Learn How to Test Drive a Car

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With so many options to choose from when buying a car, it's easy to get caught up in comparing specs such as gas mileage, luxury amenities, legroom, cargo space, horsepower and more. One of the most important elements in making your final decision is to test drive the car you're interested in. Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your test drive.
 

1. Research before you test drive a car

Before you set foot in a dealership, be sure to do extensive research on the car you’re interested in purchasing. Get information directly from the car manufacturer’s website or consult reviews from industry publications. By doing your homework, you’ll be more familiar with the car’s capabilities and better understand the differences between models, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of various vehicles.


2. Drive on various surfaces

Most car dealerships have pre-determined routes for test drives. Typically, they stick to smooth, straight roads, which offer a one-dimensional view of the car’s performance. Check with the salesperson before setting up your test drive, and ask if you can take the car on the freeway, curvy roads, hills, and bumpy roads so you can get a feeling for the car’s suspension, acceleration and steering.


3. Listen carefully

While you definitely want to check out the car’s sound system, you also want to notice sounds the car doesn’t make. During your test drive, turn off the radio and take note of any odd sounds. For example, excessive road noise from outside the vehicle might indicate the car is not adequately insulated. Rattles and squeaks from the inside could signal engine or muffler trouble, tire issues, loose wheel bearings, or poorly assembled plastic parts.


4. Test key responses

Since the way the car handles is linked to your satisfaction with it, assess some of these key functions while you’re test driving the car. Accelerate sharply to test the car’s pick-up, and then make a hard stop to see how the brakes handle. Also, make three-point turns and turns at various speeds to get a sense of the steering capabilities and turning radius.


5. Get comfortable

Last, but certainly not least, make sure the car is comfortable. Before you start your test drive, adjust the seat, mirrors and steering wheel positions to your preference. If they don’t feel right after your modifications, the car may not be a good fit. See if it’s easy for you to get in and out of the car. If you bump your head every time, it’s probably not ideal. Don’t forget to check the back seat for legroom to ensure your passengers will have a comfortable ride.


Making your purchase after the test drive

Test driving a car with these clear objectives will help ensure that you end up with the right car for your needs and driving style. When you’re finished with your test drive and ready to bring home your new vehicle, let CIBC help you with the financing. Apply for a personal car loan and get flexible repayment terms, a competitive interest rate, and the convenience of automatic payments so you never miss one.