So, you’ve done the mental work of building your dream vehicle inside your head, but now, it’s time to get behind the wheel to see how your wish list correlates with the real deal. With so many things to consider, it’s important to see how the vehicle suites you and your lifestyle. That being said, use these 10 tips to take full advantage of your test drive before making the big investment!
Step 1- Ask a friend or family member to tag along on the test drive.
It can never hurt to have an extra set of eyes with you when making a big decision. This will give you extra coverage with noticing any possible red flags to do with the vehicle during the test drive. Maybe even have them take notes on the positive and negative details so you can overview them afterwards! And don’t forget to let them have a chance in the driver’s seat too!
Step 2- What are the essentials?
Maybe you’re planning on growing your family and will be needing a vehicle with top notch safety features and room for storage or maybe you’re moving to an area with colder weather conditions and searching for a truck that’s super snow durable with cozy heated seats/heated steering wheel. Maybe you’re just looking for an all-around upgrade while on your adventures. Regardless, everyone is in different stages in life, so plan ahead and do some thinking about what features will be important to you in your future travels.
Step 3- Plan your test drive route.
It’s super important to test drive the vehicle in different environments, such as: stop and go lights, bumpy roads, highways for fast speeds, parking lots and even your own driveway/garage! Do some research on the best route in your location to take your test drive.
Step 4- Before leaving the lot, get to know the vehicle.
We know… Its super difficult to contain the excitement of driving a possible new vehicle, it’s easy to just shift into drive and go right away, BUT there’s a few things to look at before starting the test drive. First things first, check the gas level in the vehicle to make sure you have enough time do a proper test drive. Next, position your seat to your comfort, adjust your mirrors accordingly. Don’t forget to pick your favorite radio station for some back-round music! Once you’re all set there, check out the feel of the vehicle. Get in and out a few times, test how long it takes for the heat to kick in and start the vehicle and listen to it from the outside. Take this time to get a close inspection of the interior and exterior.
Step 5- Drive Practically.
While on your test drive, pay close attention to anything that might irk you overtime. Does the vehicle have the power you need? Does it shift smooth enough for you? Keep your ears open for any sounds that might sound unusual.
Step 6- Assess the handling.
It’s crucial to note how the vehicle feels physically to you specifically. Try turning the steering wheel a few times and make a variety of left and right turns to make sure it feels right. Are the seats comfortable for you? Evaluate if what the vehicle has to offer is best suitable for you and your comfort needs.
Step 7- Brake check.
During your test drive, give your dealer and any passengers you have in the vehicle a heads up that you’re wanting to test the brakes. Brake both soft and hard to get the full effect/feel. Did it brake smoothly, and give you confidence? Is the vehicle pulling to one side at all? These are all pivotal things to look out for while braking on your test drive.
Step 8- Parking.
Get to know the blind spots of the vehicles by parking in different ways. By parallel parking and backing into a variety of different spots, it’ll help you see more angles of the vehicle. Does the vehicle a “self-parking” feature? Ask your Sales Professional for a demo of that feature and make sure you are comfortable with how to use it.
Step 9- Evening Cruise.
If available, ask your dealer if you can do another test drive at a later hour or to even test it overnight! Certain aspects of the vehicle are better tested in the darker hours, mainly being the headlights and dash lights. If need be, we will of course do our best to accommodate.
Step 10- Take your time and have fun!
A proper test drive can take up to 30 minutes, so don’t rush the process! Making such a big commitment, it is only right that you have the appropriate time to contrast and compare. Take some time to forget about your checklist and just enjoy the ride! We suggest test driving more than one vehicle so you can feel out what best suites you!
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Bonus tips for winter test drives:
- Since you’re most likely going to be wearing winter shoes of some sorts, try bringing a pair of sneakers to change into before getting into the vehicle on your test drive. try this for 2 reasons:
- To avoid the interior of the vehicle doesn’t get dirty and wet.
- Wearing a more flexible pair of shoes can actually give you a better feel of the vehicle compared to bulkier winter boots.
- It’s important to still test the vehicle at low and high speeds. As winter tends to make the roads a little nerve racking at high speeds, ask your dealer if it’s okay to do your test drive in an empty parking lot to be safe.
- Bundle up so you can still test the air conditioning!
- If there’s snow on the vehicle, politely ask your dealer if it can be brushed off or brought to our wash bay so you can see the exterior fully.