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Test Driving: Some Helpful Tips
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The summer is a perfect time to shop for a new or used car, and an ideal time to test drive a car. While doing your research and shopping around for the best deal are key factors to buying a car, so is the test drive. Getting behind the wheel is also crucial when buying a car, as a test drive can tell you a lot about the car your about to buy. Here are some things you should keep in mind when taking that drive.
  • Avoid long time spans between testing your favourites - After doing your research make sure you set aside a few hours to test drive and check out your top choices relatively close to each other. It is difficult to access compare different car features and ability if you test them between long periods of time.
  • Take an extended test drive - It may be difficult and involve some convincing, but taking your top 3 picks on a longer test drive can give you a lot of insight into the car you’re buying. Often it is hard to tell how a car handles in a short period of time.
  • Test on different types of roads - Drive the cars you feel are best not just on side roads near the dealership, but on the different types of road terrain you may see everyday. Try major and minor roads that have different speeds, as well as country roads, in order to feel how the car drives. Also be sure to make note on your level of comfort on each car you test drive for a long period of time.
  • Adequate space - Be sure that you fit comfortably in the car, with adequate leg room. Check that the driver’s seat adjusts to fit your height and weight, and that you are able to sufficiently reach the steering wheels and pedals. If the car will be used by the family, make sure it is accessible to all drivers, and that the family can fit comfortably along with their gear. Look for storage space and seating space closely, if needed.
  • Make sure your car fits your needs - From busy soccer mom, to hockey superstar; make sure the car you want to buy fits your lifestyle. Be sure to test the car out adequately in that respect.
  • Test drive on weekends - Weekdays are best time to test drive cars, as there are less people shopping and generally less people on the roads. However, avoid rush hours and busy roads, as they greatly deter you from a full driving experience.
Here is a simple checklist of things you should test to se if the car is right for you. When you test-drive your car, rate each car and note you comfort level with each aspect below. These include:
  • Vehicle size
  • Steering
  • Brakes
  • Acceleration
  • Gear changes
  • Seat adjustment and individual leg room
  • Family and storage space
  • Visibility
  • Gas mileage
  • Car features (such as entertainment, windows, and other unique features)

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