Used Vehicle Shopping: Test Driving Steps You Need to Take

Car Test Drive Tips

Getting a used vehicle is an excellent way to save money and experience independence. However, when shopping for a used vehicle, it is crucial that you test drive the vehicle for a longer period of time instead of quickly around the block.  In fact, to help you get the most out of the experience, here are the steps you need to take when examining and test driving a used vehicle:


1. Examine the vehicle beforehand.

Before you even get behind the wheel of a vehicle, here are some things you should do:

• Check for any dents, cracks, or ripples in the bodywork
• Check the tires for wear and tear
• Check under the vehicle for any leaks when the engine is both running and off
• Lift the hood with the engine running and listen for ticks, knocks, or hisses
• Open and close all of the doors including the trunk to ensure they work smoothly
• Lock and unlock all of the doors both inside and out
• Ask the owner or salesman to operate the signal lights, brake lights, and headlights to ensure that everything is working correctly
• Check the hinges, door edges, and the carpet or pad in the trunk for rust
• Make sure that all of the features work, such as the air conditioning, radio, etc.
• Remove any air fresheners before the test drive to reveal any unusual scents within the vehicle

Fortunately, many reputable dealers will ensure that a used car or truck is in good working condition before reselling.  By working with reputable dealers, you can easily find used trucks in Texas, California, New York or wherever you live or wish to purchase a car.  However, to be completely sure about a vehicle’s history, you can get information from the Department of Justice’s National Motor Vehicle Title Information System for a nominal fee.


2. Make sure you hit at least 60 miles per hour.

When test driving a vehicle, it’s very important that you get the chance to hit at least 60 miles per hour. Unfortunately, many front-end problems may not be detectible when driving at lower speeds. While driving at higher speeds, you will need to check for if the front end vibrates, shimmies, or shakes.

Another important thing to test is the alignment. While traveling at a low speed, you should briefly let go of the steering wheel. If the vehicle is in good working condition, it should always continue going straight instead of pulling to one side.


3. Get a feel for the car.

No matter what speed you drive at, the steering wheel should not shake. It’s also very important that the transmission shifts smoothly.  Additionally, the brakes should not pull to the side or feel squishy when being applied.

Taking the vehicle out for a longer test drive will also help you determine how comfortable it is.  Even if everything is in working order, a car that is too uncomfortable to sit in may not be the best investment.


4. Listen for any unusual sounds.

When accelerating from a standstill, you should not hear any odd noises.  Additionally, a grinding or squealing sound while applying the brakes can indicate worn brake pads or even a damaged disc or drum.

By taking the above steps, you can make your next vehicle purchase a smart one.  If you found this used car shopping article helpful then make sure to Like it, share with your friends or post a comment below and say what you think.

Bill Nixon has purchased many used cars in his lifetime.  Now retired, he likes to share his sage wisdom with others by blogging on the Web.


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