When you are buying a car whether it be new or used, one of the crucial steps to ensure it is working correctly and to your satisfaction is to take it for a test drive. Missing out this step could lead to you having a problem with the vehicle that you didn’t know about and then finding out about it after you are in full ownership of the car.
This will then potentially cause complications whilst you book the car in for a check or repair which is a lot of inconvenience.
Checking for faults can be very difficult to do as if you are not a mechanic or car expert it is sometimes difficult to sense immediately if there is a fault to worry about. When driving the car on a test drive there will be some common things to look out for.
This includes ensuring that all the instruments on the dashboard are working correctly but also things like the window wipers are not worn and of an acceptable standard. When you are breaking, it is also pretty easy to know if your brake pads are worn or not. Generally you will feel slight shuddering or you may even hear then squeal.
As this is an item that can be worn out quite quickly and can be costly for a replacement then understanding these signs can help you determine whether this is an area you need to look into further (and question the dealership to prove to you the actual wear on the pads).
This may seem like a no brainer of a point but you should make sure that you are fully insured when taking a car for a test drive. Getting this wrong could have very serious consequences if you are to be stopped by the police or if you had an accident (even if it is not your fault).
If you are purchasing your car from a dealership, we wouldn’t anticipate that this is a problem (but still ask the question) however if you are purchasing this via a private sale then you should ensure that there is comprehensive insurance cover in place. It may even be wise for you to make contact with your own insurance company to ensure that you have all bases covered and get them to verify on your behalf.
People selling vehicles will look for your reaction when taking a test drive to gauge how much you like the car. If you get over-excited then they will think they have the deal in the bag at the price they asked for. On the other hand if you remain calm and inquisitive, you may be able to reduce the price offered on the vehicle.
Your behaviour in the test drive will contribute towards your negotiating position. Even if you are pretty sure that after the test drive that you want to purchase the car, it may be better to walk away and think about it over 24 hours.