8 Tips for Getting the Most Out of a Test Drive

October 15th, 2021 by

The search for the perfect vehicle to fit your needs and lifestyle can feel overwhelming. Something that can help narrow down your choices is test driving – it is perhaps the biggest tool in your toolbox for making that process of elimination just a bit easier.

Here, we’ve gathered some tips and advice on test driving new and used vehicles. Hopefully, this will help you make the wisest decision.

Test Driving a Used Car

1) Research: Life is busy, and you don’t want to waste your time test driving a car that ultimately won’t be a contender. Tools like our Trade-In Value Estimator, and places like Carfax or Autocheck, can give you a deeper look into a vehicle’s records and history (i.e., tell you if the vehicle was involved in any accidents).

  • It’s also important to research the price that the make and model (with around the same number of miles) is going for from other sellers. This will ensure you’re getting a fair price.

2) Inspection: Before getting behind the wheel, take a good look at the vehicle’s exterior. Does the paint match from panel to panel? Is there any rust on the body? Are the tires in decent shape, or are they balding? (Not that bad tires necessarily knock a car out of the running, but you’ll have to consider the cost of replacing them.)

3) Getting Inside: Adjust the mirrors and seat to your preference. Once those are adjusted, sit behind the driver’s seat to see how much legroom your adjustments leave your passengers.

Check all the utilities and features of the vehicle by running through this checklist:

  • Are the seats comfortable?
  • How easy is it to enter and exit (this is especially important to consider if you transport children or infant car seats)?
  • Does the heat and air conditioning work?
  • Do the vents emit any mildewy smells?
  • Are there any warning lights on the dash?
  • Do the windows open and close smoothly?
  • Are the lights flickering?
  • How does the audio sound – any cracks?
  • Do the USB ports work?

4) Driving: There are many things to consider when you take your potential next vehicle out for that first spin. First, be sure you feel comfortable throughout the entirety of the test drive – this means you’re comfortable in your seat AND comfortable with the amount of visibility the vehicle offered.

Trust your instincts about how the vehicle drives – it should not be rickety, and the brakes should be nice and responsive. Test the brakes by braking with a loose grip on your steering wheel – the vehicle should remain straight.

Also, consider test driving on roads that are a bit rougher than those you maybe typically drive on (if there are some available nearby). This will allow you to gauge how well the car performs on rougher terrain.

Are you in the market for a reliable used car in Birmingham? Check out our extensive used car inventory. At Jim Burke Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram, we make test driving easy and enjoyable. You can trust that our experienced sales staff will be honest and upfront about vehicle histories and committed to finding you the used vehicle that perfectly fits your unique needs.

Test Driving a New Car

Since purchasing a new car means you will be its first owner, you don’t have to worry about any potential problematic vehicle history, but that doesn’t mean you should purchase blindly. Here are some tips and considerations for how to test drive a new car:

1) Bring a friend or partner along for the test drive. You’ll want your passengers to be comfortable, as well, and they can help point out things you may not notice.

2) Learn how the bells and whistles work. Technology advances at a rapid rate, so the bells and whistles of a new car may be unfamiliar to you. For instance, some new cars today have smart safety systems or self-driving capabilities, so you’ll want to know how to use those. If you have questions or concerns, your salesperson should be able to teach you the ropes.

3) Comfort is everything. If you don’t feel comfortable and at ease driving a vehicle during the test drive, you probably won’t feel comfortable and at ease driving it to work every day.

4) Check the exterior. Just because it’s new, doesn’t mean it has no damage. Damage can occur in shipping and test drives. 

Looking for a reliable new SUV? We love the iconic and sleek 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee. It has best-in-class towing capabilities (up to 7200 lbs.) and a 6.2 4L V8 engine, rendering it one of the most powerful SUVs on the market. Not to mention, it has a rockin’ infotainment system and comes in a variety of sexy colors.

Interested? Call Jim Burke Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram at (205) 502-2772 to set up an appointment for a test drive today. While you’re on the line, ask us about our current new vehicle specials and used car deals in Birmingham! We’ll help you save money on a great, reliable vehicle.



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