Buying a used car is a great way to save money on your next vehicle while still getting a car that's reliable and safe to drive. Of course, before you decide to purchase any vehicle, it's always a good idea to take it on a little test drive. And the next time you're test driving a used car, get a better picture of how the vehicle runs by being sure to complete these few important "tests."
Crank Up the Heat and AC
You'll want to make sure that heat blows out warm and the AC comes out ice cold. Believe it or not, this is something not all used car test drivers think about checking. Specifically, make sure the AC blows out ice cold air; if it doesn't, there's a chance the refrigerant needs to be re-charged. This is a simple fix and likely one you can talk the dealership into handling for you before you buy the car, thus saving you $100 or more of your own money.
Put the Pedal to the Floor
The key to remember when you're testing driving a car is that you have every right to test out its engine, acceleration, and transmission to the fullest. So when you hop on the freeway on-ramp, don't be afraid to put the pedal all the way down to the floor to ensure the acceleration is smooth and steady. This will indicate that the car's transmission is in good shape and that you can quickly and safely merge onto the freeway when you need to.
Drive on Freeways and Side Streets
In addition to taking a used car out onto the freeway, be sure to test it out at regular speeds as well. Take the car around local side streets where you have to do plenty of stopping and accelerating, as this will help you get a better idea of how the brakes and other aspects of the vehicle function.
Turn Off the Radio and Listen
After making sure the radio works, it's a good idea to shut it off or turn the volume way down so you can hear all the noises coming from the car as you accelerate, brake, and shift gears. If you notice any strange noises, don't hesitate to bring them to your salesperson's attention or bring in a professional mechanic to give the car a once-over before you sign any paperwork or make a down payment.