You’ve found your dream car, now’s the time to take the test drive…
… And this is the most crucial part of buying a used car. This is where you’ll decide whether or not to buy, so we’ve listed ten points to remember during your test drive. Bear these in mind to make it truly count, so you can get the absolute most of out of that time spent behind the wheel.
1. Don’t forget your driving license
If you’re heading down to cartime, don’t worry - you won’t ever be asked to tackle a huge stack of paperwork before your test drive. All you need to do is bring a valid UK driving license with you. Simples!
2. Ask, ask and ask again!
On a test drive, remember that questions are your friend. Don’t be afraid of asking too many – this is the time to make sure every little detail is perfect. Our team are there to answer anything and everything – an advisor will come along with you for the drive, so use the time wisely… Feel free to grill ‘em!
3. Get comfy in the driver’s seat
If you do choose to buy, you’ll be spending a lot of time here! Get yourself into a good, comfortable driving position before you set off. Adjust the seat, steering wheel and mirrors so that the set-up replicates exactly what you’re used to (well, an improved version of course!). If you’re not sure how, remember Point 2 and just ask – your co-pilot will help you find the thingamabob, so you can shift the seat into place.
4. Is there enough space inside?
Only once you’re sitting comfortably in the driver’s seat will you get a proper sense of the car’s interior. This is the time to check that it’s large enough for your needs. Be realistic – if you’re after a sporty model, you might have to compromise a little on extra space. Also consider any future changes in your circumstances that might impact your choice. Baby on the way? Back away from the Porsche Boxster my friend… Unless you’ve got a super small buggy!
5. And what about the boot?
Same rules apply - although you don’t need to actually sit inside the boot to get a feel for the space. If you enjoy the odd weekend away (who doesn’t?) or play a lot of sport that requires equipment (yes, shopping does count) then your boot needs to be able to cope with a larger load. Don’t forget to fold down the rear seats to see the space’s true potential!
6. Familiarise yourself with the controls
Now you know the interior boot to front, it’s time for the fun part. Familiarise yourself with all the controls, buttons, dials and instruments dotted around the dashboard. Got a special feature that you’re looking for? It might be there with an unfamiliar icon on the button. Remember to ask; your advisor will be clued up enough to point you in the right direction.
7. Try it out on your kind of roads
Testing the car on the kind of roads you’ll be using most is important. It’s no good heading for the motorway if you rarely leave smaller residential roads – likewise if you generally stick to busy, built-up areas with lots of traffic. At cartime we’re fairly flexible with our test driving routes, enabling each individual to get an accurate feel for their potential new purchase.
8. Don’t forget to practice parking
Parking is the aspect of motoring that people struggle with most. Sometimes, it can be tricky – so always try it out on the test drive to see how the car performs. Pay close attention to size and manoeuvrability, ensuring that your vision isn’t obscured and the blind spot is manageable. Find a car that ticks all these boxes and your parallel parking will soon be perfect.
9. Remember it’s a TEST drive – and test EVERYTHING
And we mean everything, including all the electrics. Make sure you spend a good deal of time checking the gadgets and features of the car. Advanced in-car technology is a wonderful thing, but it can be expensive to fix if it goes wrong. Does the air-conditioning blow cold enough? If the car you’re looking at has extras such as heated seats, satellite navigation or Bluetooth connectivity, ensure they work as you would like them to.
Try pairing your phone to the car, or have the navigation on for a portion of the test drive. Some systems are more intuitive than others, and if you use postcodes to navigate by regularly, a system that won’t accept them, or takes only partial postcodes, could be a real inconvenience.
10. Take your time
You’re not just assessing the condition of the car and its features - you’re finding out how useable it is for you. Being stuck with the wrong car can be a daily headache, and extra time spent with the car before purchase could save you a lot of annoyance after you’ve paid for it.
We want you to feel completely happy and certain you’re making the right choice, so we’ll never hurry you through your test drive. And if you decide the car’s not for you, no problem – with over 400 makes and models to choose from, we’ll help you find something else easily!
To book your test drive today, simply give one of the team a call on 0161 822 8754.