the car's performance. The best way to do so is to test drive it on an unplanned route that includes both highway and city driving. This will allow you to get a better understanding of how the vehicle accelerates, how it slows down under braking, and the ease with which it turns in tight corners.  Drive the car the way you would drive it everyday, not like you would if you're on your driving test for your driver's license.  

3) Connect your smartphone

Smartphone connectivity has become one of the top features that potential car buyers look for. However, the ease with which you can connect your phone to the vehicle can vary quite a bit from one car to the next. Depending on the car you are in, you may be able to connect your smartphone with a simple touch, or you may have to navigate through menus and sub-menus to accomplish the task. Test the smartphone connectivity as a part of the test drive.  There's nothing more frustrating that not being able to listen to your music when you get a new car, and without some assistance, it can be a painful process.

4) Understand the new tech

If you are upgrading your car, you may encounter a host of new tech features that weren't there in your previous vehicle, such as advanced cruise control, automatic emergency braking, or lane keeping assist. Take the time to understand them and test them out before you make your purchasing decision.

The test drive is an important part of the car buying process. By following the tips contained in this article, you can ensure that your next test drive tells you everything you need to know about the vehicle.

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