Test drives made easy

Wednesday, August 19, 2015 | ,

Are you looking for a used vehicle but are too scared as you aren’t very car savvy? Are you waiting around for a mechanically minded friend to help you out? Do test drives intimidate you?

We are here to help! We are going to provide you with 10 basic points on what to look out for on a test drive, so you have the confidence you are getting a great vehicle when shopping for your next set of wheels.

  1. The engine should start immediately and settle into a smooth, quiet idle quickly. Any knocking or rattling noises could mean bad news.
  2. Test the steering on a safe stretch of road or car park. Do U turns to the left and to the right. On full lock there should be no clicking noises from the front end of the vehicle. If there is, the CV joints will be worn.
  3. Manual vehicles should change gears smoothly and quietly. If you can’t change gears there could be a lack of oil or an issue with the clutch.
  4. Auto vehicles should also engage gears quickly and smoothly. If when selecting drive you feel a “thump” or the gear shifts are slow or noisy, there could be an underlying problem.
  5. Test the brakes on a safe stretch of road. The brakes should stop the vehicle firmly with no noises or pulling to one side. If the vehicle is pulling left or right you may need a wheel alignment. If the brakes shudder, the discs could require machining.
  6. Inside the vehicle you should test the air con. Is it heating or cooling within a minute or so? If not than it may require re-gassing.
  7. Electric items such as electric seats, sunroofs, windows and mirrors should all be tested. If any electric item is not working it could just be wiring or something more costly to fix.
  8. Check the audio system is working properly. Speaker can deteriorate with age with warp sound.
  9. Do you feel comfortable in the seats? Do they adjust to the correct height for you? Seats and belts need to be checked for any fraying or tears. Seatbelts that are frayed or do not retract correctly will not be roadworthy.
  10. Lastly, lights. Test the headlights on low and high beam, indicators and brake lights. Make sure the covers aren’t cracked as this can lead to being filled with water.key in ignition Changing gears headlights

    Keep these points in mind for a stress free test drive!