Making the final decision about your new car is often the hardest part. After hours of researching and scouring the internet, it’s time to get behind the wheel and test drive.
Whether you’re looking at a brand new car or a second-hand model, it’s vital that you test it.
The test drive will tell you everything that facts and figures alone cannot. Driving is often all about that gut feeling. Only the test drive can tell you if that vehicle is for you. So, what should you look out for?
Take your time
First of all, the important thing is to take all the time you need. Don’t feel pressured by the seller or the dealer, it’s important that you explore every aspect. You should aim to test drive the car for at least half an hour. That gives you chance to explore various different roads and driving conditions. Our friendly car dealers McDougal & Breen tell us they sometimes offer overnight test drives. If this is available to you, make sure you take it.
Drive like you would normally
It’s important to drive naturally in the car. Don’t hold back on account of the dealer or the seller sat next to you! Find a quiet spot to slam on the brakes, it’s vital that these are responsive. Push it to the top of the speed limit on a motorway and see how it fares. Is it comfortable and quiet? If you live down winding country roads, take it there and test it out. Reverse into parking spaces and get a feel for the vision around the car. If you have a young child, put the pushchair in the boot. Does it fit? Treat the test drive like a normal driving day.
Listen for signs of trouble
This won’t be much of a problem in a new car. But, if you’re test driving a second-hand model, listen out for signs of trouble. Most mechanical problems have a tell-tale sound accompanying them. Knocking from the engine is bad news. So is any squealing from the brakes or the fan belts. Essentially, if it sounds worrying, it probably is.
Take your family
If your children will be regular passengers, take them along for the ride. They’ll be using the car, just like you, so you’ll want their seal of approval. Is there enough space in the back? Are the seats practical and seatbelts comfortable? A friend or family member can also keep the dealer chatting and leave you free to test the car.
What is your gut instinct telling you?
Most importantly, trust your instincts. When it comes to buying a car, your brain makes all the logistical and financial calculations. However, your heart and emotional pull is just as important. How do you feel behind the wheel? Does it feel right? There are no criteria here, you’ll just know if you love it!
Once you’ve finished the test drive, it’s time to make a decision so don’t leave anything to chance. Get the most out of your test drive and make sure you drive home with the right car!