What to look for when Test Driving a Car

What to look for when Test Driving a Car - It's tough for car drivers in today's financial climate what with increased fuel prices and increasing road tax costs. But despite the financial drain, most of us couldn't really do without our cars as we rely on them for so many reasons to help out with everyday life - getting to work, getting the weekly shopping, getting the kids to school and visiting our friends and families and so on. For most people, their car is the second most expensive item they will purchase after their home. It's because of these reasons that test driving a car, before you buy, is so important whether it's a new car or a second hand car. In this article I hope to show you how to get the most from your test drive to help ensure that you get a car that fits your needs and budget.

Take your time, there's no rush. Don't let the salesperson speed up the test drive you need to take time to check that the car is right for your needs. Get comfortable; be sure you can adjust the seat and steering wheel/column so you're comfortable. Familiarise yourself with the controls and check that you can see the instruments clearly and reach the controls easily. If you have kids with you then get them settled into their seats and make sure to fit your child seats if required. It might make the test drive a bit noisy taking the family along, but try not to distracted from the job in hand and remember that it's better to hear the children's complaints about the car now, rather than every time you take them out in it after you have bought it.

Most dealerships will already have an idea of a good test route but if you will be spending most of your time on motorways then try to get at least part of your test drive on similar roads or dual carriage ways. Try to spend some time in heavy traffic where you will get to see how the car feels in stop-start conditions. Check you can get the car into all gears smoothly without crunching. If the clutch doesn't start biting until the pedal has nearly reached the top, the clutch could be worn and may need to be changed.

Is the steering easy to use? The steering should be responsive. You should feel no vibration or 'free play'. The brakes should give you confidence and should stop the car in a straight line.

Safety: New cars are almost always safer than older ones as technology and design evolve to make things safer for the driver, passenger and pedestrians. As a result of some of these new changes you may find that your view is more obscured in some cars than others. Check your view out of the rear view mirror and coming up to roundabouts. See if there's good all-round vision without blind spots. Try reversing into a parking space to check you have good visibility to the rear.

For older cars make sure that the heating and air-conditioning work correctly. It may not be very comfortable to have the heating on while test driving the car on a summers' day or the air-conditioning while test-driving a car on a winters' morning but better to know that the climate controls work now than regret later. Our cars are used for many different reasons. You need to be sure that the car will suit your needs - Make sure there's enough space for shopping bags, luggage, etc, and check you can fold the rear seats easily. If the car has removable seats, find out if it's easy to take out and re-fit the removable seats. Check the boot's sill is low enough for you to lift heavy items in and out. Will you be able to unload shopping and luggage easily from the back?

There's plenty to look out for when you take a car for a test drive but hopefully these tips will steer you in the right direction.Most of all try to enjoy your test drive; after all it's all part of the excitement of buying a car.
What to look for when Test Driving a Car