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How to Test Drive A Used Car

Relax. Start the ignition. Use common sense and make careful observations.

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So you have performed a thorough pre-test inspection and are happy that the test vehicle is in good shape to drive? Even though the vehicle might pass the static inspection, a test drive is an essential part of buying a used car and can reveal many flaws that might not show up when the vehicle is stationary. Make the best of this opportunity to ensure you’re comfortable and that everything’s in good working order.
When taking the test drive, use your common sense, make careful observations, and know what to look for by studying the information in this document:

Make Notes

Being meticulous always pays off. Consider making a chart that covers the major areas such as: ride, noise, steering feel, tires, comfort, sound system, brakes, or anything else that’s important to you. Grade each area carefully to help with your decision.

Silence Is Golden

Keep your mouth shut – This is a good tip to remember when entering into any negotiation. Most people are uncomfortable with silence and makes them want to talk. Car owners will often start talking about problems when a squeak or rattle presents itself while driving the vehicle.

Don’t Be Rushed

Take your time while you are evaluating the car and don’t be distracted by seller’s pitch. If you’re serious about the car, don’t feel pressured into taking a short test, even if you feel the seller breathing down your neck! Negotiate with the seller how long the test drive can be. Try to allow at least 20 minutes for the drive and drive on all kinds of roads.
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