Before You Drive:
Start by adjusting the steering wheel, mirrors and seats for optimum visibility and comfort. Sometimes the seller will roll the windows down, turn on the radio and start talking immediately when you start the car. It may be because they’re trying to cover up a noise or hidden car problems they don’t want you to know about. Make sure you roll up the windows, turn off the radio and ask for silence to help you focus on the car itself.
Drive the exact model you’re interested in – down to the trim. Ask the seller if you can take your own route for the test drive. Make sure the route you take is similar to your daily routine. Take it on the highway and side streets so you are able to get a feel for all driving conditions. Before, during and after your test drive, ask yourself “Can I imagine myself driving this car everyday”? If you have doubts, then you may want to continue your car buying search.
Pay Attention To:
Let’s not forget why you’re taking the car for a spin – you want to see how it drives! Pay attention to the ride quality, handling and engine power. Ask yourself if you feel comfortable and if you have any difficulties driving it. Listen to the noises the car makes. Do they sound normal? Test the brakes to see if they work properly. When going to park the car, see how it maneuvers and how easily the car fits into a parking space. Get the vehicle identification number (VIN) or license plate (if it’s a private seller) and run a Carfax Vehicle History Report to help discover hidden car problems.