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How To Test Drive a Car Properly

Shweta Ajwani
On your way to buy a new car for yourself? Don't forget to review these essential test-driving tips before you start. Know how to evaluate and test drive a car, here.
A bit of research about the kind of car you are interested in will go a long way in helping you evaluate the car against various parameters during the test drive.
The excitement of buying a new car can be overpowering, but the key is to not get carried away. The only prerequisite of a test drive is that you be sure of the kind of car you need and plan to buy. That narrows down the plethora of choices and makes it easier for you to choose from the huge variety.
Once you know the kind of car you are looking for, and your budget is set, only then should you move on to the next, and the most important step, of test driving the car. A test drive, essentially, is when you drive an automobile before buying it, to evaluate its performance, efficiency, comfort level, and various other parameters.
A major part of your decision to buy a car is influenced by the test drive you take. It is, therefore, the most important step of the entire process of buying a car. Here are the tips on how to test drive a car properly.

Don't Rush Through It

Set aside a day for the test-drive. Don't try to squeeze it in your daily, hectic schedule. Understand that buying a new car means huge and long-term investments.
Take the test drive when you are away from the everyday hustle-bustle, and in the right frame of mind. Making a hasty decision could affect your choice, and you might end up making a futile buy.

Ensure Ease of Parking the Car

Being able to park a car is of utmost importance, since whenever you take it out for a spin, you will undoubtedly have to park it.
During the test drive, try parking the car at two or three different locations, especially ones you would normally come across in your daily routine, like parallel parking. Check how comfortable it is to park and get out of the parking.
Parking a car requires you to make use of rear view mirrors; check if you get perfect visibility through these mirrors. If not, does repositioning the mirrors or the driver's seat make it easier to park? This exercise will also reveal if the car has any blind spots.

Familiarize Yourself with Features and Add-ons

Although the main purpose of a car is commuting from one destination to other, you should be aware of the extra features the car offers as well.
These include cruise controls, music controls, child-lock systems, window controls, seat, luggage rack, hood adjustments, and automatic features (if the car has any). Check for Bluetooth, phone, iPod, and radio connectivity as well.

Ensure Passengers' Safety and Comfort

This is the another important aspect to be checked if you are buying a family car. The comfort of the passengers is as important as that of the driver.
Once you are done driving the car and checking it from a driver's point of view, test the car from a passenger's point of view. How comfortable are the backseats, is there enough leg room, is it kid-friendly, is the suspension amount just right- these are some of the factors that need to be evaluated so that the passengers enjoy the ride as well.

Bring a Partner/Friend Along

Although you make sure that the car has been thoroughly evaluated, you might miss out on something that could be brought to your notice by your partner/friend. Also, your partner/friend will try to stop you if you make a hasty judgement.

Evaluate the Technical Features at a Fundamental Level

You might not be a car expert, but you sure can be an expert on your car. You are paying for it, make sure you understand everything about it.
Ask the salesperson to explain the technical terms and features in the simplest way possible, if you find them hard to understand.

Reflect on Final Considerations

You will probably have test driven many cars and left yourself the freedom of choices and options. Take a second, or even third opinion if needed. Don't get carried away by the advertising skill of the salesperson, and do reflect as much on the test drives you took. Respect your intuition as well, before taking the final plunge.

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These pointers should give you the basic understanding of how to test drive a car before you buy it. However, do not stop here. Feel free to ask the salesperson or your attendant at the car showroom if you have any more doubts about the car, and make sure you are perfectly satisfied and become well-acquainted with the car that you finally decide to purchase.