Car-buying tips: How to make the most out of a test drive

WASHINGTON – The new car models are out and many drivers are in the market right now for a new or a used car. But do you really know how to do a proper test drive?

There’s more to it than kicking the tires, honking the horn or turning on the radio.

Carroll Lachnit from, an online car resource center, says buyers shouldn’t be shy with the salesman.

“Take the car on a course that’s a reasonable course but also kind of mirrors what your daily driving is like,” she says.

Lachnit suggests taking the car out on a bumpy road and including some hard breaking to test the suspension, noise and overall handling.

Make sure the car is a a good fit for your comfort.

“Can you see the gauges? Can you, for example, see the speedometer?” says Lachnit.

You also need to check out the visibility. Backing up while on a test drive is a good idea.

Other tips from

  • Stay focused and don’t get distracted by the sales pitch or the gadgets.
  • Is it easy to get in and out of the car without stooping or banging your head?
  • Is there enough head-, hip- and leg-room? Remember to sit in the backs seat too.
  • Check the trunk space and cargo area. Is the vehicle easy to load? Is there a pass-through in the trunk opening for long items?

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