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Tips for test driving a car

Top tips for test driving a car

A test drive is a great opportunity to get to know your potential new car. Giving it a good run allows you to get a feel for the type of drive the vehicle offers, as well as to uncover any faults or mechanical issues.

Choose a varied driving route - you're not going to learn much about the car if all you do is drive up and down a straight road. Try to include a mixture both of challenging roads you know - and some you don't. If possible, test the car at different times of the day to experience it in different lights and even under various weather conditions.

It's really important to start the test drive when the engine is cold, if it's warm it could be hiding start up issues. The engine should be quiet and there should be no unusual rattles or clunks from the suspension. You should be able to pull away smoothly without any excessive smoke from the exhaust. The brakes should be responsive and precise and there should be no pulling to one side or wobbling of the steering wheel. You should be able to change gears smoothly and if the clutch pedal travels a long way before getting to the biting point, it could be a sign that it is worn.

How to Get the Most from a Test Drive

Think about what you want from a test drive before you start. Ask yourself:

  • Can I get into a comfortable driving position?
  • Can I reach and operate all the controls effectively and see the instruments easily?
  • Is it going to suit my needs - is there enough room for my passengers or personal belongings?
  • Do I feel comfortable and safe driving the car?
  • Will I enjoy driving it?

Top Tip: Never buy there and then - at the end of the test drive, always walk away and think it through

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