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When you’re in the market for a new car, it can be a pretty daunting challenge to find the perfect choice for you. There is so much to consider, and there are so many cars on the market. Your new car could even be someone else’s used car. No matter what you’re looking to buy, you can never underestimate the importance of the test drive. Car salespeople always want you to test drive a car because cars that are test driven are more likely to be bought. But your primary focus should be on getting the most out of your test drive without being distracted by a sales pitch. And if you’re ever pressured to buy a car without a test drive, do not fall into the trap. You should never buy a car without a test drive, period.
Knowing Your Facts
Before you test drive any car, you should try to learn as much as you can about it. You should research cars and come up with a few top choices before even setting foot inside the dealership. The more knowledgeable you are, the better prepared you’ll be to make the right decision. Learn about the features of the cars and the differences between the ones you like. But do not base your decision on those facts, and try not to determine your preference before you test drive. While it can be tempting to base your decision on things like safety ratings and added features, you simply cannot make the right decision until you’ve test drove the car, no matter how good it sounds on paper.
Getting the Feel
“Getting the feel” for the car is extremely important. Your test drive shouldn’t just be a couple spins around the block. You need a thorough test drive, so let the salesperson know you’d like to test the car on a variety of roads rather than just the route he has planned for you. You’ll want to drive in as many different conditions as possible, such as up a hill, on a highway, on an unfinished road, and in traffic making a variety of turns. The whole time you should be getting a feel for the way the car handles. You should enjoy driving the car, and it shouldn’t be difficult for you to maneuver. If it’s a used car, any driving difficulties, no matter how small, should not be ignored because they could signal a problem.
Checking the Details
The test drive will also allow you to test out many details that may seem minor but are actually incredibly important. Pay attention to how comfortable you feel in the seat, how well you can reach the pedals and all the controls, how easy it is to activate different controls while driving, and how much visibility you have in your mirrors. It’s also a good idea to ask your salesperson to do a little driving so you can check out what riding in the car is like for your passengers. Everything you learn from your test drive will ensure that you make the right decision and purchase a car you love.
Dan Wright is a freelance writer and father who works in Nissan sales. He is extremely knowledgable about the car-buying process and loves to give advice to others on how to get a good deal.
Photo Credit: eric..