You might spend 1,000 hours or more behind the wheel of your next new car. Choose the wrong car, and those hours could be uncomfortable and/or unsafe. Yet most shoppers make this important purchase after test-driving the car for just 10 minutes. Before you call your agent to get a quote for how your new car will affect yourCalifornia Auto Insurance, make sure you read the below tips for how to get test-drives right…
Before The Test Drive
Call the dealership to ask…
When is the best time for me to take an extended test drive? It is very important to spend enough time in the vehicle – at least 20 minutes and preferably longer – to fully address all your concerns and questions.
Can I test-drive the exact car that I’m interested in, with the same engine, transmission and options?Dealerships typically designate just a few examples of each model for test-drives to avoid running up the odometers on other cars. But seemingly minor variations can make a big difference. Example: If you intend to buy a car with a sunroof, test-drive one with a sunroof. Sunroofs often reduce headroom, and some sunroofs create more noise than others when opened.
When You Get In The Car
Before you start the engine…
Adjust the position of the driver’s seat precisely. Make sure that there is a driving position that you find very comfortable.
Check weather the knobs, dials and cup holders are within easy reach. This seems minor, but it’s dangerous and annoying to have to lean to reach for things while you’re driving. Make sure that cup of coffee will be easily accessible during your morning commute to work.
Try out the backseat. This is particularly important if you frequently have three or more adults or teens as passengers.
Load any large items you often travel with into the trunk or hatch. For example, if someone in your household requires a wheelchair, walker or stroller, make sure this item fits without much struggle.
During The Test Drive
Most drivers do little on test-drives beyond confirming that the ride quality, acceleration, and handling are at least minimally acceptable based on personal preferences. But you can – and should – do much more.
Choose a route that tests the car under various conditions. This should include highway acceleration, bumpy roads, sudden stops, parallel parking, backing out of a crowded parking lot and any other conditions that you normally drive in.
Ask the salesman to stop talking so that you can focus on the drive. Listen to what the car sounds like without the radio on. There will be time to talk later.
Check the blind spots. Change lanes on the highway… make a right turn at an intersection where there are pedestrians. Does this feel comfortable, or are there worrisome blind spots?
Test the seat heaters. There is great variation from vehicle to vehicle on how warm seats get.
Listen for annoying noises, including whistling wind. If you find a noise annoying on a short test-drive, it will drive you nuts when you own the car.
Let everyone in the family who is going to drive the car take a turn behind the wheel on the test-drive. Too often one family member takes charge of the car-buying decision, leaving the others to drive a car that is not well-suited for them.
After The Test-Drive
Call your insurance agent for a quote. Don’t wait until you’ve already signed on the dotted line before finding out how much the change will affect your California auto insurance – if it’s significant you might re-think your decision. Your agent can give you an estimate on how your premiums will change so you won’t be surprised after the fact.
Information from Bottom Line / Personal Volume 33, Number 1
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