How to Test Drive a vehicle

By: Mike Davenport - Chevy Dude   |   01 Jul 2022

I’ve been doing test drives for over 21 years and I bet you’re doing them wrong.

Test drives are a vital part for you to make a well-informed decision when buying a used or a new car. See they’re test driving a car. Salesmen are highly trained on where to take you what to do on a test drive and do the number one thing that makes it harder for you to say no. And that makes you fall in love!

Tips for Test Driving New & Used!

So, in this article, I’m gonna tell you exactly how to test drive a car. Mm-hmm. The exact routes to go and the most important things to look forward to making sure you’re getting a good deal. You gotta remember that this article is all about looking at the car, and inspecting it to make a good, well-informed decision. We’re not talking about negotiating or what to do prior to getting here.

Walkaround the Car

So the very first and foremost thing that you want to do is walk around the car to do an inspection! A couple of things that you want to pay very close attention to are the tires, tires are getting hard to get here in 2021 and most people do not look on top of the vehicle as well! Maybe you’ll need to hop on a tire to do so. So do it. Just do it!

Ease of Access

The next step is to ensure that you can get into the car without difficulty. This is important.  Ask yourself, ” Do I fit comfortably in the seat?” You want to make sure you can get in and out of the car very easily if you have an ailment, a poor back, bad knees, whatever the case may be, this is the time to test that out right now!

Adjust the Cabin

100% of cars on the market have some sort of blind spot with more and more safety features these a-pillars, b pillars, and c pillars, may be an obstruction and cause you a blind spot. There’s always an adjustment period when you get a new car, you cannot take your old car and compare it to the new car for blind spots.

One of the next two tips may or may not apply to you, but the first one is going to be if you have children

Bring Child Seats

Make sure you bring any actionable car seats with you because it’s very important to make sure they fit, especially if you have two or three. I’m telling you to make it a little bit easier. Don’t bring kids. The stress is easier when you don’t have kids. Now after September 1st, 2000 to 100% of cars made out there have the last system, I have no idea How many people ask if this has child tether seats. This is something that’s been in the law for almost 20 years

Car Seats Save Lives: How to Protect Your Children - Jones Kahan Law

Check Cargo Space

You want to make sure that the cargo space is sufficient for your wants and needs. I have people that do all sorts of things have dog crates, have people just say people I don’t think people fit back here. But anyway, people’s baggage will say that you’ve got storage here. If you need to put the seats down, test all of this stuff out. Now is the time to get serious, are you going to test drive this car or not?

New Chevy Blazer In Hutto Innovative Cargo Space | Covert Country Hutto

Listen to Startup

So now what you need to do is get out of the car, get away from it, step back and have someone else start the vehicle for you, or use the remote system. Listen to the engine to make sure that it starts up fine and watch the exhaust to make sure you don’t get any big white puffs out of it and other issues that may come out of the tailpipe.

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Visually Inspect Engine

The next thing you want to do with the engine running does a visual inspection and hearing inspection underneath the car. You want to make sure there are no visible leaks or squeaks or anything like that, make sure everything’s in place. Kind of like the dipstick and make sure all your fluids are full and all that stuff.

Unraveling the mystery of the engine oil dipstick - Chicago Tribune

If all of that passes now it’s time to TEST DRIVE!

The Test Drive

Test drives are meant to check out the engine, transmission brakes, safety equipment, like blind-spot monitors all that stuff to ensure that it’s working properly before you make a purchase.

Good dealers have got your back if something arises after purchase, but most dealers do not. So you have to protect yourself and always remember that when you’re buying a used car, it’s buyer beware and only on new cars.


You want to make sure that you do highway and city driving, it’s so important to go out on both of these drives in the car!

Car salesmen are gonna have a predetermined set route, mostly by their managers to make an all right-hand test drive and to make it as short as possible Now you want to go out and test drive For a good 20-30 minutes on your car that you’re purchasing!

New cars, you can go a little bit less but use cars, you definitely want To get 10, 12, 13 miles in when I get out on the road, I love to go out and hit the gas really hard to see what acceleration is.

Let the car kind of settle down, get back out of those gears let the gears go down, and then hit the brakes as hard as I can and get an A. B. S stop. Now, of course, before you do that, you want to warn your passengers and then punch it again when you’re on city streets you want to make sure that you don’t test drive on a brand new road!

Get off on those side roads if you see a little pothole, not those big deep ones, make sure you hit it, make sure you hit some cracks, make sure you take the steering wheel, and you kind of go like this to listen for any squeaks and rattlesthat maybe in the suspension as well and remember more than your passengers after your highway drive in your city street drive, the very next thing you want to do comes to an open lot because the next step is a big deal to make sure that nothing’s crazy happening while you’re test driving the car.

So when you get into the parking lot, you want to go about 5 to 10 miles an hour and do kind of like figure eights. So you want to get a tough left-hand turn and get this figure-eight going when you come out of it, do a hard right-hand turn, you want to, you can hear my tripod in the back we want to get the car shaking back and forth at slow speeds.

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Sometimes you can feel that there is something wrong with the car, you hear clunks you hear clinks you hear weird noises also while you’re in the parking lot, you want to be able to test everything out.

This is the time that we’re gonna start going through our driver information center, we’re gonna start messing with the radio, we’re gonna put all the cameras on, reverse cameras, 360 cameras, whatever the case may be, we want to make sure everything works down here We want to make sure we hit these physical buttons to make sure the lights come on!

How to Mirror Phone to Car (iOS & Android)

If your car has got USB ports and Bluetooth you want to connect those to make sure everything works according to the way it’s supposed to test out your apple car play or android auto as well.

After you finish the drive and you are parked, you want to get out and do another visual inspection, and this time you want to make sure that your nose is on point when you get out, you want to make sure that the hood is open and smell for anything that is wrong. Coolant leak is really what we’re looking for on used cars. On new cars, you will have a burning smell sensation because that’s that new engine exhaust and all that stuff being heated up for the very first time.

A couple of the biggest tips that I give you when test driving cars are test driving minimal cars. The more you test drive, the harder it’s going to get to make a decision and most importantly bring the people with you the first time that are making the decisions with you.


Use this Checklist when shopping for a used car. It’s dual-use for private and dealership purchases.


Most important thing that you can do to help yourself on the next car deal is watch the VIDEO FROM THIS ARTICLE BELOW!



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