One of modern life’s greatest pleasures is getting a new car. Ask most people though and they will also say one of life’s biggest pains in the ask me where; is buying a new car. What’s the difference? Everything you have to go through to buy a new car, including and especially negotiating the price. While many volumes of advice have been written on this subject, and justifiably so; people focus so heavily on this they never think about how to test-drive a car. Most people just hop behind the wheel, inhale that oh so alluring new car smell, take a short drive, and that’s it.
It is extremely important to take your time and inspect the car thoroughly. It’s very easy to get overwhelmed by a new car and overlook things—or rationalize them away—temporarily. The salesperson is there talking it up, you’re anxious to get your car and go home, driving a new car makes you nervous, there are hundreds of reasons for this.
However, if you aren’t thorough, you could wind up making payments on something you like less and less each time you drive it.
How To Test Drive A New Car: Do Your Research
Your test drive starts at home. Once you’ve figured out what your needs are and how much you can afford to comfortably spend, taking into account insurance, fuel, and maintenance—in addition to the monthly payment—you should develop a list of all the cars interesting to you in the price range you can afford.
Learn everything you can about them, what options are available, what colors they come in, determine which of the available engine/transmission/drive combinations you want, observe how much space they have, and figure out which trim level you want to get. Pay attention to the safety features, the more of them you can get for the money, the better.
car reviews can be somewhat abstract when they talk about things like cubic feet of trunk space or interior space. To visualize these numbers, look up the specs for the car you’re driving now and see how the new one compares. Bear in mind there can be mitigating circumstances. A trunk may well have 18 cubic feet of cargo capacity, but if the wheel wells intrude, it may be less usable.
In other words, get to know the cars before you go see them.
To know what to look for, you need to know what you’re looking at.
How To Test Drive A New Car: Visit The Dealerships
When it’s time to go see them in person, do so is in the middle of the day in the middle of the week. Take off work if you have to. This is when dealerships are slowest and salespeople have more time. Weekends are busy because people who aren’t as smart as you flood the lots and rush through the process. You want to be able to take your time, relax, and go over the car at your own pace.
Here, it is important to let the salesperson know you are in the research phase of your shopping process. However, if their car impresses you over the others on your list, you will contact them again. This keeps them interested enough to answer your questions and work with you, but you’ve also warned them a sale won’t be coming that day.
Ideally, you’ll take a friend or relative with you for second opinions, and to give the salesperson someone other than you to talk to while you make your observations. Keep in mind; different options affect the functioning of a car in different ways. Try to evaluate a car equipped as closely as possible to the one you’ll ultimately purchase so you can get an accurate assessment.
Choose dealerships as close as possible to where you live, so you can drive over familiar terrain. Determine your route in advance and make sure it includes rough roads, smooth roads, traffic signals, uphill and downhill roads (if these apply to your area) and highway driving. Try to keep it as brief as possible, while ensuring you get an opportunity to try the car in all of those circumstances.
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