Test driving is the ultimate acid test, especially for a used car. For this blog post, let’s focus on driving tips for both conventional and unusual tests.
Tip #1: Map out the driving route, and ideally, do not let the seller direct the trip. You’re both the buyer and the captain of the ship once the test drive begins, as it is your job to feel out the car for yourself.
Tip #2: Choose to drive a mixed route to check out everything related to the car’s handling. Ask yourself: Do the gears shift seamlessly (if it’s a manual)? Does the steering wheel respond well to the touch? Do the wheels wobble? By driving the car along a variety of roads—a wide highway, narrow streets, and occasional bumpy surfaces—you’ll get a good feel of how the car drives.
Tip #1: Slam on the brakes to feel them out. For cars with anti-lock brakes, the pedal must pulse against the feet; if there’s no pulsating movement, there might be a problem. Also, if there’s a grinding noise when the car slows down, new brake rotors might be needed. Of course, these actions must be done with consent of the seller, and tried in a safe place.
Tip #2: For manual cars, shifting into the highest gear is ideal to gauge whether the clutch is due for retirement or is still good to go. If the tachometer quickly climbs while accelerating, the car’s clutch pads must be replaced immediately.