How to Test Drive a New Car

Published on October 14, 2013 by Guest Author

Filed under DIY (Do It Yourself), Lifestyle

Last modified March 20, 2014

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Your brand-new car depreciates by an average of 20 percent the moment you leave the car lot, so you want to be absolutely sure you buy the best car for you. Knowing how to test-drive a new car will help you to do that.

How To Test Drive A New Car

How to Test Drive a New Car

Research the car well before going to the dealership. It’s easy to overlook important aspects of the vehicle while on a test drive. You should have an idea of the price you are prepared to pay. The test drive will help you further assess the car’s value. In fact, you should perform a thorough inspection of the vehicle before you leave the lot. If anything about the interior design dissuades you, it will be easier to make a sound decision before you get behind the wheel.

Step One: Set up the test drive

It may be necessary to inform the salesperson of your intention to test everything about the car, and you intend to take as much time as necessary. You may be encouraged to take the car out alone, which will help you concentrate. Some dealers allow potential buyers to keep a vehicle overnight. Before agreeing to such an arrangement, make sure you understand your liability should anything happen to the vehicle.

Step Two: Check out the options

Test Driving CarThe next rule of how to test-drive a new car is to try out all the options. You should check the trunk space, glove box, console, storage bins and cup holders. Note whether you have any difficulty entering the car. Then imagine doing it with a cup of coffee in your hand on a Monday morning. Try out the seat belts, visors and interior lighting. Turn the stereo on and try the controls for the air conditioning. Sit in and adjust the seats. Consider the size of the interior and your comfort level. Look in the glove box for the car’s manual and read any special instructions about filling fluids or changing spark plugs.

Step Three: Fuel economy

Read the section about which grade of fuel the car requires and how the car behaves in your climate. The cost of gas in 2013 is an important factor, and a vehicle’s fuel economy depends on how easily it can handle road conditions. See if the manual mentions mpg fluctuations.

Step four: Feeling out the performance

It’s time to roll. Don’t be timid; give it some gas to test the acceleration. Pay attention to the transmission as it shifts through all the gears and then test how the car downshifts. Listen for noise from the road, engine or wind resistance. Get a feel for the suspension and steering and heed the overall performance. Check your visibility from all directions, and test how easy the dashboard controls are to maneuver while driving. You will need to learn how the car handles corners and how well it idles and accelerates in traffic. A new car should have antilock brakes, but if it doesn’t, you can stomp on the brakes to find out how well they respond.

Step 5: Post-test drive

After you’ve put the car through its paces, you will be equipped to make an informed buying decision. You will also have taught the salesperson how to test-drive a new car. Be mindful; the salesperson will try to hook you during your drive. Now that you are fully prepared to buy a new car, contact reputable dealers in your area and start setting up the test drives.

Alex Gabriel is a writer at Reply! with several years of digital marketing and copywriting experience. A native of Portland and graduate of the University of Oregon, Alex has a passion for writing about new cars. To learn more about the safest cars, see his guide on new cars and prices.

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