If you’re in the market for a car, whether it’s new or used, then it’s worth getting a complete picture of what you’re buying. This might mean looking at it up close from the outside and in, and going through its documentation. But ultimately, the only way to be sure of how a car performs and feels is to get into the driver’s seat and take it for a short test drive.
Let’s take a look at exactly why a test drive is such an indispensable step.
It’s a good chance to get a feel for the car
Every car on the market is slightly different, and if you have limited experience with different cars, you might end up surprised by the results you get from your new purchase. For best results, you should have a predetermined route in mind, which takes you through a range of different road types. Some dealerships might allow you to go for an extensive test drive, but for most, fifteen to thirty minutes is about par for the course. Make the most of them!
It’s a good chance to ask questions
If a salesperson thinks that you’re about to spend thousands of pounds on a car, then they might display an extraordinary amount of patience. Ideally, you’ll have a list of questions to ask prepared ahead of time. If you’re buying new, you’ll want to establish any differences between the model you’re buying and the one you’re driving. If you’re buying a used car, then you’ll want a strong idea of its history and quirks.
Of particular importance is insurance. If you’re buying from a dealership, then you’ll have the benefit of their insurance covering you during the drive. If you’re not, then it’s worth posing the question to your insurer, just to make sure that you aren’t going to suffer any unwelcome surprises later on.
It’s a chance to see the car in the flesh
It’s generally a very bad idea to buy a car on the strength of pictures that you’ve seen on the internet. Pictures can be framed in a misleading way, they can be outdated, or even digitally doctored. There doesn’t even have to be malicious intent: even the best and most honest photographer can’t capture the subject completely.
By looking at the car up close, you can detect all the flaws that a photo can’t capture. You might decide that there’s something you don’t like about the car, without being able to point at anything specific. Ideally, you’ll want to come to this realisation before you’ve come into ownership of the car – and that’s where a test drive is truly invaluable.