What to Check When You Test Drive a Used Car

Before you purchase a used car, you should always take it for a test drive to make sure it doesn't have any issues and that the car is a good fit for you as a driver. You should test drive any used car you are interested in or are serious about purchasing.

There are lots of elements of a car you can check out while on the lot. For example, while on the lot, you can identify rust damage to the outside of the car. You can also examine the quality of the interior of the car and get a good visual as to what features the vehicle offers. Make sure you know what your goals are in a used car purchase before heading over to a dealership. Here are some things to watch for on your test drive that you won't know about the vehicle until you drive it can't really tell about a vehicle until you drive it.

Check All the Lights

Before you go anywhere, check all the lights. If you have someone with you, work together to make sure the headlights, brake lights, and turn lights are all working correctly. If you are by yourself, have the car salesperson help you with this task.

Check the Entertainment Systems

Entertainment systems are becoming a more complex and integral part of the car experience. Turn on the radio and make sure that it works. Bring a CD with you and put it in the CD player. Although CDs are not as popular as they once were, you still want the CD player to work. If you have an MP3 player, consider bringing it along as well and make sure that you can sync it up to the entertainment system.

Play around with the settings and make sure all of the speakers work. Watch out for blown speakers, which produce a crackling sound.

Test the Heating and Air Conditioning

Next, turn on the air conditioning and make sure that the car cools off quickly. After you turn on the air conditioning, turn on the heat and see how quickly the car warms up. It can be expensive to repair a broken heating or cooling system in your vehicle, so be sure to test out both the heating and air conditioning system regardless of what the outside temperature is like.

If the vehicle has climate-controlled heating and air conditioning, be sure to get in the back seat and make sure that the entire system works correctly, not just the system up front. If the vehicle has heated seats, be sure to test them out as well.

Pay Attention to Handling

Finally, you need to pay attention to how the vehicle feels as you drive it. When you press on the brakes, does the vehicle respond accordingly or is there a lag or loud noise? How does the vehicle respond? Does it turn easily? Do you hear any strange sounds?

Pay attention to your instincts. If something feels off, move on to another vehicle or have a mechanic inspect the vehicle before you go through with the purchase to ensure that you have a full understanding of the work the vehicle will need.

Although there are a lot of great used cars for sale out there, you should always take it for a test drive to find the best one for you. Check the lights, entertainment system, air conditioning, and heater. Pay attention to how the car drives, and if something doesn't feel right, look into it. Always test drive a car before purchasing it.