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5 Test Drive Tips For New Car Shoppers

Statistics suggest that car shoppers are spending less and less time on the test driving portion of their car shopping experience. In fact, more than 15% of car buyers skip the test drive, and a full third of car buyers only go test drive one car before signing on the dotted line. Almost half the buyers who do test drive spend less than 30 minutes behind the wheel before making their decision. It may be that buyers believe they’re getting all the information they need from internet research, but research is no replacement for real world experience. If you’re not sure what you should be looking for from a test drive, here are some tips that can help you make the most out of this valuable evaluation experience.

Sit in All the Seats

A test drive is about testing out every aspect of the car, so find out if your passengers are going to be comfortable in the car while you can. Get in and out of all the seats and spend some time playing with the seat settings and trying on the seatbelts. The salesperson who accompanies you on your test drive may be required to drive the car off the lot before you can get in the driver’s seat – use that time to find out what it’s like to ride in the backseat of the car.

Ask for a Demonstration

Have the salesperson at a place like Tischer Auto show you how to use all of the extra features that come with the car. You don’t just want them pointed out to you, you want to know how to turn them off and on too. While you’re driving, make use of any of the features that you can, especially ones that you would use during your normal daily drive. Is the audio quality on the stereo good? Is the navigation system too complicated to use while driving?

Drive the Way You Would Normally

Chances are, you don’t normally spend your driving time circling the block around an auto dealership, so why would you do that when you take a test drive? Put the car through its paces by driving the way you would normally. Get stuck in stop-and-go traffic between the elementary school and the grocery store, or get on the highway and mimic your trip to work. If you aren’t familiar with the area the dealership is located in, dedicate some of that internet research time to mapping out a good test drive route in the area. Make sure to change lanes, parallel park, and brake quickly to make sure you’re comfortable and feel safe doing so.

Take Your Time

You need at least 30 minutes of test driving to make an informed decision about the care, and more is better. Don’t allow yourself to be rushed. Ask your salesperson upfront if he or she has the time to spend with you on an extensive test drive, and if not, ask to see someone who does have the time. Most car owners in the US spend an average of 73 minutes a day behind the wheel. It’s not excessive to ask for at least half that time to ensure that you’re comfortable behind the wheel.

Drive More Than One Car

Even if you really liked the first car you drove, you need something to compare it with. Pick another car that’s similar to the one you already drove in terms of space, engine power, and features, and take another test drive. If you’re unsure what you’re looking for in a car in the first place, you may want to take multiple test drives. However, if you have very specific parameters, one or two comparison test drives should be enough. Either way, don’t just stop at one.

A new car is a big financial commitment, and you shouldn’t make that commitment without being sure that you’re going to get what you really want. A thorough test drive is the best way to ensure that you’re really getting what you’re paying for. 

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