Test driving is one of the most exciting aspects of car shopping, and it’s often the deciding factor. You can be a lot more confident in your decision after you get a clear understanding of the automobile in question by testing out the features, feeling how it responds on the road, and deciding whether it’s comfortable enough, among other things. Before you go on a test drive, here are a few pointers to help you get the most out of your time.
Do Your Research and Bring Someone Along
Online shopping has radically improved the car-buying process regarding customer education on automobile options, features, pricing, and financing. While you’re carrying out preliminary research, it helps to know what qualities or traits matter most to you.
Don’t be afraid to ask a sales team member any questions. Bringing a knowledgeable friend or family member along with you is also a wise move. It’s easy for excitement to cloud judgment, and a second opinion during the drive could offer a more informed and objective perspective.
Remember: You Aren’t Just Testing the Drive
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You are test driving a car to see how it handles your daily needs, so operate it just like you would if you owned it. For instance, if you listen to music while driving, it’s worth bringing your phone and checking the Bluetooth/aux functionality, or whatever system you intend to use. You will not be able to replicate every single scenario, so make sure you cover the use cases that are most important to you. This way, there’ll be no surprises when you eventually take the vehicle home.
Avoid Distractions and Listen Carefully
The test-driving process is relatively straightforward. Dealership sales staff are pretty well informed to answer most, if not all, of your questions. Before you test drive any vehicle, allow the sales agent to walk you through the vehicle’s features, especially if you don’t know much about it.
If you have never test-driven a vehicle or you are about to test drive one that is different from what you are used to, don’t worry. Dealership staff often drive the vehicle first, before giving you a go at it. This offers buyers the chance to get comfortable with the vehicle before testing it themselves.
Pay close attention while the salesperson describes the vehicle’s features. Doing so could be the difference between satisfaction and buyer’s remorse. Now is not the time to respond to emails or allow excited kids or other family members to distract you. The more seriously you take this part of the process, the smarter a deal you’ll eventually land, and the happier you’ll be with the vehicle you buy.
Know Your Driving Preferences
Simply driving a car around the block will not tell you whether the vehicle is worth owning. Get it out of the lot and drive it around the neighborhood for at least 30 minutes. Don’t just drive it on quiet side streets; get out and see how it handles stop-and-go traffic, then locate a freeway and work your way through the fast lane. Find some steep hills to take it up and down if you can.
The idea is to see how it reacts to situations you are likely to encounter while driving around the Lewisville area. Try to replicate the driving conditions you face daily. In addition, consider how the vehicle performs and handles the road. Here are a few factors you may want to consider during a test drive:
- How easy is it to shift, if it’s a manual vehicle? Are the gears easy to engage? Is the transmission suitable to how you accelerate and brake?
- How does the steering feel? Too loose, too tight, or just right?
- How quickly does the vehicle accelerate off the line?
- Are all of the controls in a handy location and easy to locate?
- How responsive is the braking system? Like the steering, most drivers prefer somewhere in the middle between brakes that are not overly forceful and brakes that quickly stop the car.
- How does parking feel, especially with special guided or autonomous parking features?
- How is your visibility when driving? Can you adjust the seat to a pleasant height and position?
You will likely compare the vehicle you test drive to your current or most recent car, but the main factor is whether it’s better or not, and how. Consider how you felt when you were driving it after you’ve returned to the dealership. Don’t be surprised when you realize new factors that matter to you and want to try a different vehicle after a little more time.
Take Your Time and Don’t Rush the Process
Picking your next car can be scary, and some shoppers hurry themselves along, simply to take the stress away. Resist this urge and take your time. Ideally, test more than one vehicle before settling on one. You’re making a significant investment of not only money but also time. A test drive is the most direct way to judge if a vehicle is suited for you. Instead of the “buy it or don’t buy it” mindset, when you come into the experience with the goal of making a better, more informed decision, you will feel less pressure and be able to focus on testing the car.
When you return to the dealership lot, you may want to jot down your findings on paper. Writing down notes helps you solidify the information, even if you don’t end up looking at them again. It also ensures you don’t forget any critical issues you wanted to address.
With these tips in mind, you have nothing to fear regarding test-driving vehicles. The only factor that remains is choosing a dealer worth your time. Our skilled team at Huffines CJDR Lewisville is always willing to assist and answer any questions you may have. Browse our inventory at your leisure, and check out our amazing deals on cars, trucks, and SUVs by Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram, and other automakers.