Part 3 – The Test Drive

    THE TEST DRIVE — Would you buy a pair of shoes without trying them on? Some people would, but most of us would try them on first. It’s same with cars—some buy them without driving them first, but most need to drive it.

    Why? The car may look great, and you may just love the comfy seats, but maybe it just doesn’t fit you. It may be the interior, how it drives, the feel of it, or just the overall impression. Most of this you will find on the drive, not while looking at it all clean and shiny in the dealership lot.

    Always take the car out for an extended drive. Drive it places you normally would go—up hills or on windy roads, or on the freeway. Maybe even take it to see if it fits in your garage. If you have kids, take it home and put them in it to see if they are comfortable, and if they all fit well. Basically, use it like you would your normal car and see if it “fits” your lifestyle.

    When test-driving look for things that would bother you. This could be things like wind noise, the seats, interior set up or other things. Ask yourself honestly if you can live with that, or would it bother you to the extent that you don’t want the car anymore. Test the performance; see if it is suitable with acceleration, braking, and handling.

    If you’re buying used, see if there are any rattles, vibrations, or an alignment problems that could be expensive in the future. If this is the case, talk it over with the dealer and you might be able to negotiate the repairs before the sale. Be sure you bring this to their attention before you get too far into the deal because this sort of thing can affect it.

    When test-driving a car, think long term and don’t get caught up in the excitement of the moment. Can you drive this car everyday? Will this car still work for my needs in several years? At the end of your drive, take a look at the car again. Walk around it and explain the features to yourself.

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