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How to Take a Test Drive

By: Sally Aquire - Updated: 5 Apr 2013 | comments*Discuss
Motoring Car Driving Arrange A Test

When you are looking for a car, taking the time to arrange a test drive is vital. A test drive usually takes place with you and the salesperson in the car. This is your best opportunity to find out as much as possible about how the car works and what its true condition is. This is often difficult to gauge without actually driving the car. This article offers advice on taking a test drive before you buy a new or used car.

Test the Car's Practicality

As well as testing the driving capabilities of the car, you should also test how practical the car will be. Check to see how easy it is to open the doors, bonnet, windows and boot. It is also a good idea to test the available loading space in the boot to see whether it is likely to be able to accommodate things like shopping.

Check the Seating Arrangements

Make sure that you will be able to adjust the driver's seat properly. This involves being able to slide the seat forwards and backwards easily, as well as being able to turn the wheel.

Although it might not be one of the first things that spring to mind during a test drive, it is a good idea to test the seating for passengers, especially in the back seat. If you will be needing to fit a child seat or booster seat, assess this too.

Test the Start-up

When you start the engine for the first time, listen carefully to make sure that it sounds healthy. A diesel-powered engine may make some clanking sounds initially, but this should soon revert to a more regular rhythm. After this, apply some light pressure to the clutch and move up through the gears to ensure that they are working properly without being too stiff.

Test How Much Noise the Car Makes

You can do this on a stretch of road on which it is legal to up your speed, such as on a motorway. Listen to the noise that the engine makes, as well as the noises made by the windows and doors (if they rattle). Factors such as these can quickly become annoying to put up with, so it is a good idea to take note of them early on.

Before you buy a new or used car, you should always arrange a test drive. It is often only by driving the car for the first time that you can pinpoint any potential problems and get a good idea of how the car works. If you can, arrange a test drive that lasts for an hour or more, so that you can get a full picture of this. It is best to take at least one test drive to make sure that nothing slips past you on the first test drive. It's easy to get caught up in the excitement of driving a different car for the first time, but taking a second test drive allows you to see things more objectively.

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