Test Drive and Evaluation

The test drive of the car you are considering buying is your chance to thoroughly assess every aspect of the car. From how it handles and feels on the road, to making sure all the vehicle equipment is working and functioning correctly.


Before you start on your test drive, ensure that the car is starting with a cold engine ie not been started earlier. So many little and big things show up when an engine is cold.

Listen for rattles from the engine. These should be limited and will go away almost instantly once the oil pressure attains it’s correct level. Watch to see how long the oil pressure light takes to go out. Get someone to see if there is excess exhaust smoke.

Steam from the exhaust is normal with a cold engine.
Blue smoke isn’t normal, possibly oil burning.
Don’t worry about faint blue smoke from diesels, but black smoke is serious and could be the injectors in need of replacement or the fuel pump at fault.

Always take a test drive of at least 10 minutes and on different types of road, including motorway or somewhere you can try the car at speed, even if it’s for a short time.

Check that the gears, brakes, steering and suspension work as they should, with no unusual noises or vibrations.

When driving does the car drive straight without pulling to one side? Also under braking does the car pull up in a straight line or does it pull to one side? Does the car stop easily under braking or is there some effort needed? If the vehicle has ABS, ensure that the ABS light goes out once the car is started.

Is the car what you expected? Are you elated or disappointed with your prospective purchase? Do remember that there are more cars out there for sale, so don’t plump for the first one you view unless it ticks all the right boxes.

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