Monday, May 05, 2008

How to Properly Test Drive a Car

When you have finally picked out the car you want, it is time for the all important test drive. If the seller will not let you drive the car before you buy it, walk away. They are hiding something otherwise. Make it very clear that you want plenty of time behind the wheel before you buy it. If you can't fully test it more than just one trip around the block, it is time to walk away. What should you look for on your drive though?

When you drive the car, the first thing to begin to look for is to see if the car slightly drifts to one side of the road or the other. This could be either just a simple alignment problem, or it could be signs of a very serious frame alignment problem. When driving in a straight line the car should also not vibrate or shimmy since that are signs of problems as well. The wheels should also not vibrate when turning slightly right or left rather like you would do when changing lanes.

To test the brakes you should go find a large empty road or perhaps a parking lot. Just make sure no one is following behind you. You will want to get the car up to about 40 miles per hour and then stomp on the brake firmly. The car should begin to stop smoothly and not pull hard to one side or the other. If the car has antilock braking systems you should feel the brake vibrate under your foot as the ABS works. If the car does not have ABS then the pedal should remain stiff underneath your foot while braking.

The parking brake should be tested as well. To test the parking brake you will want to drive up a hill and then brake. Once a stop, put the car in neutral and pull the emergency brake. Take your foot off the normal brake. If the car does not move, you have a working E-brake. If it doesn't, well then you have a problem and should begin braking regularly.

While on that hill, you will want to test the cars acceleration. Go to the bottom of the hill and stop. Once at standstill, step on the gas. The car should go up the hill without any problem, random surges in power or funny sounds coming from the engine. This same test should be done on a flat area, but this time, flat out floor it. If the car does not accelerate hard, smoothly or makes crazy noises, then you probably will want to not consider it.

Another easy problem to check for is the Engine overheating. By getting out on the highway and cruising for more then ten minutes, you will be able to tell if the engine overheats as well as being able to tell if the car performs at highway speeds. Once you get off the highway, find somewhere to park for 5 minutes and turn the AC all the way up. This is to simulate being stuck in traffic. The engine should not overheat during either of these activities.

By Jeff Hendrix

3 comments:

Billigflüge Thailand said...

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fairings said...

great advice! keep me posted if you think up more of the sort.

Firestone said...

Very interesting and useful article!