Why Test Drive and What Should I Be Looking For?

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Why Test Drive and What Should I Be Looking For?

Why Test Drive & What Should I Be Looking For?


Nowadays, many major dealerships might let you test drive a new car for an extended time or even overnight.  (Asking never hurt!) If you’re buying a used car, the test drive is even more important. It’s your opportunity to make sure everything’s in working order.

Test Drive Quick Thoughts & Questions

  • Try to take your time on a test drive, even if you feel the seller breathing down your neck.
  • Try to drive more than one if you’re looking at an unfamiliar model.
  • This will give you a better idea of what a car should feel like to drive and may help you to tell the difference between characteristics and faults.
  • Allow at least half an hour and drive on all kinds of roads in town, on interstates and country roads.
  • Can you get in and out of the car easily?
  • Can you adjust the seat and steering so you’re comfortable?
  • Do you see the instruments clearly and reach the controls easily?
  • Try reversing into a parking space to check all-around vision and blind spots.
  • Take your children with you… Car Seats?  Make sure you have enough room!
  • Is there space for your regular shopping bags, luggage, golf clubs,?  Can you fold the rear seats easily?
  • Does the bat bumper sill low enough? Will you be able to unload shopping and luggage easily?
  • Is it easy to take out and refit removable seats?

What to look for?

Engine and suspension

The engine should be cold before you start – feel the hood. If it’s warm, the seller could be trying to hide a starting problem. Check for signs of smoke when you start the car and when you’re driving. The engine should be quiet and pull smoothly. Listen for unusual rattles or clonks from the suspension.

Steering and brakes

Steering should be responsive with no vibration or ‘free play’. Brakes should give confidence and stop the car in a straight line. Clutch and gears working smooth? Can you engage all gears efficiently without grinding?

Electric cars

Electric cars are a common sight in dealer showrooms, but should you test driving a new electric car differently? There are two features which need special consideration: the range and charging time.

Disappointing fuel miles from a car, means only more frequent visits to a gas station. But an electric car not living up to range expectations could leave you walking the last few miles home from work every evening. Some of the latest models are good for at least 200 miles between charges, but if you’re looking at a used electric car and expecting it to be a practical alternative to gas, you really need to borrow one for a day or two and test it out.

You need the car long enough to be able to make sure that it suits your lifestyle:

Can you get to work and back on a single charge – or can you charge it at your work location? Check with your employer rather than assuming you’ll be able to charge the batteries while you’re at work. Once you are home is there enough left in the batteries for your regular evening activities – children, sports, shopping – without a recharge?

If you only make short trips how often are you likely to have to recharge? What would be the result of forgetting to plug the car in one night? If you do not have off-the-street parking for overnight charging, you’ll need to find out where public charging points are located especially places your visit often.

Cold weather can be tough for Electric Cars. The use of electrical items such as lights and heaters, and load weight/passengers will all reduce the car’s charge as will a heavy foot.

To get a good idea of the car’s true range:

Drive as you intend to drive normally. If you regularly carry passengers take them with you on the test drive. Switch on everything electrical. You’ll need to allow a safety margin as the maximum range will drop over time as the batteries get older.

If you have any questions or want a second look call

An Inspection Special

Thinking of buying a car?  Want your current vehicle looked over for inspection?  Call Mike 402.551.6000 at Great Plains Auto Body & Car Care or stop in and see him; 4103 Leavenworth Street, and schedule your Comprehensive Inspection!

During a Comprehensive Inspection, we will perform an in-depth inspection where most of the accessible components are tested externally, fluids are measured against the manufacturer specs, measurements are taken on wear items, the charging system is tested, a maintenance schedule is examined in relation to current mileage and recommendations are made based on the schedule and applicable services needed found during the inspection.  Cost at $60.

Great Plains Auto Body Repair Shops in Omaha & Council Bluffs | Best Auto Body Shops Omaha & Council Bluffs, IA

At Great Plains Auto Body shop Omaha and Council Bluffs, we’re committed to giving you an unmatched level of service. As a company that’s been family-owned and operated for more than 26 years, we’re dedicated to treating our customers as we would treat members of our own family. We’ll keep you informed throughout the entire repair process and make sure you’re satisfied when the job is complete. From estimating and detailing to collision repair and paint services, our ASE-certified mechanics and technicians make sure the job is done right and on time.