A Step-By-Step Guide to Test Driving a Car at an Auto Dealership

Purchasing a vehicle is an expensive investment that most people live with for years. It’s essential to test drive the car or cars on your list thoroughly.

While many aspects of a vehicle can be judged numerically, the driving experience is subjective. A step-by-step guide can help document processes and ease the learning curve.

A Step-By-Step Guide to Test Driving a Car at an Auto Dealership

Get to Know the Vehicle

A test drive is an excellent opportunity to make sure the vehicle is what you want. Getting familiar with the vehicle inside and out is essential to make an informed purchase decision. Spend a little time adjusting the seat and mirrors to be comfortable. Play around with the infotainment system and see how easy it is to operate. Look for strange noises and beeps to discover what they are.

Especially with the current state of the car market, you’ll want to be proactive when testing out vehicles like the new Kia. Check the dealership’s website to ensure your interested vehicle is still available for a test drive. The dealership should be able to reserve the vehicle for you until you’re ready to test it out. It may also be a good idea to bring along a friend or family member for moral support and to serve as an extra set of eyes throughout the process.

Take the Vehicle for a Test Drive

Before taking the vehicle on a test drive, read through a Carfax or Autocheck report. These reports can point out things that might make a specific car, not a good match, such as an accident history or other repairs that could have been done better.

Get in and out of the vehicle multiple times, paying particular attention to how easy it is to enter. Also, does the driver’s seat feel comfortable? How far do you lean forward to reach the pedals and controls?

While driving, please note how the car accelerates from a stop and how well it drives at highway speeds and in city traffic. Also, drive over some bumps and stretches of rough roads to see how the vehicle handles those conditions. Braking is another crucial thing to pay attention to, testing how much pressure it takes to bring the vehicle to a halt. You can also determine if the brake pedal feels responsive or soft and mushy.

Ask Questions

Rather than just turning the key and mashing the throttle, ask your customers what they like about the vehicle. This helps you understand their driving habits and connect with them as a person. For example, suppose they mention that their current vehicle has a poor suspension or they don’t like the color of the interior. In that case, you can suggest other vehicles in your inventory with these features.

Also, ask about their braking ability. Does the vehicle stop quickly or have a long braking distance?

If you need clarification on whether the vehicle is a good fit, try asking your customer if they could take it for an afternoon or overnight test drive. This gives them a chance to get a better feel for the car, especially after a night of sleep. It also lets them see if it fits in their garage or parking spot at home. It may be the difference between a sale and no sale.

Listen to the Dealer

Dealerships often ask for photocopies of your driver’s license and car insurance information before they let you take the vehicle on a test drive. This is done to minimize the risk of theft and ensure that the salesperson can identify you if anything goes wrong during your test drive.

It’s also a good idea to have a copy of your insurance information with you, even if the dealership has a blanket policy that covers their vehicles. Many auto dealerships ask that the salesperson accompany you on the test drive, but don’t hesitate to request that they leave you alone.

During your test drive, pay attention to how the vehicle performs. Steer it around tight turns and listen for odd noises or vibrations that may indicate power steering or suspension issues. Merge onto highways to see how the car handles acceleration and freeway driving. Try passing or merging in heavy traffic to see how it handles congestion and how the engine sounds at higher speeds.