MENOMONEE FALLS – “Conducting a test-drive is the driver’s time to make some key assessments about a prospective vehicle and how they align with their personal preferences,” said Ivan Lawler, Director of Operations with the Russ Darrow Group. “Making the most out of a test-drive involves careful consideration, understanding what you’re looking for, and common sense.”
Before stepping on the gas and beginning a test-drive, it is important to do some research beforehand and determine your wants and needs. To save time, it’s helpful to know exactly what makes and models of vehicles you wish to test-drive before setting foot on the lot. This way, you can devote a majority of your time to sitting behind the wheel. Plus, when you test-drive all of your prospective selections in one day, you can better compare one vehicle to another. You may also want to think about bringing a family member or friend along with you during test-drives to help bring attention to details you may miss or help you remember crucial points.
“Often times, it is assumed that turning the key is the first indication that your test-drive has begun, but in actuality, it should really begin with the vehicle’s exterior,” said Lawler. “Take the time to conduct a thorough walk around to inspect the condition of the vehicle’s exterior, and afterwards you can closely examine the interior.” This advice holds true for both new and used vehicles. Upon your examinations, take mental notes on particular features and evaluate how they would apply to your lifestyle. Does the vehicle’s storage space meet your needs? Is it easy to open and close the doors? How simple is it for rear-seat passengers to enter and exit the vehicle?
Now it’s time to sit behind the wheel and drive. Be sure the seat is comfortable and properly adjusted and that the primary controls can easily be located and used. “During your drive, you will want to take note of how responsive the vehicle is,” said Lawler. Does the vehicle have an adequate turning radius? How does the suspension feel? Does the car’s acceleration meet personal standards? You’ll also want to assess the front and rear windshield. Is it easy to see the road clearly, or are there noticeable blind spots? Furthermore, does the vehicle’s level of technology meet individual needs? “It’s important to remember all of these critical details so that you can carefully reflect on them after the test-drive is over,” he said.
“Consider simulating your daily commute as much as possible during the test-drive so you can get an authentic feel for how the vehicle will handle your day-to-day drive,” said Lawler. “For a more in-depth comprehension of the vehicle’s performance, it’s wise to also experience a variety of driving situations including city streets, freeway or highway driving, and even touch-and-go traffic. Inform the salesperson where you would like to drive so that you can determine what you need to learn about the vehicle. If you feel it is necessary, you can map out your route ahead of time. All vehicles handle differently, so you ultimately want to walk away with a clear understanding of the performance level in order to make a more precise evaluation.”
After the test-drive is over, begin to reflect on the experience. “In addition to returning to your mental notes and giving them thoughtful consideration, you will also want to review the vehicle’s maintenance schedule, including recommended oil change intervals, terms of warranty, and covered parts,” he said.
Repeat all of the steps of the test-drive process for each prospective vehicle. Once sufficient reflection time has been allotted to each option, selections will be narrowed down and the buying process begins. “This particular test-drive method helps streamline the process and assists you through a major purchase so you can make an informed and confident final decision,” said Lawler.