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Aside from purchasing a home, buying a car is one of the biggest investments you'll most likely make. It's also an exciting experience to venture into. As you prepare to sell your old car or purchase your first car, you're already thinking of all the features your new car will have and all the places you'll take it. 

Before you buy a new car, however, there are a few things you should do to ensure it's the right fit for you. A test drive is one of the most important things to consider. 

You'll start by doing a good amount of online research about the vehicle's make and model. Then, you'll visit each vehicle you're interested in to inspect it in person. Before you sign the paper and drive off in your new car, you'll want to test drive it. 

During the test drive, you should know what to be on the lookout for. Continue reading below for a test drive checklist that'll explain what to check when test driving a car. Here's everything you need to know. 

Bring Your Music Along

As you're preparing to leave your home, you'll want to bring a few items along with you, such as your driver's license and your car insurance card. Something else you'll want to pack with you is your music. Whether you use your smartphone to listen to music or another device, bring it with you and a cable in case it's necessary to connect your device to the vehicle. 

It's safe to say that you want a vehicle that allows you to listen to your music while driving. Bring these devices with you to ensure they can easily connect to the vehicle. 

Check the Fluids

Before you hop in the car and take it for a spin, you should first check the fluids. The transmission fluids, the engine oil, and even the windshield washer fluid should all be full. Go into the process already knowing what to look for and how to check all of the fluids. 

You can ask the salesman to show you each fluid level if needed. Make sure the vehicle hasn't been turned on to ensure the engine isn't warm. Then, use a flashlight to inspect the engine for signs of trouble. 

Look for leaks or signs of a creature nesting under the hood. 

Listen For Strange Noises Under the Hood

You can now have the salesman turn the vehicle on for you. Keep the hood open and try to listen carefully for any strange noises. do you hear a heavy clicking, ticking, or banging? 

Do keep in mind that direct-injection engines will have a ticking sound that's normal. Otherwise, the engine should remain quiet. If needed, you can always bring a mechanic along with you to help during the inspection. 

Look For Signs of Moisture

Now it's time to look for signs of water leaks. You can do this by checking some common trouble areas for moisture, rust, mildew, standing water, and water stains. Here's how you'll begin your search.

Head to the trunk and pull all items out. Remove the cargo floor panel and the spare tire as well. Pay close attention to the metal beneath the cargo section. Is there standing water, mildew, or rust? 

These are all signs of water damage. Then, be sure to look inside the vehicle as well. Remove the floor mats and place your hand on the floor while firmly pressing down. 

Do you feel the moisture in the carpeting? This is another sign of a leak that should be addressed. 

Ensure the Vehicle Controls Work

Now you're ready to start driving! As you hop in the driver's seat and put your seatbelt on, take a few minutes to ensure the vehicle controls work. Check everything from the climate controls to the volume controls and more. 

Press all the buttons. Become familiar with all the controls. Adjust your seat and mirrors and make sure everything works as it should. 

Even if it's freezing cold outside or scorching hot, turn on the heated seats and then turn on the air-conditioned seats to make sure there are no issues.

Conduct a Brake Check

Once you start driving, you'll want to conduct a brake check. Stop the vehicle at least three different times while driving at a moderate speed. Does the vehicle respond well to the brakes? 

Turn off the air conditioning and the music and listen closely. Do you hear any squeaking or scraping sounds? These could be signs of brakes in need of replacement. 

Try light braking as well, since some noises may not be heard otherwise. 

Travel at High Speeds

Don't forget to test drive the vehicle at high speeds as well. Be sure to find a nearby highway and travel for at least two miles. When accelerating onto the highway, pay attention to how to engine pulls. 

Is it a smooth and steady acceleration? Is there something that feels or sounds unusual? Never hesitate to bring someone along with you who can help you pinpoint signs of concern. 

Inspect the Tires

Once you've arrived back at your location, do be sure to inspect the tires. Check the inner and outer sidewalls for signs of damage or wear and tear. Both sidewalls should be smooth. 

Some light scuffing is normal, but there shouldn't be bubbling, tears, or rips in the tires. It's also ideal to check the years on the tires as well. 

Are You Ready to Schedule a Test Drive?

Now that you know exactly what to look for when test driving a car, it's time to schedule an appointment to see the vehicle you're interested in so you can test drive it. If you've found something you like at the last minute, don't worry, you can walk into the dealership, let them know what vehicle you're interested in, and take it for a spin.

At McKinney Dodge, we offer a wide variety of both new and used car inventories. Browse through our new vehicles and used vehicles today to get started!

Categories: New Inventory