You may have seen my Ultimate Test Drive Checklist from a few months ago, if not, check it out here. This article covered the basics of test driving, but if you're a serious buyer then you might want to dig a little deeper. So, if you're keen to know more, here are some more ideas on how to get the best out of your test drive.
Does It Work?
If you're buying a nearly new car from Thame Cars, it will be up to our perfect nearly new standards with the remainder of its manufacturer's warranty. However, we can’t speak for other dealerships standards, so you should undertake some of your own checks. Start by trying out the windows, air conditioning and anything else that's electric to make sure there are no faults. When you're driving, make sure the steering isn't too heavy and that the car doesn't pull or lurch when you brake. Nevertheless, it's not just about the mechanical. Connectivity is a big factor these days as most cars are now equipped with Bluetooth or auxiliary ports that connect your phone or other tech to your car. Bring your phone and a connecting cable, to ensure they're compatible.
The Driving Experience
A good driving experience is more than a responsive engine or supple suspension. A lengthy test drive will give you a good idea of how easy the car is to live with. Consider whether the gearbox and the clutch are light enough to avoid you thinking you've had a workout after every traffic jam. Do you hear any aggravating whistling noises from the window line? Do the speakers sound good quality? Some of these may be minor things, but you'll want to make sure the car is perfect for you (You can be sure our 100 point checked cars won’t have any of these minor niggles). Incidentally, winter is a good time of year to test drive a car, because you'll be seeing it in the toughest conditions. Winter is a great time to make sure the heating system works, along with heated seats or mirrors.
If you buy a car from a reputable dealer, then you shouldn't have too many worries about its history, you should always check dealerships Trustpilot reviews. While you're sat behind the wheel it's always worth leafing through the glovebox or asking the dealer about the car's history. Look at any previous MOT certificates if they’re over 3 years old, not only to make sure the mileage tallies but to look at anything that was an advisory at its last test, which could be a problem now. Make sure the car is clear on HPI - a HPI check gathers information from several sources including police, insurance companies and finance companies, to make sure the car is authentic. Most dealerships will have done this already and will be happy to produce it and explain it. Make sure the service history is present and up to date, also check there's a locking wheel nut key, as there will always be a time when you need it and they can be difficult to replace!
Head Over Heart, Or Head Over Heels?
I've heard some people say that you don't pick the car, the car picks you. Sometimes everything just feels right, so you know you've found "the one". Don’t rush your decision, make sure you've thought it through with your head rather than just your heart. The car has to meet your wants and needs, it has to have a satisfying driving experience, it has to be reliable and most importantly it has to be affordable. It's essential to love your car, because it's going to be your companion for some time, so it's important not to rush. Don't be afraid to ask for a few minutes to yourself so you can make a sensible decision. Perhaps bring a friend or family member with you to give you their independent opinion, without the emotion that you may feel.
With winter approaching now is the time to put your prospective purchase properly through its paces in a test drive. With this checklist and my previous one, you can't really go wrong.