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How to Test Drive a Used Car

Christine Spencer

Auto Loan Expert

Everyone knows that one of the most important things for a car buyer to do is to take the car for a test drive. This is especially true with used cars because they have a greater risk of breaking down or needing repairs because of basic wear and tear, or because the car’s previous owner(s) didn’t take proper care of it. While everyone knows that you should take a used car on a test drive, not everyone knows what you should look for on that test drive, so we’ve put together a handy guide to help you out.

Starting the Test Drive

Buyers should start evaluating the car as soon as the test drive starts. One of the best things to do is listen to the engine when it starts. If it sounds like the engine is coughing or takes some time to settle into a rhythm then that is a warning sign something is wrong.

Another thing that buyers should check for when starting the test drive is unusual smells coming from the car. Strange smells can be a sign that there’s a leak of some kind, or that the engine isn’t mechanically sound. Moreover, the scent when your car starts can tell you if the previous owner smoked, which is important for those sensitive to smoke or who are afraid that the smell will never go away. Finally, strange smells, like burning dust, can tell you if the car has been sitting idle for an extended period of time, which could lead to other issues.

How to Test Drive a Used Car

Setting Out on the Test Drive

Once the car is started it’s time to give it a whirl. In the beginning of the test drive it is important to pay attention to the visibility the car affords you. This will help you determine how safe the car is and how comfortable you’ll be driving it. Furthermore, establishing your visibility is an important step to ensuring you don’t get into an accident on the test drive.

The next thing to check is the turning. Getting a feel for the turning radius of the car will give you an idea of how easy it will be to use on a day-to-day basis. For example, if you need to make a U turn to get into your work, you won’t want a car with a poor turning radius.

The first few miles of a test drive are also a good place to listen to the mechanics of the car. The engine should be operating smoothly with no change in rhythm or pace. Pay attention to squeaking or grinding noises, especially when breaking, turning, transitioning between gears, and accelerating, as this can be a sign of serious issues. It doesn’t matter if you have the best used car loan rates Canada if the car’s transmission is going to have to be replaced soon.

Make sure that you take the car out to the freeway. This is a good place to test the car’s acceleration from moving, as well as to check the visibility for surrounding cars. Finally, the freeway is also a good place to listen for issues especially when changing speeds or gears. Used car loans don’t come cheap, and a proper test drive is one of the best way to ensure that you are getting a good value on the car.

Using the Test Drive

Once you’ve finished with the test drive, you can use the information to help make a decision about the car. Especially if you have to finance. Used car loan terms are often unforgiving, so getting a used car loan, even a used car loan Philippines, can be disastrous if the car breaks shortly after buying it.
Another thing that you can do is use information from the test drive to attempt to get a better price. This can be advantages, especially if you’re getting a used car loan for private seller. Most car sellers are sympathetic to the idea that signs of potential future problems are a good reason to reduce the cost of the car. Not only does the lower price help customers out, but it can also help sellers realize that a lower price is the best chance they’ll have to sell their used car.