3 Must-Do's When Test Driving A Used Car
Buying a new car, it's exciting! And when that new car is a used car, there are steps to follow to make sure you're protecting your wallet, as well as buying the right car for you.
One of the most important steps is the test drive. Obviously, you want to see how the car performs.
But before you get behind the wheel of your potential new car, you want to make sure you can afford the vehicle. Sounds simple, we know. But it's easy to get caught up in new car fever!
So, get pre-approved financing first. Know what you can afford. Here at Joe Bowman Auto Plaza, we can help you with that. Or, you can talk to your bank or credit union.
Then run a vehicle history report to uncover any possible issues the vehicle may have had. Now that you've got those checked off your list, there are three must-do's while you're taking a test drive.
Examine the Interior
This one starts before the drive; do a walkaround. Circle the car to look for any lights that aren't working, unusual noises, or funny exhaust smells. If you buy through Joe Bowman, taking a walkaround is simply reassurance for you. Our certified GM mechanics have already corrected any problems.
However, if you're buying direct, then a walkaround of the vehicle is an excellent idea! You'll also want to look at the paint. If it doesn't match, that could be an indication of a collision. At our Harrisonburg dealership, we'll have all that information for you.
Then turn on the car, and switch on the emergency flashers and headlights.Take a look-see under the hood. Check for fluids dripping. Check tire treads for wear or damage and to make sure that all the tires and wheels match.
If you have a child, bring your child seat with you for the test drive. (Although probably not a good idea to bring your child.) You want to make sure the car seat fits safely in the vehicle.
The same holds true if you have a dog. Bring the crate to make sure it's a good fit.
Test the Interior Features
Try out all the systems in the car. Adjust the seas, mirrors, steering wheel, etc. Make sure everything is in good working order including the interior lights.
If you see any pulsing from dim to bright, that could be an indication of an electrical issue. Check dashboard lights, too. Turn on the radio, CD player, if there is one, and check to see how it loads and unloads, and performs.
How about your iPod or MP3 player? Plug them into the AUX jack and make sure they place nice with each other. You'll also want to test out the heating and air conditioning systems.
Close all the windows and check for smells that come through the vents. You're looking for signs of mold or mildew. How about those power windows and doors? Do they lock properly?
Now you're ready to actually drive the car. Listen for any rattles or strange noises from the vehicle's suspension. If at all possible, try to have a test drive that mirrors your own daily driving habit and environment.
Next up are the brakes. Do they operate smoothly or does the pedal vibrate? Worse, does the pedal go to the floor when you brake?
Check to make sure the wheels are properly aligned. Does the vehicle pull to the left or right when you brake? It should stop in a straight line easily or pull ever so slightly to the right, but never to the left.
Check the instrument panel. Are all the gauges working properly or do warning lights appear?
It's a lot to look for when you're driving a potential new car, but so worth it! You may even decide to take the preowned car to a good mechanic for a second opinion.
If you're buying privately and the seller doesn't want to let you submit the vehicle to an independent pre-purchase inspection, walk away.
Here at Joe Bowman Auto Plaza, all of our vehicles are subject to a 75-point used car inspection checklist. Our certified GM mechanics comb the vehicle, addressing and correcting any issues, if there are any.
To the very best of our ability, we make sure the car, truck, or SUV is mechanically sound and that every feature works beautifully. Then we follow up that commitment to excellence and safety with either a 30-day or 90-day warranty, depending on the mileage and year of the vehicle.
If you'd like to learn more about us and what we have to offer, visit our website. Or, just come in to see us!