With all of the great year-end incentives, now is the perfect time to test drive a new car. Knowing how to properly test drive a car will ensure that you purchase the perfect vehicle for you.

Here at AutoCreditExpress.com, we know that a vehicle is one of the most expensive purchases you make in your life. When you leave the car lot, you should feel completely satisfied with your new car. That's why we came up with these recommendations of things to do before, during and after a test drive.

Before Visiting the Car Lot

How to Test Drive a Car the Right Way One of the most important aspects of a test drive comes before you step foot onto the car lot. Unless it's an absolute emergency, you should always take the time to research vehicles before you begin shopping. Websites like Edmunds.com and KBB.com can give you an idea of what the cars should cost, what safety features they have, the estimated MPG and much more.

Using this information, you can narrow the choices down to vehicles that meet your requirements. That way you don't waste your time test driving a Ford Fiesta if you have a family of 8, or a Chevy Tahoe if your budget is $25,000. Once you have a list of vehicles, you can visit some local car dealerships.

What to do at the Car Dealership

When you arrive at the car dealership, you should inform a salesperson that you are there to test drive vehicles. Since many dealerships have a pre-determined route for test drives, this is also the time to state where you would like to drive the automobiles. When the first car is brought around, don't just jump in and drive. Instead, take your time and go through the following process:

  • Visually inspect the exterior of the vehicle, looking for damage
  • Open all of the doors and the truck, to see how easy they open and close
  • Make sure the hood stays open, and that it closes securely
  • Visually inspect the interior, looking for damage, storage and cup holders
  • Have the salesperson explain the features and how they work
  • Climb into the back seat to check for leg room, head room and comfort
  • Sit in the driver's seat for a few moments to see how it feels
  • Get in and out of the vehicle several times to see how easy it is for you
  • Adjust the seat and mirrors to make sure you'll be comfortable, can easily reach the pedals and have good visibility
  • Start the engine and listen for any unusual noises
  • Make sure that the controls are within easy reach and that you know how to work them
  • Test the climate-control system to see how well it works
  • Take the vehicle for a drive in your normal driving conditions, keeping the radio off
  • Listen for any unusual noise or rattling while driving
  • Also listen to the road noise coming from outside. You may even want to roll the windows down part way and all the way.
  • Pay attention the acceleration, braking, steering and handling while driving
  • Check to see how easy it is to park and pull out of parking spots

Once you have driven the car, you can get more information from the salesperson about the warranty, oil changes and routine maintenance and anything else that's important to you. Don't be afraid to take a few minutes to write down a few notes so that you can keep the different automobiles straight. Then repeat the process with the next vehicle on your list.

As We See It

Buying a car is serious business, but it doesn't have to be stressful. By taking the time to thoroughly research and test drive vehicles, you'll be confident that you purchased a car, truck or SUV that you'll be happy with for years to come.

If you're ready to get the car buying process started, Auto Credit Express is here to help. Even if you have bad credit, no credit or even a history of bankruptcy, our network of lenders for people with damaged credit can help you get into a new car quickly and easily.