Purchasing a used vehicle can be stressful. You’ve probably done extensive research online for months to decide what used vehicle you think you want, learning all about it, and even finding the right place to purchase it. Online research is great to get yourself started, but the single best thing to do when purchasing a used vehicle is to give it a test drive. You may think that it’s pretty simple — just go drive around. Although, there’s more to it! We’ve pulled some tips to keep in mind when test driving a pre-owned vehicle.
Before You Drive
It is best to test drive a used vehicle during the day so you have plenty of light to see the details and sometimes, the flaws. Also, ask for the vehicle’s history report, and make sure the used vehicle you want to test drive fits your budget before you fall in love with a ride your monthly budget cannot upkeep. The report is usually from CARFAX, and the seller should have this information on hand. You will see maintenance history, owner history, and even accident history in this report. Turn the used vehicle on while parked and check that the dash, lights, radio, infotainment system, and other little details run properly. If the vehicle lists features, make sure they are actually in the car and working.
Take a Walk-Around
Examine the exterior of the used vehicle for any major scratches or dents. Sometimes, dealerships will offer to repair major damages or work out a deal. Look for things like uneven paint or discolored paint. This can be an indication of an accident and poor repairs. Also, when going through the vehicle’s report, check specifically for accidents. Next, take a look under the car for any leaks dripping or puddles of fluid. Finally, look at the tires for wear. Are they fairly new or in need of changing? Ensure they are the same brand and type as well.
Take notice of how the doors open. Are they heavy, squeaky, or wobbly? Latch all seatbelts to know they work properly and also check if there is a seatbelt light on the dash. Turn on all of the interior lights to make sure they work, while also checking for potential blown-out bulbs. With the vehicle running, check the vehicle exhaust, as it should not be black or blue. This is a quick indication of a mechanical issue, so don’t sign the papers just yet!
Take A Drive
Think about where you want to drive. Decide on a route that is similar to your current everyday driving or plan to drive through a quiet neighborhood to listen to the vehicle, down city streets for handling and maneuvering, and then get on the highway to test acceleration and speed. If you aren’t familiar with the area around the dealership, the sales associate can give you directions for a route they often use to test drive vehicles. These routes typically include different types of roads, giving you a range of conditions.
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If your test drive went well and you are confident in purchasing the used vehicle you have shown interest in, you will want to get a pre-purchase inspection from an independent mechanic shop. This ensures you get an honest inspection along with the potential cost of repairs. You can also use any issues found as negotiating points for the price of the vehicle.
When shopping for a used vehicle, be ready to test drive a few before you find the right one. At Bob Brady Buick GMC, we have a large selection of used vehicles to fit any budget!
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