Test driving is an extremely important part of the car buying process. Not only does it allow you to get a feel for a vehicle before purchasing, but it also helps you see if it is a good fit for your lifestyle.

However, as important as test driving is, a lot of people do not do it right. That then can lead them to purchase cars they are not 100 percent happy with. To help you avoid this, we are going to look at how to test drive in order to find a car that is perfect for you.

How to Properly Test Drive a Car

The first part of test driving a car is knowing which one you want. Rather than just showing up to a lot and looking around, you should enter the dealership with a specific car or model in mind. Always ask yourself, “what car should I drive?” ahead of time to know what you’re getting into.

Once you have an idea of what car you want, make a trip to the dealership and take it for a spin. Some people may ask, “do you have to schedule a driver’s test?” The answer is no. You can go in and take a drive with no prior appointment.

When test driving a car, it is important to pay attention to the feel of opening the door. This is often overlooked, but it matters. Opening a car door, shutting it, and then opening it again can tell you about a vehicle. If the door feels flimsy or weak, then the car could be cheaply made.

During the test drive, it is important to turn the radio off. It can be easy to fall into your usual rhythm, but you want to pay as close attention to the vehicle. Listen for engine and road noise. If the radio, no matter how high-quality, is on during the drive, it could cause you to miss important details. If you want to check out the sound system, wait until you get back to the dealership.

Test Drive the Car Around Town

Another key part of evaluating a car is driving it in places that are similar to where you normally drive. Many salespeople will have a specific route they want you to take on the test drive because it will show off key features of the car. However, you want to make sure you get the car down a street where you might normally use it. If you do a lot of highway driving, a trip on the freeway works well. If you keep to side streets, then go down those.

The same rule goes for driving during the day or at night. It is important to drive at both times of the day to see how the car operates when it is light or dark out. Multiple test drives at different times of the day can be important.

Though it may sound strange, it is also a good idea to take the car to a grocery store or place with a similar crowded parking lot. It is not easy to understand the size of a car while you’re out on the road. Taking it around to smaller parking spaces or crowded areas will give you an idea of just how large it is. There is no sense test driving on the freeway and then getting stuck in a spot when you go to your local store.

The final tip for evaluating a car during a test drive is to check out the back seat. This can be very easy to miss (you’re the one doing the driving after all) but chances are there are going to be many people going in and out of your car. No matter if it’s friends or family, you’re going to be driving people around. You want to make sure it’s going to be a smooth ride.

One final note is to be aware of age when going to test drive. Of course, you need a valid driver’s license to test drive, but some dealerships may have different rules of regulations. Most lots will allow people who are 16 or 17 years of age to test drive a car if they are accompanied by a parent or legal guardian, while anyone 18 years of age can test drive a car on their own.

The Importance of a New Car Test Drive

A new car test drive is one of the best ways to properly evaluate a vehicle and can help you figure out if certain features are for you. There is a lot of be said about thorough research, but nothing beats getting behind the wheel and figuring out things for yourself. As long as you follow the above steps you will have your perfect car in no time.

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