What To Ask When Test Driving A Car?

What To Ask When Test Driving A Car?

Car buying can be an exciting experience, allowing you to trade in your old, battered motor for a fancy set of wheels. Or, if you’re buying your first car, it’s the day you’ll finally get that freedom you’ve always wanted.

But, when it comes to test driving a car, there are lots of things to take into consideration, especially when buying a used car. You need to make sure you check all the specs, documents, and the deal that you’re getting, to ensure it’s all in working order. However, that can be easier said than done when there’s a salesperson breathing your neck or when the giddy excitement takes over.

So, to give you a few tips, we’ve found some important questions to ask the seller when you test drive a car.

Can I see the documents?

This is an essential question to ask the seller, regardless of whether it’s a private seller or a dealer. However, it’s perhaps even more important for used cars.

Ask the seller for the manuals, the full service history (or whatever service history is available), the MOT certificates and the logbook. If the seller doesn’t have these or they don’t seem to add up, then don’t go through with the sale.

If you do decide to go through with the sale, ask for a receipt with all the payment details, the car details, and the address of the seller.

Check out this post for more information on the important documents when buying a car.

How long can I test drive it for?

This might be a bit of a longshot, especially if it’s a private seller, but some dealers allow you to have an extended test drive. Asking to keep it for a day or even overnight can help you to get a better feel for the car in a real-world situation and if they say no, there’s no harm done.

If you can’t have it for a long period of time, make sure you come back at different times of the day to see how it fully works, for example to see the headlights in action.

Can I go my own route?

Most private sellers won’t mind where you take it, but many dealers will have routes they encourage you to take when test driving. These routes are often very easy driving and don’t show much of the car’s capacity, so taking the motor on your own route will be much more beneficial.

Try to take in different surfaces and roads, such as residential areas and dual carriageways, to see how it reacts across the board. Similarly, using the car up a hill will give you a feel for the car’s power.

Can you show me the features?

In a test drive, you’re unlikely to get the chance to use all of the technology features on offer and the pressure of the drive might even make it more difficult for you to understand them. By asking the dealer or the seller for a tutorial, you can gauge the functionality of features without dismissing the car for being too difficult.

It’s also worth asking the dealer to help you familiarise yourself with the vehicle, like showing you how to adjust the seating and learn the controls. This will help you drive the car in as ideal conditions as possible and get the most out of the test drive.

What warranty is on offer?

This will only apply for those buying from a dealer, but asking about the warranty during or after your test drive is important. Not only will it tell you about the security of your car in the future, it can also be a major selling point compared to those cars that come without a warranty. However, make sure to get a written copy of the warranty with all of the details.

It’s also worth asking about service intervals and if there are any extras that can come with it, like insurance.

Can I take it to my mechanic?

This will obviously only apply to used cars but is a good idea if you’re having doubts about the car. Some sellers may want to withhold information about the car’s true condition and if you’re skeptical, this question can usually weed out the dodgy dealers.

Speaking to VW Motor Parts, who specialise in genuine Volkswagen cart parts, they said: “It’s essential to get a car checked out by a professional if you have any doubts about the vehicle or the seller. In many cases of private sales, the sellers will try to cover up any previous dodgy work, including the different parts that have been used. If they say no to taking it to your mechanic, it’s a good idea to walk away.”

What are the basic details?

Some details won’t be apparent on a test drive, so asking the seller about car specifications can help to inform your decision. Asking things about the car’s fuel economy, for example, can help you understand the car on a deeper level.

Although, this only works if the seller is honest!

This post by the AA has some more tips for what to look out for on a test drive.

Categories: Cars

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