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Test Driving A Car
Whether you’re investing in a brand new car straight from the dealership or buying your first budget motor, test driving is a vital part of choosing the right vehicle for you. It not only gives you a chance to familiarise yourself with a new car, it also lets you identify any possible reasons to back out of the process and look elsewhere for your purchase.

The gearbox is often the most expensive component of a car, especially in tandem with the clutch. It’s not easy to identify the condition of the entire transmission system from a test drive, but you can get a good idea of how well it’s performing on a daily basis. Taking the car from a stationary position, you’ll want to judge how high the rev counter has to be before it can pull away in first gear. Depending upon the age of the car, it should be able to creep forward at as low as 1500rpm. If it seems unnaturally high and unresponsive, there may be a problem.
Make sure you cycle through all of the gears, including reverse, at all possible rev ranges. Crunches between gears when the clutch is fully depressed indicate a poorly maintained gearbox, as does a lack of power in the lower ranges.

Test the brakes whilst stationary for strange sounds when depressing the pedal. It should be firm; any indication of a ‘spongey’ feel should lead to an avoidance of that particular car. Without endangering yourself or your passengers, try braking at low and high speeds to test how reactive the brakes are. The sharper they are, the better they have been taken care of and would be expected to last for a longer period of time before replacement is required.

The steering rack is a complicated and integral piece of a vehicle, especially if it benefits from power assistance. Identify whether the car has power steering before you step inside and if it’s not working, you know to avoid it. If the steering feels unnaturally light or heavy, this could point to a number of problems including poorly maintained tyres.

If in doubt, it’s best to take a friend or acquaintance who knows their way around cars. It can be an intimidating process and even having somebody there who knows very little will discourage any duplicitous salesmen from trying to convince you of the road worthiness of a car.

Byline: This article has been written by MyCarCheck, specialists in discovering the hidden past of your used vehicle.