Purchasing a new or pre-owned vehicle isn't something that you want to take lightly or rush into. Chances are, you've given your new car some thought, and you want to make the best purchasing decision for yourself/your family. Buying a car is sort of like buying a new pair of shoes. You need to try them on (and possibly try out a few pairs) before settling on the one you want.
Before you even arrive at the dealership, have a list in mind of the cars you want to look at and possibly test drive. Test driving a vehicle will allow you to get the feel for the way the car handles. It will also give you the chance to see how comfortable it is, and give you a chance to test out all of the bells and whistles.
Schedule the test drive. Instead of just showing up on the dealership lot and asking to test drive a vehicle on the spot, set up an appointment in advance. This way, you'll be matched with a knowledgeable salesperson who will be able to assist you and answer all of your questions. It also ensures that someone will be available to spend one on one time with you and that you'll actually get a chance to sit behind the wheel of the car.
It's a good idea to have a list in hand when you arrive at the dealership. Make a note of everything you want to look for or check out while you're actually in the car. Doing a good bit of research before the day of the test drive is imperative. If you study up on some of the different cars that you might want to look at, you'll know exactly which questions to ask. Make sure that the cars you're going to be looking at or test driving fit within your budget. There's no point in asking to test drive a car that you can't afford.
Ask about the test drive route before you get to the dealership. The dealership you're going to visit may have a pre-determined route for test driving. Many dealerships set up routes on smooth surfaces for easy driving. If you want to get the full test drive experience to see how the vehicle handles on the highway, or around curves, etc., talk to the dealership about their test driving routes beforehand. Never be afraid to ask if you can drive the car somewhere that's 'off route' for the test drive.
On the day of the test drive, arrive on time. If you can, show up a little bit early for your test drive. This will give you a chance to relax, and you might even get to enjoy a hot cup of coffee while you wait. Think about all of the things you might want to ask the salesperson when they come to greet you. Once you're in the driver's seat, make sure you're 100% comfortable before taking off. Adjust the seat, the mirrors, and make sure you know how the turn signals and wipers work, just in case you get caught in a bit of rain.
During your test drive, pay attention. Don't worry about the radio- turn it off so you can listen to the car. You can always test the sound system on the lot. Leave your devices in the glove box so you are distraction-free during the test drive. After all, safety is of utmost importance when driving at all times.
After your test drive, ask questions. There's no such thing as a silly question when it comes to purchasing a new vehicle. You're spending a good chunk of change to make the purchase, so ask away! If the car(s) you tested didn't seem like a good fit, don't feel pressured to buy it. Keep looking around until you find the right vehicle to suit your needs.
Brought to you by Patrick Cars.