How To Test Drive a Used Car
We’ve all been there before… in need of a great used car, truck, minivan or SUV but not sure how to go about finding the best one. Dedicing what size or class of vehicle works for your needs and then doing research online for the most reliable vehicles in that catagory is a perfect way to get started. Locating a local, trusted dealership with those vehicles in their current inventory at a price you can afford is another. But what happens after you get to the dealership?
Experts estimate that most problems car buyers experience shortly after buying a used vehicle could have been avoided with a more thorough test drive. But a recent study suggests that up to 20% of car buyers are foregoing a test drive altogether and another third only spend 10 minutes taking it for a spin before deciding it’s the right vehicle for them! When you consider that a truck, van, SUV or car is one of the priciest purchases you’ll make in your lifetime, spending a little bit of that time to get to know your prospective new car is well worth it. And while realizing the importance of a proper test drive is necessary, knowing what to do during it is even more critical.
It may seem like a no-brainer but the vehicle you’re considering buying should be comfortable to sit and drive in, both to you and to your passengers. Make sure you sit in every seat of the vehicle to see how it feels and if possible, bring the whole family.
Questions to ask:
- Are the seats too soft or too hard for a pleasant ride, either short term or long term?
- Do your legs rest comfortably against it or does it start to dig in?
- When driving, does your foot lay at a enjoyable angle or is it awkward?
- Is the seatbelt in a comfortable position or does it dig in (neck, waist, hips, etc.)?
- How does the vehicle drive?
- Does its suspension cushion you over bumps or can you feel every ripple in the road?
- Can you reach the dashboard or steering wheel mounted controls easily?
- Is it easy to get in/out of (you, kids, spouse)?
- Do doors open and close easily?
- Is there adequate head and leg room for everyone who will frequently be in the vehicle?
- Can the headrests be adjusted to a comfortable and safe position?
- Are you familiar with the navigation system or smarthub of the car? Or feel confidant with being able to learn it?
Be sure to have all potential drivers of the vehicle, including spouse & children, answer these same questions. After all, comfort is a matter of preference and while you may be satisfied with the vehicle’s design, if it’s meant to be a family vehicle, their opinion should be a factor too.
Often overlooked are the many areas of visibility when test driving a vehicle. It’s important to consider all factors such as seating position, mirror effectiveness, headlight strength and body design.
Questions to ask:
- Can the gauges be read easily once the steering wheel is raised to a comfortable height?
- Are there large blindspots when changing lanes?
- How clearly can you see to reverse?
- If there’s a backup camera in your vehicle, is it easy to see and in a convenient place?
- Does the driver seat raise or lower enough to have a clear line of vision over the hood of the vehicle?
- Does the vehicle sit too low for shorter passengers to see clearly out the windows?
- Are the windows large enough to see clearly out of?
A clear line of sight when operating a vehicle is one of the most important elements in a vehicle’s safety. Don’t rush or overlook ensuring that the prospective vehicle doesn’t impede in that process. If possible, we recommend bringing along another person to help you check all angles of the vehicle during your test drive.
This is typically where people aim their focus during a test drive but they often overlook some critical points. Fucntionality can be interpreted as what it’s main use is for, as well as where and by whom. Just consider someone we know who test drove a car and considered it thoughtfully, only to realize after purchasing it that his children’s car seats could not be properly installed into the back once his driver’s seat was reclined to a comfortable position. Now that’s not functional!! Before you tell yourself there’s no way you could ever overlook something as significant as that, we suggest you read what we mean by functionality.
Questions to ask:
- What is the primary purpose of this vehicle (work truck, family van, etc.)?
- Who will be riding in it?
- What is the terrain like where it will be driven most?
- Does it handle well?
- What’s the most important factor… examples include fuel efficiency, ability to haul loads or people?
- Is there enough storage room, cup holders, cubby space?
- What is the towing capacity (if it’s a truck or SUV)?
- Is it easy to park?
- Will it fit in my garage?
- Does it shift smoothly?
That may feel like a lot of questions to consider but when you factor in the cost of a vehicle and the critical role it often plays in your life, it’s important to take the time to feel good about the answer to all of them. At Broadmoor Motors, we want to help you find the right car for your needs, your lifestyle and your budget. We specialize in finding the right used minivan, truck, SUV or car to fit your personal or business needs, all while giving you the best deal we can on both your purchase and trade in. Our family has been in the car business for over 60 years and continues to be family owned and operated in both our Hastings and Caledonia locations with financing available to those who qualify, and we will find you the right vehicle to fit both your budget and your needs.
Let Broadmoor Motors Hastings save you time and money when buying your next quality, Pre-Owned Car or Work Truck and on your next Car Rental. Whether you need a short term car rental, long term car rental, a replacement while your vehicle is getting serviced or simply need to replace your car, minivan, truck or SUV with a great used vehicle, we can help you out. Broadmoor Motors Hastings is here for all your Car Rental, Car Sales, and Auto Service needs in the greater Barry County area, Hastings, Middleville and Caledonia. Give us a call at 269.320.6304 in Hastings or 616.698.9595 in Caledonia to see how we can get you back on the road!