Test drives aren't just about kicking the tires, or even taking a car for a spin around the block. The right choice includes a thorough inspection--the car you buy must fit your needs, lifestyle and demands. Make sure you're prepared when you get behind the wheel with this comprehensive guide to vehicle test drives.
Vehicle Identification Number (VIN):______________
Equipment (Standard and Optional): If possible, get a copy of the sticker.
Before You Drive
The Walkaround is a very important part of the test drive, and you're not even inside the car. Let's face it: except for the gearheads and racers, we pretty much buy a car on looks and comfort. Does it say what I want to say to the world, within my budget and credit rating? Making sure it's a look you'll love for at least three years is all part of the test drive, baby, so buckle up and let's take a walk:
Looks can Kill
What does the styling say? Middle-aged guy in a crisis, little ol' granny, or Mommy just bought me a car? Hey…is it you?
- Is the color appealing?
- What other cars does it remind you of?
- Are there any blemishes, fades or other defects?
- Are the doors, trunk, and hood easy to operate?
- Are they heavy? Do they sound tight?
- Tires and wheels: standard or optional?
- Are the windows UV-protected?
- Dealer-installed options?
- Special features?