What to Look for During a Test Drive Before You Buy a Car

A test drive plays a critical role when looking to buy a car. It helps you to evaluate factors like the operating state and roadworthiness of an automobile. Whether it’s a new or used vehicle, being attentive when testing can save you future nuisance and disappointment. Here are some vital things to look out for an informed buying decision:

Look for These Things Before You Buy a Car

Examine the Exterior

The test drive begins with what you can see. Check the condition of the body, paint, windshield, tire treads, all lights, and brake pads. Test the shock absorbers by pressing hard on each corner of the bumpers. You should notice a minor or no bounce. If something looks like it needs repair or replacement, raise the matter with the dealership.

Test All Door Features

Open and shut all doors, including the trunk and the hood. If any of them is power-operated, ensure the system is working. Confirm that everything opens freely and locks securely.

Look Out for Leaking Fluids

Open the hood and check if there are signs of liquid smudge. Take a careful look underneath the vehicle and search for any dripping fluids. If you spot water, especially during a warm day, you don’t need to worry. It’s normal for the air conditioning system to cause condensation when it’s hot. However, alert the dealership attendant if you find any leaks.

Inspect the Interior

Once you are content with the car exteriors, examine the inside. Get on the driver’s seat and check if all the instrument panel cluster lights and controls are working. Test the infotainment systems and all the technologies installed in that model. Features like automatic door locks, power windows, and mirror folding systems should be working if present.

Test every seat. For power-adjustable versions, ensure that the buttons are in working order. Heating and cooling features should also be functioning. Is the legroom enough? If it’s a used automobile, lift the carpet to see if it’s hiding an adversely damaged floor.


Get behind the wheel and prepare to drive. While pressing the brake pedal, start the engine and let it idle for some time. Don’t turn the audio system on to keep the interior as quiet as possible. The vehicle shouldn’t make weird noises like clicking and rattling.

Move the car forward gradually while paying attention to its mechanical aspects. Note how the emergency brake releases and the transmission system shifts gears. If you experience a glitch, notify the salesperson.

Don’t buy a car before bringing it to highway speeds. Accelerating it for several miles will most likely reveal that aren’t obvious at slow speeds, such as suspension issues. When the road is clear, press hard on the brakes to test their effectiveness. See if you can do parallel parking without steering problems.

A thorough test drive will unveil most of the problems that you should avoid when about to buy a car. Don’t be in a rush, or you might end up wasting your money on something that will cost more on repairs in the long run.

For new and used cars in mint condition, contact Valley Automall at 702-570-2257 today