Whether you buy a new or used Toyota car
or other vehicle, a good test drive is important. However, the purpose for test driving a new car is often to try out the vehicle’s comfort, size, steering, etc. The purpose behind test driving a used car, on the other hand, goes beyond that. You want to be sure a used car is in good shape – especially if buying from a private seller, who may or may not disclose the vehicle’s flaws to you. Here are five tips to keep in mind when test driving a used Toyota or other vehicle.
Forget about how much you love the paint job or how comfortable it feels to finally have room for your whole family. Instead, focus only on the vehicle’s performance. If you go into the test drive wanting desperately to approve of the vehicle, you’ll be hard pressed to find anything wrong. Don’t shrug off issues you will most definitely care about in the future just so you can get “the car of your dreams.”
Perform a pretest inspection before actually driving the vehicle. There’s a lot to discover about a car before taking off into the sunset with it, so do the following:
Check each of the tire’s treads for thickness and evenness.
Write stuff down.
Open all the doors and trunk. Air out the vehicle for a few minutes to determine its true smell.
Pop the hood and listen to the engine run – are there any knocks or hisses?
Make sure all of the locks work from the inside and outside.
Check under the car for fluid leaks.
Look for corrosive wires under the hood.
Ensure all interior controls work properly.
It’s likely you may forget any and all concerns you had unless you specifically take notes on what you notice during the inspection. Have a friend or family member go with you as a second pair of eyes and a secretary to whom you can dictate your notes as you drive.
Make a checklist.
When you’re actually test driving the vehicle, it’s easy to just drive and forget everything you wanted to check. Make a list ahead of time and have your friend or family member read it to you as you drive. Some items you’ll want to include on your list are:
Drive on both the freeway and surface streets to ensure vehicle works at various speeds.
Test the brakes – are they squishy or sticky? Do they squeak?
Make sure the transmission shifts smoothly.
Check for any shaking or wobbling during the drive.
Remember, you’re entitled to know that the used Toyota you’re purchasing is top-quality, and that can take time. Drive around for several miles – don’t let the owner pressure you into a quick test drive around the block. If you aren’t sure you want to purchase it, take your time making the decision.