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How to Test Drive a Car the Right Way

You have done your research and narrowed your selection to a particular car make and model. You are ready to test drive the car.

Test driving the car is the best way for you to see if it is the right vehicle for you.You will need your sense of sight, smell, touch and hearing to evaluate the vehicle’s performance, comfort and convenience. Bring a friend with you because it is good to have someone with an objective opinion and another set of eyes and ears to help identify issues. Have your friend sit in the backseat of the vehicle, so they can also give their opinion on how it feels to be a passenger.

First, inspect the vehicle’s exterior and the condition of the tires. Notice if it is easy to get in and out the car. Check to see if you have enough headroom and legroom. Adjust the seat and steering wheel to your comfort level. Check the view from all the mirrors. Make sure all the lights are working.

Get familiar with the controls. If the car has a GPS, Bluetooth, an infotainment screen, get familiar with the knobs and touchscreen. If you purchase the car, you will learn more about all these gadgets, but get the basic information from the salesperson now while they are eager to have you buy the car.

Start the engine and let it idle for a few minutes so you can see if it sounds strong or if it has clicking noises. Smell the exhaust. Then listen to the engine and the transmission as you accelerate and go.

Take different roads. Include some bumps along the way, so you can hear and feel how the car handles the ride. Does the car steer well? Do you hear any squeaky noises or rattling?

Drive the car in stop and go traffic. This way, you can check the quality of the brakes, whether they feel solid or spongy. Check for blind spots.

Then drive on a highway. Increase your speed to check how the car accelerates.

See how the car handles turns, including a tight U-turn. Also test the car going up and down a hill.

Does the vehicle have enough power to pass on the highway or go up a hill? Do you like the responsiveness of the car to steering and handling? Does the car feel solid and comfortable, even on a rough road? Ask your friend if they found the ride comfortable.

If the test drive goes well, request a vehicle history report. Unless buying a certified pre-owned vehicle with a factory warranty, it is important to have the car inspected by an independent mechanic. You should also test drive other vehicles to be sure you select the car that best suits you.

When in the market for a used car, stop by Carousel Preowned.  Carousel Preowned serving Iowa City, Cedar Rapids, Davenport, North Liberty, Marion, and Coralville, IA, is proud to be an automotive leader in our community. We do our best to ensure your complete satisfaction every time you step into our car dealership. This is why we offer the widest selection of used and pre-owned cars, trucks, and SUVs and provide true ease of purchase in Iowa.

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