Drive It

How to Test Drive A Used Car

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

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Steering & Alignment

The steering should be responsive with no vibration nor have any ‘play’ or delay in response. If equipped, check whether the steering wheel buttons and adjustment control works. While driving, make gentle (about 20 degree) consistent turning motions with the steering wheel to either side a few times. Check whether the steering has any dead spots or uneven response that could indicate problems.
To check the alignment, drive a straight line and relax your hand off the steering wheel when it is safe to do so. See if the car keeps going straight without veering to one side. If it pulls to the side, have the tyre pressure checked. If the pressure is in order, the front end alignment may have issues.

Be Responsible

Your test drive should be performed in a manner that does not violate any traffic rules. Drive normally, and be attentive to everything about the car. Once you get comfortable with the vehicle, ask the seller if you can drive the car at a more aggressive pace, but stay within the speed limit. As mentioned earlier, a good place to test the acceleration of a car as at a highway on-ramp.

End of the Drive

If you feel you have found a good candidate, ask the owner if the car can also be independently inspected, before committing to the purchase. If you have any doubts, walk away. There are lots of other cars for sale.
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