Test driving a car is extremely important, especially if it is used. When you are going to spend your hard-earned “dinero” (Spanish for cash) on a car or truck, you want to make sure that it is in proper working condition and there are no underlying problems the seller is trying to avoid. But how would you know this?
Here is a simple checklist that I made to give to anyone who is going to buy a car and test drive one:
- Price: How much is the car? This really applies to the used car market. If the car seems too inexpensive, it is probably for a reason. People do not want to just give cars away (contrary to what they may say). You need to compare prices of the same make and model to determine if the car you are looking at is really a “steal” (good buy) or a steal (stolen from a previous owner).
- Mileage: Has this car been to Timbuktu and back again? When you are looking at the car to buy, make sure to check the Odometer, which is the gauge that measures the distance the car has traveled. You need to get a mechanic to make sure the odometer has not been tampered with.
- Exterior: Does the car look like it has been through a demolition derby or maybe drove through a canyon of sharp objects? Check the exterior of the car. Do the paint colors match on each body panel?** Does the car have any dents, dings, or scratches? If so, this is a sign that the owner might not have taken care of the car in the best manner possible. **If you see different colors in body panels, it is most likely that the car has been in an accident and the panels were replaced.**
- Interior: Does the car smell like it came from a smokeshop or that some small animal died in it? Check out the upholstery and quality of the interior. Is it damaged, stained, does it smell? If so, then this is even a worse indication that the owner does not even care what he/she has to deal with in the car.
- Performance/Body: How do the engine and other devices behave? Are there any strange noises? When you go to inspect the engine, you may need to reference the car’s owner manual, which will give you all of the details you need to know about the car.Use your senses, not your cents: How does the car sound? Are there any creaks or other strange noises? Are there any strange smells? Is there any smoke coming from anywhere? Are there any leaks?** Leak tests can be performed in multiple ways, please refer to my other article coming soon about this**
Now that this checklist is over, here comes a secondary one when you are in the driver’s seat (but read this only when not in motion!).
- Visibility: How well can you see out of the windows and mirrors? If you are on the short side, you may have some issues with visibility, especially in a large truck or small sportscar.
- Placement of knobs, switches, etc.: How well can you reach everything in the car? Are there too many buttons? Are they grouped too close together? Are they loose or wobbly?A/C and Heat: Does it feel like the Tundra and the Savannah? Check out the A/C and the heat in the car. Blast each one, to determine its strength and how well it performs in the car.
- Audio: How would Beethoven sound in the car? Does the sound system suit your needs? Does it work properly?
- Hinges and Lights: Are there any hinges that need repairing? Do the windows roll down properly? Do the lights work well in the car? Do the exterior light switches work well?
- Of course, there is the last section of this article, and that is finally putting the pennies down to purchase your dream machine:
- CarFax: Get that fox to give it to you straight. Get an online report of the vehicle’s history using its VIN # (Vehicle Identification Number). That report should tell you the mileage, how many owners, and if the car was involved in any accidents.
- Scams? Are you being offered some kind of incentive to buy this car? Does it come with an item like a GPS? If so, this means the seller wants this car GONE! Be a little cautious of this.
- Warranty? Does the car come with its factory warranty or an extended one? Does the dealer offer its own warranty on the car?
There is so much to this topic, however this article will properly suit your needs when going to buy a car