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How to Perform the Best Possible Test Drive


The used car market is currently booming, owing to a microchip shortage making the purchasing of new cars more difficult for consumers. To that end, getting a new vehicle is more likely to take you down the route of trying out used vehicles. Of course, there is an element of risk to any used car purchase, but a test drive can give you the confidence you need to proceed. Here are some tips on how to carry out such a test drive.

Check the Car Over Before You Drive

With regard to used vehicles, make sure to give the external bodywork an extensive look-over before you get in the car. You’re not merely looking for scratches, though; you are also looking for any evidence of bodywork repair or of a prior accident. Dents, bumps and scratches may form part of that evidence, but differing paintwork or discoloured panels can also be a dead giveaway for replaced or re-painted bodywork. Of course, any prior incidents or servicing should be well-documented in the car’s service manual, but this visual check can reveal any potential hidden work – or simply relieve any latent concerns.

Make Sure You Are Insured

Test driving is a crucial part of any car-buying process, new or used – and preparation is key to ensuring you can carry out said test drive safely and comfortably. Before you head out to look at and try out a vehicle, you are likely to need temporary car insurance to cover you in driving a vehicle that isn’t your own on UK roads. This will ensure you are legal and protected in the event of the worst-case scenario, and can allow you to focus more confidently on the testing of the vehicle.

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Drive on Roads You Already Know

When behind the wheel of the car you’re testing, you should endeavour to drive it down roads and routes with which you are already intimately familiar. The more time you spend discerning your route or figuring out how to navigate, the less time you will have to think about the car’s handling and responsiveness. Before you know it, you’ll be parked up after your drive and wondering what you hadn’t noticed due to focusing on your driving. Choose a route you know intuitively, to allow you to focus more on the vehicle itself.

Pay Attention to Acceleration

One of the most important factors for you to pay attention to when test-driving a given vehicle is the way in which it accelerates. Does acceleration feel smooth and clean, or is there an element of jerkiness? How does the engine sound when you accelerate? What you’re testing for isn’t a swift 0-60 time, but instead the relative health of the engine. Sluggish and laboured acceleration can indicate issues with lubrication, while jerky acceleration could bely problems with the timing belt or pistons. There are many other things you can check while driving, but issues with the engine represent the largest possible service costs, making ensuring the

Take Your Time

There are many things you’ll want to think about with regard to any potential car purchase, some of which will be individual to your needs. It is crucial that you give yourself all the time you need to interrogate those needs in turn. You may feel it polite to return the car as quickly as possible, but this can frustrate your decision-making and force a premature choice out of you. Instead, you should take your time; write down a list of the things you want to check, and don’t return the car until you are satisfied you have run through your list.

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