Simple tips for test driving a used car

Buying a car is such a large financial commitment  that you'll want to be sure you take a test drive before agreeing to purchase anything. This can allow you to tell if there is anything wrong with the car. If you are in the market for a new auto, consider the following tips to complete a successful test drive:

Take your time

When buying a car, it could be a good idea to go for an extended test drive. According to Edmunds, professional test drivers often need 10 miles just to assess one aspect of the vehicle, so you should be sure the seller is okay with you taking an extended drive. If necessary, you may want to consider offering $20 for more time, as this small expense can make the difference between finding something wrong with the car, and purchasing a lemon. Whether you are buying from a dealer, or private seller, they should have no issue with an extended test drive if there is nothing wrong with the car.

Don't fall in love at first sight

When you walk onto the lot, and see a glossed up car ripe for purchase, it is easy to fall in love, but you'll want to avoid this, as it could lead to you being blinded by potential issues during the test drive. According to U.S. News & World Report, you need to keep an open mind when test driving a car. Just because you love the appearance, doesn't mean the constant shaking while accelerating can be overlooked. No matter how much you love the shiny red paint job, it is probably best to not allow it to cloud your better judgment. 

Turn the radio off

Before you even hit the gas pedal, test out the radio and sound system to ensure it is in working order. However, once you begin driving, it is best to turn the radio off, so you can hear everything. It may also help to turn off the air conditioner or heat. The reason you want no sound while test driving a car is so you can keep an ear out for anything unusual. Anything that doesn't sound normal should be brought up in conversation with the salesperson. If you are concerned, it is probably best to get a pre-sale inspection to make sure you aren't buying a car that has issues. 

Go to an open parking lot

There are some maneuvers that can't be completed on the road during a test drive, which is why you may want to consider driving to an open parking lot. According to Edmunds, this gives you the ability to make tight, slow circles with the steering wheel fully turned to see if you hear any unusual sounds. You can also complete three-point turns, and other maneuvers. It is important that you are able to test out all aspects of a car before buying, so don't forget about this option, and make sure you bring it up to the salesperson when talking about your test drive.

Don't forget about car insurance

If your test drive checks out, and you end up purchasing the car, the next step is to secure insurance, so you can legally drive the vehicle. One of the best methods of securing a policy is to compare online insurance quotes, as this allows you to see different coverage options and prices. Also, you can do all the work from the comfort of your own home.