July 8, 2014

How to Get the Most out of Your Used Car Test Drive

How to Get the Most out of Your Used Car Test Drive

We’re confident in our used cars at our buy here pay here car lot, but we also understand that people want to try them out before they commit. That’s why we encourage every one of our customers to try out the cars they’re interested in before they buy.

But how do you know your test drive will tell you what you want to know? To help you get the most out of your test drive, we’ve put together a few simple tips and guidelines. After all, we only want you to be happy with your purchase from our buy here pay here dealership!

Tip 1: Know What You Want

The first step towards being happy with your new used car purchase is to think about what you want before looking at cars. That way, you can find a car that fits your needs and desires, rather than adjusting your thoughts to fit a car that is “good enough.”

To do this, make a list of what is important to you in your car. Think about how you use your car every day and what you like or dislike about it. Then, when you come in for a test drive, pay attention to those specific areas and see how the car measures up.

Common concerns when people are buying a car include:

Tip 2: Don’t Drive Right Away

When you take a test drive, it’s easy to get excited, jump into the car, and start driving. But for many people the look of the car’s exterior is just as important. Before you start driving, take a moment to walk around and examine the car closely from all four sides. Try to get a sense for the overall appearance and what you like about it versus what you don’t like. If there are certain aspects of the car’s look that bother you now, chances are they will always bother you.

This is also a good time to check on the condition of the car’s exterior. Our used cars at The KEY are in great shape overall, but any used car could have minor imperfections. Check the car’s nose, hood, fenders, roof, and rear end for any small dents, scratches, or paint chips. Check the fits between the panels for gaps or rubbing pieces. Most of these issues are very easy to fix, but it’s always better to find them before you buy so you aren’t unhappy with your purchase later on.

Tip 3: Try Everything You Can

Before setting off on your drive, take a few minutes to sit in the car and just try things out. Test all of the buttons and features you can before you set off. Air conditioner, heater, headlights, brake lights, turn signals, windshield wipers – if it turns on and off, opens and closes, lights up, or makes noise, try it. Sometimes small issues can slip by unnoticed, only to pop up weeks or months later.

This is also a good time to check how comfortable you and your passengers will be in the car. Make sure you adjust the seat, mirrors, steering wheel, and anything else into your preferred driving position. If you have anyone else with you on the test drive (like your husband or wife, parent, child, or friend), ask them to do the same in the other seats. Many people will even move around the cabin and try out different seats to see if they’re comfortable and accessible.

Other good things to check are:

  • The size of the trunk or rear cargo area;
  • How easy it is to get in and out of the car;
  • How easy the door and trunk handles are to use;
  • If you have a baby or young child, how easy it is to put in and use a car seat.

In the end, you should have a good sense of what it’s like to ride in the car. Are the seats comfortable? Do you like the upholstery and carpeting? Are the instruments and radio easy to operate? Does everything work like it should? If the answer to all of these questions is “yes,” then it’s time for the next step: taking the car on the road.

Tip 4: Driving the Car

Once you start driving the car, you should already have a good sense for the interior features and comfort. That leaves you free to pay attention to how the car actually drives.

When test driving a car, you should try to drive it the same way that you plan to drive it every day. If you’re a commuter who usually drives on the highways, make sure you take the car onto the highway and drive it at speed. If you’re a frequent driver in the city, go through some higher-traffic areas and see how the car performs in stop-and-go situations. Try to parallel park the car somewhere and get a sense for its steering and handling. You might even find a side street with some rougher road to test the ride comfort.

At the end of your drive, you should have an idea of how the car performs under a variety of conditions. Obviously you can’t plan out everything – if it’s raining that day, for instance, you won’t be able to check the handling as well – but for the most part you should know what you’re getting after your drive.

Tip 5: Don’t Be Afraid to Say “No”

A car is a major purchase. If at any point during your walkaround or test drive you feel dissatisfied with the car, don’t feel bad about walking away. We want you to be as happy as possible with your vehicle. That means our salespeople will personally show you every model on the lot if you want.

Hopefully, though, at the end of your test drive you’ll have a car that you can’t wait to take home. And the best thing is that, at The KEY, all the hard work of getting approved and credited is already done! In fact, we can get you in and out the door in less than 15 minutes if you bring all your documents with you to our buy here pay here dealership. There’s no faster or simpler way to get a used car in Oklahoma City.

Ready for a great used car? Come to The KEY today and take one of our cars (or all of them) out for a test drive. We’re here to help you find the perfect car for your life. Follow us on Facebook and Google+ for the latest news and special deals!


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