Test Drive Before You Buy

According to a recent USAA Auto Circle survey, 90 percent of people have test driven a car prior to purchase. Lauren Fix, The Car Coach, says this is a good idea, as it is important to know what to look for when comparing cars and a test drive can often be the determining factor. However, women have different needs than men when it comes to test driving, says Fix, who offers these tips to help women make the most of these five or 10 minutes behind the wheel:

  1. When taking a test drive, don’t hand over your driver’s license. You can give a salesperson a copy or let him or her ride with you, but do not let the dealership run a credit check on you using your driver’s license information. No one is supposed to check your credit without your signature, and these checks can lower your credit score by ten to twenty points.

  3. Bring your kids on the test drive to make sure they are safe and comfortable. Make sure you include the car seats if your children are still at an age where it’s required. If you can’t get your car seat into the car, it’s not the car for you. Kids will tell you honestly what they like and don’t like, which is a real plus when shopping for a car.

  5. Sit in the driver’s seat. If test driving with a partner or friend, be sure to take your turn actually driving the car. If you aren’t comfortable during the test drive move on since your comfort level is not going to get any better.

  7. Check the visibility. Adjust all of the mirrors, and if you can’t see your surroundings during a test drive you won’t see any better when you get the car home.

  9. Try all of the controls. Women have smaller hands and may not be able to operate all of the controls effectively. If something doesn’t work for you don’t settle -- the perfect car is out there.
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