4 Tips for Car Test Drives
If you’re shopping for a new car, you’re going to wind up taking a test drive at some point. It’s the best way to determine if a car is a good fit for you, your family, and your collective needs.
There are a couple of ways to prepare for a test drive so you can get the best feel for the car or cars you’re looking at. We’ve put together the following guide with our best advice for your next visit to a car dealership.
How to Prepare for Your Next Test Drive
Do Your Research First
It will be difficult for a car salesperson to help if you don’t know what you like and what you can afford, so do some research first. Make a list of features your new car must have and a list of features that would be nice but aren’t deal breakers. Next, look at car brands you like and explore different models. You can check out new cars for sale in West Palm Beach, FL, and look at used car dealership listings as well.
While you build a wish list of vehicles, research their prices as well. An online calculator will give you an estimated monthly payment or you can call your bank for pre-approval. With pre-approval, you’ll be able to compare dealer financing incentives with offers from your bank, credit union or other lending institution.
Set Clear Boundaries and Expectations
Now it’s time to make appointments at a couple of dealerships. Car experts advise you make several appointments the same day if possible, to easily compare vehicles.
Set clear, specific expectations and boundaries when you make the appointments. An example would be asking to test drive two specific models, with or without the trim packages you like, and explaining how much time you will spend at the dealership. Repeat the expectations and boundaries when you arrive at the dealership. This may sound like, “Hi, I made an appointment to test drive these two cars and I have until 2 p.m. Then, I need to leave for my next appointment.”
Setting an appointment assures the cars you want to test drive are at that dealership and that you won’t have to wait for assistance. Plus, a timeframe helps you stick to the plan of visiting several dealerships.
Drive It Like You Own It
If you’re serious about buying a car, you need to be sure it will do everything you need it to. This may require a second test drive if you have a family because it makes sense to bring them or your partner. Furthermore, it’s a good idea to bring your favorite coffee mug, your children’s car seats, and anything you travel with typically like your surfboard, skis, or bike. If you’re single ask a friend to join you and get a feel for the passenger seat and back seat.
Keep a Checklist of Likes and Dislikes
With a checklist of your must-have features and would-be-nice features, you can score each vehicle you try out. Your passenger or family members can help. This scorecard can have items like:
- How the car drives, accelerates, brakes, steers, and rides
- Comfort of the all the seats and vehicle’s headroom
- Ease of getting in and out of the car and installing car seats
- Technology like Bluetooth, navigation system, and driver assistance options
Sharing your checklist with a salesperson will also help them guide you toward the perfect vehicle.
Enjoy Your Next Test Drive Experience in West Palm Beach, FL
If you need more information about vehicle makes and models while you’re researching, or you’re ready to set an appointment, the Schumacher Auto Group is here to help. Contact us at one of our stores in the West Palm Beach area today.