6 Important Answers To Have Before Test Driving A Vehicle

Think of it as a practice test for your next five years of ownership. 

Test drives can be a scary topic so we decided to put together a guide of customer questions to help get you ready for your next big investment. 

Why is a test drive important before buying a car? Should you buy a new car without test driving it?

Test driving a brand new car or truck before purchasing is important but not necessary anymore to avoid that post purchase cognitive dissonance. It gives you the option to feel it out and answer questions that may only arise in person. 

Test driving a vehicle is going to let you feel how your rear-end fits in the seat and how comfortable you are. You’ll get to see blindspots and how they interact with your unique vision lines. 

It has never been more convenient to purchase a brand new car from the comfort of your home. The rise of video-conferencing has made long-distance car buying even more accessible.

Test drives are still important but no longer required. The information is readily available for you to shop in the way that best suits you. 

It’s a practice test for years of ownership. Some maybe comfortable challenging the test but others will want the practice test. 

How do I take a proper test drive in a car?

There are a few things that you can do to ensure that you get the most out of your test drive and make the best-informed decision.

It’s not a bad idea to do a quick knowledge test for the rules of the road beforehand. 

You should book the test drive early. Booking ahead is most important in the winter when the dealership staff have to sweep off snow and heat the vehicle.

Once you are handed the keys, adjust the mirrors and seat to ensure the best vision and comfort possible. Remember that you could spend several hours in your vehicle a week so take your time in the setup phase. 

You won’t need to worry about routes as your sales associate will help you navigate the area. Be sure to mention that you want to try the vehicle on the highway.

Speeding might seem fun but a test drive isn’t the place. You should test the accelerator but it won’t give you a good feel for your day-to-day driving. We also recommend testing the how the brakes interact in different scenarios, as well. Please do this safely. 

Set goals for your drive, like testing the backup camera, and  about halfway through, pull over. Go through your goals and current feelings. Discuss this with your sales rep and finish the drive. 

Test, test, and test some more. Make sure you are feeling comfortable with everything, including steering wheel button placements. 

How long should you test drive a car? How many Kms can I test drive a car?

Buying a car, truck, or SUV, whether it’s new or pre-owned is a huge commitment so don’t cheap out on the research phase. Take at least 30 minutes on your test drive. 

Try driving 15-20km in the city/neighbourhood environment, and 15-20km on the highway. You should get a solid feel for how the vehicle handles. Try to mimic your commute.

At the end of the day, worry less about an appropriate length and more about your comfort level. If you need another 5 minutes…TAKE IT!

Do car dealerships let you test drive by yourself anymore?

Car dealerships will often let you test drive by yourself but you can always ask if that’s an option. It will rarely be a no. You should always follow the rules of the road, even if nobody is looking over your shoulder.

Should you test drive by yourself? We would advise that you bring the sales associate from the car dealership. They know the best routes in the area and can take notes for you while driving. It will let you focus on the drive and still have your thoughts on paper.

Do you have sales pressure anxiety? Worry-not! 

Your dealership’s sales associate is a human being too. Let them know what you need from them and they will oblige. If not then you know this isn’t the dealership for you. 

Do car dealerships still offer test drives if it’s storming?

Storms and snow are synonymous with Canada driving. Test drives still happen when it is storming in almost every single dealership. It’s a fantastic opportunity to drive the new or pre-owned vehicle in conditions that otherwise wouldn’t be readily available.

Always ensure that you drive when it’s safe and pull over when it isn’t. If things worsen on your drive you should always find a safe spot to park. 

Use this time to test the climate control, steering wheel buttons, and use your imagination to theory test different scenarios. 

Does the value of a car depreciate as soon as you drive it off the lot?

Everything depreciates when it’s no longer new. There are lines in commercial accounting documents that track exactly that. 

You can expect 10% depreciation off the lot but you also wouldn’t sell your vehicle two days after buying it which makes this amount quite low and shouldn’t be factored into your purchase. 

Depreciation should be important to you. We strongly recommend talking to your Sales and Finance Representative about warranty repair and ceramic coatings on your windshield and body. It will help you see better when it matters most and prevent rock pitting which will always occur from our Canadian roads and weather. 

You don’t have to let depreciation affect you if you protect your investment. 

Is it ok to test drive cars for fun, with no intention of buying?

Test driving a car is fun and exciting. You should try it if you get the chance. 

It should be said that this really isn’t the place to be doing a road test or preparing for driver licensing. You’re essentially using a rental car and it should be treated as such. 

If you don’t intend to buy a vehicle at this time, you can still test drive but be upfront with your dealership. After all, it may influence your decision down the road. It helps to form contacts who are looking forward to helping you when the time is right. 

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