Getting the Most Out of Your Test Drive

Getting the Most Out of Your Test Drive

If a trip to the car dealer is in your future, you might find yourself a little on edge. Buying a vehicle is a major purchase for most of us and something that we’d rather not screw up. Many cars “feel good” at first glance, but that’s not the same thing as finding something that is going to be reliable and comfortable for the next few years.

Fortunately, you can make the most out of your test drive by following a few simple steps. The next time you’re ready to make a car purchase, do these things before signing on the dotted line.

What are You Looking for in Your Next Car?

Before even arriving on the lot, you should sit down and think about what you are looking for in your next car. Separate your “must haves” from your “wants.” A few common priorities include good gas mileage, towing ability, superior handling and ride comfort, and cargo space. Have your list ready to go before you walk onto any car lot.

Evaluate the Vehicle

You’ve got your eye on a vehicle, and it’s tempting to jump behind the wheel a take off for a test drive. Take your time — there is still so much that you can learn about the vehicle before you ever put the key in the ignition. If you’re shopping for a pre-owned vehicle, it’s important to evaluate its overall condition. Ask yourself: did the car’s previous owner take good care of it? Every vehicle on Integrity’s lot is put through our 132-point inspection and comes with a free AutoCheck vehicle history report so you can see how many owners the car has had, whether it’s been in a reported accident, and other must-know facts.

Open the trunk and inspect the cargo space. Is there enough room for all of your stuff or should you be looking at a larger vehicle? Are the seat belts in place and in working order? If you are satisfied, it’s time to get behind the wheel.

Sit down in the driver’s seat and imagine yourself owning this car. Was the vehicle easy enough to get into? Adjust the driver’s seat so that you are comfortable and inspect the car’s controls. Are the heat and A/C functional? Adjust the mirrors, buckle up, and start the engine. Listen to the way the car sounds and notice how it feels before you put the vehicle in drive.

Getting the Most Out of Your Test Drive

When you finally take the vehicle on the road, it’s essential that you operate the car the way that you would normally drive. If your routine involves highway commutes, test drive it on the highway. If you routinely navigate narrow city streets, be sure to do this. Do you back into your parking spot at home? If so, trying backing up on your test drive. Test the vehicle out in several different conditions and take note of how it responds and feels. Never be afraid to test drive more than one vehicle to find the right car for your needs.

Consider Your Options

It’s important to know what you want, but to also keep an open mind. Don’t limit your options by fixating on a certain make, model, or other ultimately superficial “must have.” You may come in wanting an SUV, but a minivan would be better suited for your family. Or you may only want a Chevy, when several other available vehicles are built on an identical platform. Ask yourself: does the vehicle meet my needs for room and gas economy? Know what’s most important for you in terms of function, economy, and style.

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