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Test Driving Tips

If you're thinking about buying or leasing a new car. one of the best things you can do before making your final decision, is to take the vehicle for a test drive. Chances are, you'll be spending a good amount of time behind the wheel of whichever vehicle you wind up with, so it's best to get a good idea of how you'll feel when driving it, and how the car handles the road with you at the wheel.

Here are a few things you may want to do or consider when test driving a vehicle...

Open and close the doors, the trunk, and the windows. 

You'll want to make sure that the doors, windows and trunk of the vehicle open and close with ease, and that all powered mechanisms work properly. Make sure that the trunk stays open on its own, as it is supposed to, especially if it has a hatch. You may want to ask if the hydraulic lift for the hatch has even been repaired or replaced, if it's a pre-owned vehicle. Also check the hinges of the doors and trunk for rust. Make sure the power windows open and close properly from their control buttons, and that the safety locks work properly, as well.

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Check over the interior and exterior.

Thoroughly check over the interior of the car. This should include looking for traces of pet hair, checking for stains, holes in upholstery, and checking underneath the car floor mats, as well. You might want to place a hand underneath the area covered by a floor mat to check for any signs of dampness or water damage. Make sure there are no nicks or scratches in the window tint, or unsightly damage to the interior. Check the exterior for scratches, dents, or signs of previous auto body work. If anything catches your eye, be sure to ask the owner or sales person about it, and ask to see a vehicle report.

Once you're in the driver's seat...

Adjust the seat and all of the mirrors, just as you would in your own car. Check the visors to make sure they work properly, and check everything on the dash or console. Before you hit the road, become familiar with the seat belt, and practice using your mirrors. Check to make sure that the lights work properly, and ask for assistance in trying out the headlights, day runners, fog lights, if the vehicle has them, etc. It's also a good idea to get a feel for how the heat and air, and defroster work in the car, as well. Test the stereo to be sure everything works properly, and listen to make sure all of the speakers in the car are working, as well.

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When you're on the road...

Make sure you're in a comfortable driving position that will keep you alert, and that you are able to easily see from. Unless you're test driving a manual transmission, keep both hands on the wheel during your drive. Take note of your comfort level, whether or not you like the height you're sitting at, be the vehicle low to the ground, or higher up, and how easily you are able to see over the front of the vehicle, and see when backing up. Ask about extra features that you might not be familiar with using, especially if the vehicle is a fairly new model. Ask yourself if you're comfortable with the way the car handles the road- keep an ear out for road noise, etc.

Other things to consider...

Check the tires- all four of them. Take a closer look at the tires on the vehicle and ask how many miles have been put on the current set of tires on the vehicle? If you feel so inclined, take a coin from your pocket and check the tire tread. You don't want to buy a vehicle that has bald or nearly bald tires, which will just need replacing soon down the road. You may also want to consider the climate you live in- will you feel safe driving with the vehicles current tires in inclement weather, if your area is prone to such weather? Do you need to consider a set of winter tires for the winter months? Does the vehicle come with a spare tire?

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Check under the hood.

You might want to consider asking the owner or sales person to let you take a look under the hood. If you don't know much about mechanics, you may want to bring someone along with you who does, and can spot potential cracks, leaks or other unwanted problems. If you are near making your decision, you may want to take the vehicle for a second test drive, and ask if you have the option of having your trusted mechanic take a look at the vehicle, and under the hood, before you make your purchase. This would be an out of pocket expense for you, but may save you money down the road, and give you peace of mind.

A test drive or two may be a bit more time consuming, but it's a necessary step to take when making the decision whether or not to purchase a particular vehicle, especially if the vehicle is pre-owned. Taking it for a test drive will give you a sense of how the vehicle operates, and what it will be like to drive it on a regular basis.

Brought to you by Deery Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram.

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