Test Driving a Car? Use This Checklist

September 22, 2018 2:20 am Published by Leave your thoughts

There are some great used cars out there, but you should do a little research before going shopping. Know what you want in a vehicle and how you’ll use it, and, maybe most importantly, check out the condition of used cars, inside and out. Upon first glance, you see the color and condition of the paint. Once you are in it and driving, pay close attention to specific characteristics, including the acceleration, braking, steering, engine noise and suspension.

Whether you want to buy through a private party or a dealership, the used vehicle must have a clean history report and not need major repairs. Below is a checklist of things your mechanic in Port Charlotte, FL wants you to check out before, during and after test driving a used vehicle:

  • Steering: Get in the driver’s seat, roll down the windows so you can hear, then turn the steering wheel as far as you can to the left then right. Listen for strange noises and observe whether you have to use extra energy to pull it. Too much resistance could point to busted hoses, a damaged power-steering pump or other issues.
  • Acceleration: Driving an unfamiliar vehicle takes some time getting used to, but you should get a good feel for the acceleration during the test drive. The car should accelerate smoothly and in a timely manner. If the acceleration is slow, this could be due to a clogged or faulty fuel injector. Contaminants that get into the fuel injector can build up over time, leading to blockages. A lack of fuel causes slow acceleration. Repairs may be needed.
  • Transmission: While test driving the used car, pay extra close attention to the transmission. You don’t want the transmission to jerk or shift late—that’s a sign of a serious problem. A worn-out transmission is not cheap to replace. Unless the car is a classic and you’re willing to drop in new parts, avoid buying a used car with a faulty transmission.
  • Brakes: You absolutely must test and check the car’s braking system. Brake lightly during the test drive, then let the owner know you’d like to test out the car’s hard braking abilities. In a safe area, get up to speed, then press the brakes firmly. Braking should feel consistent and not make squealing sounds or vibrate, and it should definitely not feel like you are reentering the earth’s atmosphere.
  • Tires: A vehicle with poor wheel alignment may produce a squealing sound from the tires. Wheel alignments are a part of routine maintenance and are not difficult for an experienced mechanic in Port Charlotte, FL to perform. Other signs that the alignment is out include worn down or uneven tire tread. The vehicle’s alignment might be fixable, but you might need brand new tires.

Buying the right used car can save your money. Buying a junk vehicle with a host of problems will cost you money initially and in the long run. Whether you have a new or previously owned vehicle, don’t hesitate to visit a mechanic in Port Charlotte, FL at Ice Cold Auto Repair for repairs and routine maintenance!

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