Tips for taking a test drive

Here at Perrys you can easily request a test drive online with our enquiry form for your next potential new car or used car purchase.

For those who undertake a test drive from a local Perrys Dealership, our staff will be happy to assist you with any questions you have and provide quotes based upon your chosen vehicle specification. Also following your test drive, you are not under any obligation to proceed with a purchase.

Nevertheless some motorists may have concerns about whether they’ll get the most out of their car test drive. This concern can come particularly in terms of deciding whether the vehicle in question is suited or not and whether there are any technical issues to be unearthed, particularly if looking at a used car purchase. A test drive is especially important if you are viewing a used car to buy.

If you’re planning a test drive soon there are numerous handy tips you can keep in mind that’ll help make the process as informative to you as possible, and if required can help you uncover any feared issues which may linger, particularly if dealing with a used car model in a private sale.

Planning for the test drive

It probably goes without saying, but before even considering getting behind the wheel for a test drive you should confirm you are insured to undertake such a thing.

Dealers will have cover specifically for this purpose, but if you test drive a used or nearly-new car being sold by a private vendor, you’ll need to use your own. If you are unsure, talk to your insurer. They will be able to offer you comprehensive cover over a short period of time so that you can test drive the cars you are thinking of buying.

When examining the details of your own insurance you should look for a policy which says you can “drive another car with the owner’s permission”, this is referred to as Driver Other Cars (DOC) cover.

Checks and observations

When getting inside the car your taking for a test drive, check you can adjust the seat and the steering wheel so you’ve got a comfortable driving position. Don’t be shy to adjust the position set-up until you’re happy with it.

If the car your test driving has removable seats, it’s worth checking that they fit securely and that none of the connectors are damaged. If you plan to use child seats in your next planned purchase, take them with you and make sure that they fit in whatever model you’re testing.

If the car your testing is a nearly new car, make sure that the engine’s cold before you start it, by placing your hand on the bonnet. If the car feels warm, it’d be worth finding out why, keeping in mind that particularly in a private purchase the seller may try and hide a problem.

While the car is still stationary, turn the steering wheel from lock-to-lock to check that its action feels comfortably for you and is free from resistance.

Once you on the road test driving your potential next car, remain observatory for any unusual clunks or bangs from the suspension, as well as for any bounciness from the car or unevenly rolls through corners.

Broken springs, a fault you may find on a used car, will reduce road grip and the effectiveness of the brakes considerably. If the car appears to be struggling in these areas an issue with the springs could explain things.

Furthermore when using the brakes, Keep in mind that they should always respond immediately, and not need pumping or pressing very hard to make work. However hard you use the brakes there should never make any loud noises unless they have an issue that needs checking in service.

If the car your test driving has a manual gearbox, the gears should always be easy to engage and the action should feel consistent.

Any vehicle with an automatic gearbox set up should swap gears smoothly and quickly. If the clutch doesn’t engage until the pedal has reached the top of its travel, then that is likely because this component needs to be changed.

If you are planning on taking family members with your regularly in your possible car purchase, it’s a good idea to take them with you to the test drive. Other family members, particularly if they are experienced motorists who have bought cars before, could end up spotting problems with the vehicle you’re testing that you might have missed otherwise.