Shopping for Cars? How to Make the Most of the Test Drive
After a home, buying a car is the biggest purchase many of us have to make. To ensure you're making a smart investment, it's important to do a thorough test drive before purchasing a car. A short drive around the block doesn't constitute as a test drive, as it gives you little time to assess a vehicle's comfort, features and how it rides. When shopping at car dealerships in New Jersey, consider these tips to get the most out of your test drive.
Know what you're looking for
Before visiting car dealerships in New Jersey, you should have an idea of what you're looking for. Know the options you're interested in, including the make and model. When you get to the dealership, test drive your top contenders back-to-back, so you can properly compare them. Let your salesperson know the vehicles you are interested in and that you want to test them consecutively for a proper comparison. Allow about a half hour per test drive.
Before the test drive
Before the driving aspect of the test drive, the salesperson will explain the features of capabilities of the car. Take note of the cars' safety features, fuel efficiency, and electronic amenities. For used cars, inquire about the previous owner and the vehicle's accident and maintenance histories. For new cars, ask if it's been used in demos.
Walk around the car to examine the exterior to ensure it's in good condition and to your liking. When you get inside, spend some time observing the interior, including the car's design, comfort level, and storage space. Also sit in the backseat to ensure there's enough space for your passengers.
Adjust the seat, mirrors, and HVAC system to your liking, and become familiar with the controls. Take note of their location, and test everything from the locks and windows to the radio and electronic amenities. Consider whether you like the layout of the dashboard. If you are satisfied with the car, then you can move on to the driving portion.
Getting behind the wheel
When driving the car, you want to mirror your driving habits. Do you drive frequently on bumpy backroads? What about fast, smooth highways? Test drive the car on a variety of road conditions to ensure you like how it operates. If possible, bring a partner or friend along to help you make observations during the drive. Have them jot down some notes based on your observations.
Analyze the smoothness of the ride and how easy the car is to operate. Take note of the car's maneuverability. Do the brakes bring you to a quick and smooth stop? Is it easy to turn and accelerate? Also be mindful of the car's visibility, and turn off the radio to see if the car makes any strange noises or vibrations.
The test drive is an essential part of the car buying process. When it comes time for the test drive, don't rush through it. Take your time to become acquainted with the vehicle to be sure it's right for you. After the test drive, reflect on the experience. Think about what you liked and didn't like about the car and decide if it's still a contender.