Used car test drive guide
You’ve searched countless vehicle listings, watchlisted your favourites, now it’s time for the exciting part! When it comes to testing out used vehicles, it’s important to set your expectations, get prepared, and know what to inspect.
If you haven’t already, check out our guide to buying a used car. With your preferences for a vehicle in mind, let’s get down to business.
Test driving a used car is your opportunity to see how it handles in a range of different road and traffic conditions as well as get hands-on experience with the vehicle’s many features.
But testing out your next ride starts before you even see the car. Do your homework and research the model and trim level to learn as much as possible before you take the wheel – that way you’ll know what to expect before you make the trip!
Now that you’ve read about the model inside and out, it’s time to check it inside and out. Take your time inspecting and ask the Dealer any questions as you do.
Make a mental note of any features (like storage space or anchor points for a child car seat) which may not fit your needs.
Remember, don’t feel pressured to make any major compromises if the vehicle doesn’t seem right for you – it’s better to go back to the drawing board now than realise you’re not happy with your purchase months later.
Before you arrive, familiarise yourself with the area the car is located and plot out a driving route. If there’s any nearby highways, don’t be afraid to factor that in so you can safely test how the engine handles at 80-100km/h.
Taking a used car around the block isn’t enough, you should allow at least half an hour to test the vehicle in a variety of traffic situations.
Also, it’s always a good idea to bring a friend or partner with you to help remember any observations on your drive. Plus, it’s nice to be able to talk it out before making the big decision!
If possible and safe, test drive how it handles acceleration on the highway. Try it out in a variety of traffic conditions. Listen to how the engine idles at a complete stop. Check gear changes are smooth and decisive. Anything sound or feel out of place? Mention it to the Dealer when you return.
Drive with the steering wheel perfectly straight and make sure the car stays aligned to the road. Try taking some corners and parallel parking on a quiet street to check how the power steering feels and how wide the turning circle is.
Try out or inspect all the controls, dials and gauges. Does everything make sense and is laid out how you want? Is it easy to use and understand while driving?
Check all the electrics - sound system, infotainment, Bluetooth, steering controls, heating, air-con, power windows and any additional features like driving modes.
You’ll be spending a lot of time in this seat if you decide to buy, so make sure you feel comfortable, well-supported and have enough room for your legs. Depending on your height some cars will be better suited for you than others.
Questions to ask the Dealer after the test
Choosing a Certified Pre-Owned Toyota is the best way to feel assured of your used car purchase. It eliminates many of the risks in buying a used car and includes many of the great services and assurances you might expect from a new Toyota.
Every Certified Pre-Owned Toyota can come with the following: