Part Four: The Test Drive
Finally, you will want to take your potential new used car on a test drive. The test drive actually starts when you first see the car. Before entering the vehicle, have the salesperson pop the hood and start the car while you listen for any strange noises during start up: grinding, popping or rattling is not normal, so listen carefully. If the car starts and sounds good, put your hand on the top of the motor and feel that it is running smooth and not rough.
If everything sounds, looks and feels good, then look around the engine compartment and underneath the motor for any signs of oil or fluid leaks. If the bottom of the motor is covered in oil this could lead to pricey repairs.
If the engine is clean move on to the tires. Inspect them to make sure they have a safe amount of tread and no unusual wear patterns. The tires should be evenly worn from inside to outside.
Once satisfied with the engine and tires, have the salesperson rev up the vehicle while you observe the quality of the exhaust. If, when revving, you notice some blue smoke, then the car is burning oil, which could lead to pricey repairs.
If all has checked out, then you are ready for your test drive. First, start out slow: hit the brakes at slow speeds and listen for any abnormal noises such as clunking or knocking. Put the car in reverse and then back into drive looking for abnormal shifting or clunking of the transmission. Then, turn the vehicle all the way left and right will driving at slow speeds and continue to listen for noises. If all seems well and there are no lights present, such as ABS or Check Engine lights, you are ready for your road test.
While driving, let go of the steering wheel and see how the car is tracking down the road. If it is pulling constantly to the left or right, the car is in need of an alignment. If you feel a vibration in the steering wheel that increases with speed, you might have a tire balance issue.
Continue to listen for any abnormal noises while driving. Also, be aware of smells while driving. If you smell burning oil when driving or while the car is sitting at idle, this could be a sign of a valve cover leak or more.
Also, be sure to ask lots of questions. At Full Throttle Auto Sales, we are here to help! And our maintenance and warranty packages will give you reassurance that you can trust your purchase.