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July 30, 2015

How to Ace the Used-Car Test Drive

When you’ve narrowed down your choices as you prepare to purchase a used car, you’re going to want to take one or more of the vehicles for a test drive. Doing so will give you a great feel for how a car rides, how comfortable you feel in it, how easy – or not – it is to reach important controls and (if you bring someone to sit in the passenger and rear seats) how comfortable the car is for passengers.

There are a few things you’re going to want to pay particularly close attention to.

Read below for a list to help you ensure the test drive tells you plenty of important information about the used car you’re thinking of buying.

  • How easy is it to get in and out of the car? Do you or your passengers have to bend over too much so that you don’t bang your head?
  • As you drive the car, how does the engine sound? Does it hum along, or do you hear knocks and pings? Does it rev too high (or too low) before and after it shifts gears?
  • Can you adjust the gas, brake (and, if applicable, the clutch) pedals if their current settings don’t “match” your height, leg length, etc.?
  • Do you feel comfortable in the seats? Can you adjust the seat, if necessary?
  • Do the car’s seats have good lumbar support?
  • Do you feel there’s ample room for your legs, hips and head? Or do they feel cramped?
  • How roomy/comfortable is the back seat? Can your passengers see out the front window well, or will they mostly be watching the passing scene from a side window?
  • How firm do the brakes feel when you press the pedal?
  • Does the car move smoothly from 0 mph to 50 mph?
  • Can you see the dashboard gauges easily and can you brighten the dash’s gauge at night?
  • Check for the car’s blind spots. Can you fix those blind spots by adjusting the mirrors?
  • Can the back seats fold down to fit larger items that won’t fit in the trunk? How easy will it be to load and carry items?
  • If you will use the car for commuting and you drive to work on a freeway, take it for a drive on the freeway. Or, if you will use it mostly for short trips around town, drive it on local streets. How does it handle?

If you’ve had the car inspected and your mechanic gave it a good grade, but the car just feels “off” to you during or after the test drive, heed your gut and walk away from the car.

Looking for a good used car in the communities around Dallas? Then come on out and visit a

PAACO location near you and check out some of our great used cars! Looking for a particular make and model year of used car? Call us at 877-810-4555 and we’ll see if we can find it for you.

Image courtesy mapichai/

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